Grape: Syrah (50%), Cabernet Sauvignon (50%)
Region: Coteaux des Baux, Provence, France
Perfect with: Rib-eye steak, roasted lamb rack with provencal vegetables, aged comte
Ageing: At least 25 years
Why You’ll Love It?
When it comes to French wines some say it’s not always about appellation and that there are some hidden gems with meagre “village” status. Domaine Trevallon is a clear example. Located about 20mins away from Avignon, winemaker Eloi Durrbach is one of first rebels to have made its name producing quality wines completely free from the Appellation systems. When he first blew up the land in 1973 in order to plant Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon, people thought he was nuts. His wines are labelled as “vin de pays” because they don’t follow the rules. The common grapes in this region were dominated by Grenache, blended with Syrah, but never Cabernet Sauvignon. What most people don't realise is that the Cabernet grape used to be abundant in Provence before it was wiped out by phylloxera. Winemaker Eloi Durrbach is one of first to experiment and persist with this variety in the region. When others folded to the regimented requirements of the local wine authority and reduced their portion of Cabernet in order to maintain their higher appellation status, Eloi refused to do the same and kept his 50/50 Cabernet/Syrah ratio. He knew he was onto something special and his wines truly do speak for themselves. Despite having a modest village appellation they continue to be highly sought after by those who appreciate the wine for its flavour and not the label. Akin to a blend between Cote-Rotie and Bordeaux with flavours of Provence. This has to be one of the most unique wines in the world.
Again he is not certified organic, but his vines are cultivated naturally, without the use of insecticides, chemical fertilisers or herbicides. The Durbach family plough their soils to encourage the roots of the vines to plunge deeper into the soil for water and nutrients, and they believe in pruning short, which not only reduces the yields but extends the life of the plant by 20 to 50 years. Wholebunch, wild yeast fermentation, no sulphur added. Aged for 24 months in foudres (95%) and barrels (5%). No filtration before bottling.
This wine brims of dark fruits, blackcurrant, blackberries, dark chocolate and hint of mint leaf on the nose. Palate is wonderfully balanced with similar dark fruit flavours, cassis, cedar and wild Provencal herbs. Full bodied and rich but fresh and lively with an elegance that one would not expect from Provence. Great structure with ripe and chalky tannins and a nice long finish.
"Without out any doubt, this is the greatest red wine from Provence in 2013. A brilliant wine of great length, driven by very elegant tannins which are particularly gentle in 2013"
La Revue des Vins de France June 2014