To taste the best of the Provence region follow this wine route from Saint-Rémy-de-Provence to the Massif des Maures, via Cassis and Saint-Tropez, stopping at stunning vineyards and domains.
Provence spans several very different winemaking regions, and this wineroute starts in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, heads down to Cassis across the vineyards that cling to the edge of the Mediterranean, then turns inland, through classic Provençal landscapes of lavender fields and olive groves into the wild countryside of the Massif des Maures. Historically known for light, drinkable rosé, this are now also makes some exciting red wines, with many young vignerons moving towards organic production, so don’t be surprised to see horses ploughing through the vineyards or a herd of grazing sheep replacing weed killers. Village bistros serve hearty portions of traditional Provençal cuisine, and although the grand châteaux tempt travellers with luxury accommodation, many winemakers are also beginning to offer more affordable B&Bs.
WINEMAKERS TO VISIT
DOMAINE DE LA CAVALE, Lourmarin
Bandol is one of the oldest and most prestigious appellations in Provence, and prices at renowned wineries can be €20-€30 a bottle. The picture is very different at down-to-earth Domaine de l’Estagnol, where Sandrine Feraud is a sixth-generation viticultrice with probably the smallest vineyard in Bandol, just 1.5 hectares, plus another six hectares outside the appellation.
• 1426, route de la Cadière, Saint-Cyr-sur-mer, +33 6 13 07 69 35, domainedelestagnol.com
LES VIGNERONS DE PELISSANNE, Pélissanne
Just across from the Bandol appellation lie a series of idyllic islands, the Iles d’Or, a protected national park of secluded beaches, dense woods – and three vineyards on the main island of Porquerolles. A swift ferry from the Presqu’ île de Giens, south of Hyères arrives at Porquerolles, and a 10-minute stroll brings you to the domaine of Cyrille
• Chemin de la Pépinière, Ile de Porquerolles, +33 4 94 58 34 32, perzinsky.com
DOMAINE PEY BLANC, Eguilles
Ramatuelle is just down the coast from glitzy Saint-Tropez, but past the jet-set beaches of Tahiti and Pampelonne, the scenery gets wilder as you enter the protected headlands Les Trois Caps, and right at the end of the road (more of a deeply rutted endurance-test track) lies one of the most spectacular vineyards in Provence. Domaine de Tourraque stretches over 38 hectares
• Chemin de la Bastide Blanche, Ramatuelle, +33 4 94 79 25 95, latourraque.fr
DOMAINE ANGELVIN, Saint-Tropez
You have to go off the beaten track to discover the small estate of artisan vigneron Régis Scarone, hidden away in the wild Vallée des Borrels, a 20-minute drive inland from the Côte d’Azur. Cultivating vines that are over 50 years old, he has firm ideas about his wine. The grapes are picked by hand, with the white and rosé aged in old-fashioned cement vats.
• 45-19 3emes Borrels, +33 4 94 65 68 72