Great Terroirs of Provence

Article by
Kristine Mansuy


With its picturesque landscape, architecture,  beaches and infinite gardens.
Provence is one of the most romantic wine destinations in the world. Along the French Mediterranean coast, bordered by the Rhône River to the west and the French Riviera on the east, wine has been made there for over 2600 years.
Known mostly for its Rosé production, Provence has an important heritage of ancient grape varietals, old vines, and historical traditions. Its terroirs are as complex as they are diversified with a natural biodiversityincluding, lavender fields, olive trees and wild plants such as, rosemary, juniper, and thyme. Embark on the odyssey and discover two iconic  estates  with each a unique terroir.

24 June 2020 |

Domaine Tempier

Located in the heart of Bandol with some of France’s oldest vineyards, this Family-owned
estate no longer needs presentations. My first encounter with Véronique Peyraud, (the
youngest daughter of the family) will forever remain in my memory. Upon our arrival at the estate, we can feel a desire for excellence which is an important value that has been transmitted by the founders Lucien Peyraud and Lucie Tempier. They were great defenders of the region’s terroir and tradition. Without their work, Mourvèdre grapes and Bandol appellation would not have the same glory.

It is the mosaic of terroirs that surrounds the estate that inspired the founders to produce these world-renowned wines. The 60 hectares of vines are farmed sustainably and divided into 5 terroirs all from a majority of clay and limestone soils.

La Bastide
Surrounded by Cypress trees, these are their oldest vines of Mourvèdre, Grenache, and Cinsault. These grapes takes part of the red wines and Cuvée Classique Rosé (Some of Provence’s most refined and age-worthy Rosé).

La Tourtine
This single vineyard cuvée is a blend of 80% Mourvèdre and equal parts Grenache and Cinsault. Located at the top of the hill, the soil is deep with a lot of clay. It’s the estate sunniest vineyard which gives rich and fruity wines.

La Laidière
Located at 300 meters of altitude, it’s the youngest vineyard with a lot of potential. Since it’s cooler, it’s mostly used to emphasize the freshness of whites and rosés.

La Migoua
Surrounded by garrigue and forest, an extraordinary geological accident formed these very complex soils with underground rock layers of limestone and dolomite. This vineyard makes the most perfumed and delicate cuvée showing a lot of minerality and floral notes, with only 55% of Mourvèdre and also Grenache.

Cabassaou (Cuvée Spéciale)
Located on the lower hillsides, the vines benefit from a very warm microclimate. With 95% of Mourvèdre, it gives a dense, complex, and powerful wine with a distinctive smoky,mineral touch that differentiates it from the other cuvées. I was able to identify the single vineyard of the 1994 vintage tasted blind. I may have great tasting skills bu this cuvée’s signature is unmistakable. I left the estate with the feeling of traveling back in time. To drink a bottle of Tempier, is to lose yourself in your own intellectual and spiritual journey. Like Kermit Lynch said: “ If any wine can be said to have soul, it’s Tempier.”

Domaine Hauvette

Not far from the beautiful village of Saint-Rémy-de-Provence
and nestled on the foothills of Les Alpilles, Dominique Hauvette is farming 16 hectares of
vines in biodynamic viticulture. Her vineyards are moslty planted with CabernetSauvignon, Carignan, Cinsault, Grenache, Syrah in Reds, and Roussanne, Clairette and Marsanne in Whites. Rich in fossil shells, the soil is naturally drained. Dominique has great respect to the soil and the authenticity of the terroir. Small
yields, intensive work in the vineyards, and very low intervention in the winery allows the wines to better express the identity of the terroir with great elegance, purity of the
fruit, energy, and a good aging potential. This pioneer of natural winemaking, surprised me by her strong personality, sensitivity, and commitment to her land. At Domaine Hauvette nothing is left unturned, her uncompromising work ethics makes it one of Provence most respected winery.

Petra rosé
A blend of 70% Cinsault, and equal parts Syrah and Grenache. This full-bodied rosé is partially fermented in concrete eggs which gives it great layers of minerality and salinity. Fruit, elegance and freshness make it a classic Provence Rosé.

Jaspe Blanc
This is a 100% Roussanne from a 2 hectares vineyard with a rocky-clay and limestone soil. Released only after 4 or 5 years of aging, this is one of the best single varietal of Roussanne. It has herbaceous, mineral, spicy and fruity notes with a rich and complex mouthfeel. It’s the perfect blend of power and elegance. The marine salinity and calcareous undertones make this white stand out.

Dolia Blanc
Inspired by the white Rhône Valley blends, this mystic white is made of Roussane,
Marsanne, and Clairette. Planted on a rocky, calcareous soil, the vines are Northoriented with a natural thermoregulation from the Mistral. Aged for a minimum of 5
years, this cuvée shows a lot of depth and structure. With Its smoky and earthy
aromas along with infused herbs and sweet bitterness, this cuvée is amongst the best
whites of the South of France.

A blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Cabernet
Sauvignon, this red blend is a keeper. It’s full-bodied
with tannic structure, powerful aromas of dark fruits,
spices, and menthol. Garrigue and pine notes make
it even more seductive and irresistible. It’s like a sip
of the Mediterranean sun!

The undeniable minerality and energy in Dominique’s wines are an inspiration for anyone who wants to
make great wines, wines that expresses a sense of place, a vision, a story.
On your next trip to the Mediterranean coast, make sure you make a stop at these two estates and fill up
your passion for great terroir wines.

Santé !