Tour The Vineyards Of Southern France Aug 8, 2016 by Cedric (Driver Weekly)
Discover the famous wines and beautiful countryside of the South of France. Some of the most popular routes will take you around Provence, which is known for its beautiful mountains, vineyards, and seacoast. If you tour the vineyards, you will receive exquisite samples in a variety of tasting rooms, from the rustic to the refined.
Plan Your Route
Even if you limit yourself to Provence, there are several winemaking regions that are very different, and you should decide on a route ahead of time. Consider starting in Toulon before visiting vineyards by the Mediterranean on the way to Saint-Tropez. Eventually, you will go inland and enter some wild countryside in Massif des Maures, where you can find light rosés or exciting red wines. Along the way, be sure to stop at most of the following wineries if you want to experience the best of Provence.
For a truly memorable night during your South France road trip, stay at a winery that is also a bed and breakfast, like Chateau Matheron. This is a large and modern winery with two bed-and-breakfast rooms. The building is being renovated this year, but you will enjoy comfortable rooms and great views from a terrace, along with easy access to numerous tastings and local products—from perfumes to antipasti.
If you have the time, you can take a tour of Domaine Croix-Rousse. Just remember to make arrangements and get directions so you can find this isolated winery. The wines tend to be a bit more expensive, but they are worth the price. This estate covers seven hectares dedicated to organic wines and minimal sulfites.
Domaine de l’Estagnol
Bandol is major wine region replete with large wineries, but a visit to l’Estagnol gives you a different taste of Bandol than most of the other vineyards. L’Estagnol is among the smallest vineyards in Bandol, covering just under eight hectares. Best of all, the wine is affordable and delicious.
Domaine des Trois Chenes
Another smaller vineyard that is off the beaten path is Domaine des Trois Chenes. The small winery is in the Vallée des Borrels and the vines are over fifty years old, owned by the same family for four generations. Supervised by the latest member of the family, Regis Scarone, all of the grapes are still picked by hand, and the wines are aged in old-fashioned cement vats. Despite the quality, the wines are quite affordable, and you can stock up for your return home.
Domaine de Tourraque
In Ramatuelle, this winery is among the most breathtaking in Provence. It covers 38 hectares with two different parcels. Tastings are completely free, but you will have to put in some planning to visit the vineyards. Your only option is a 2.5-hour tour with the winemaker, but it is well worth the price. Whether you go on a tour, be sure to purchase some of the well-priced organic wines.