2003 Vin De Pays Des Bouches Du Rhone
Red Blend •Bouches-du-Rhône
France: Rhône Valley
What We Say
SUPERIOR WINE ALERT:
Today’s stellar wine is simply fantastic. Yes, it’s that great, that it deserved this special notification. Before you dismiss this V.D.P., be sure to read the backgrounder below.
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Mission Codename: Outside the Box
Operative: Agent White
Objective: Secure an allocation of the famed Domaine Trévallon
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Domaine Trévallon
Wine Subject: 2003 Vin De Pays Des Bouches Du Rhone Rouge
Winemaker: Eloi Dürrbach
Usually a Vin de Pays is a look then pass, but in the case of today’s wine take the time for a second look. Domaine Trévallon has gained international accolades for thinking outside the box by producing a wine that doesn’t meet AOC requirements (Le Beaux de Provence AOC), but in terms of aromas, texture and flavor, far surpasses it – think of it as a French Super Tuscan and is comparable to the finest Cru Classes Bordeaux. Domaine Trévallon is widely considered the finest wine from the region.
Located near the town of Saint Etienne de Gres, just south of Avignon, this wine is 50% Cabernet Sauvignon and 50% Syrah.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Dark and concentrated dark purple with an inky and dark core and color that fades just slightly to garnet along the edges. When swirled, a ring of color clings to the edge of the glass, gathering, then streaking down into fast thin legs.
Smell – Initially a little tight on the nose, but when you give this wine time, aromas of sweet, fresh and ripe fruit, including red cherry and blackberry emerge framed with spice, a touch of oak and floral notes and hints of black licorice.
Feel – This full-bodied and dry wine has an exceptional structure with finely etched firm tannins, a solid mineral character, a spicy kick and bright acidity that buttresses the flavors of this wine through to the finish.
Taste – Classic rich Cabernet and bold Syrah flavors presented with elegant old-world character. Fresh, pure and tart fruit including red cherry and blackberry with complex earthy wild bramble notes, spice, white pepper and a touch of oak and licorice.
Finish – This wine’s dry and fine grained tannins linger long into the finish providing solid texture for the lasting ripe and tart fruit, spice and minerality.
Conclusion – The 2003 Domaine Trévallon Vin De Pays Des Bouches Du Rhone Rouge doesn’t disappoint. From a unique vintage, comes a most unique wine. Simply stated, if you are a lover of French wine, this one belongs in your cellar. This serious wine is just now starting to show its potential, and perhaps its still too young, this wine’s old-world character and its out of the box varietal blending gives you a wine of great depth, power and finesse. Drink now or hold for up to 10+ years.
Ah July in France, perhaps the best time of year, at least for me. The vineyards are great with rapidly plumping fruit, the weather s warm with occasion thunder storms and of course the Tour de France. This years race, a 3500km journey is going to be an epic one, the return of Lance Armstrong on a team of great riders competing against a wide open field of exceptional competitors, the return of the team time trial, and a handful of killer mountain stages that don’t finish until the day before the final ride into Paris for the last sprints along Les Champs-Élysées and the awarding of the final maillot jaune. It is truly a site to behold
And what better to honor this historic and epic race that to bring you an epic wine to go with it. This year, Stage 3 (just last Monday July 6) passed not no far from the historic town of _Saint-Étienne-du-Grès_ where the famed Domaine Trévallon is located.
If you haven’t heard of Domaine Trévallon well, it’s a name you should pay attention to. Winemaker Eloi Dürrbach is a maverick in the true sense of the word. France is known for bringing years of tradition and culture to their winemaking skill and as such has perhaps one of the most complex sets of rules in their AOC system. Wines that don’t fit these rules are relegated to the unappreciated (and most of the time lesser quality) Vin De Pays category.
But what happens when your winemaking artistry exceeds the rules and confines of the AOC system, ell officially you’re stuck in the VDP category. But pay close attention here, today’s selection should not be looked at as any bit a lesser wine, as Domaine Trévallon achieves greatness by thinking outside the box. Which is why Robert Parker says “One of the greatest discoveries in my life has been the wine made at the Domaine de Trévallon. Virtually everything about this compelling wine is unique.”
If you’re a fan of French wine, pick up a few bottles of this delicious Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah blend. The Wine Spies has the exclusive retail allocation and our quantity is extremely limited. This is a wine that belongs in your collection.
An epic race deserves and epic wine and today’s selection is just that wine.
A votre santé!
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The approximate location of Domaine Trévallon can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
Awards & Accolades:
“One of the greatest discoveries in my life has been the wine made at the Domaine de Trévallon. Virtually everything about this compelling wine is unique.” – Robert Parker – The Wine Advocate
About This Wine:
Strong and subtle nose, remembering macerated fruits then some “garrigues” touches. The first mouth is fresh and aromatic with saltiness. Retro-olfaction with milky chocolate. Great success for a vintage sometimes untypical.
Harvests report: The earliest harvest since Trevallon came into existence, the warmest, the smallest since 1983. 40,000 bottles. The shortest vinifications to date (one week!)
About The Winery:
The Domaine de Trevallon wine estate is located in Saint-Etienne-du-Grès, in the Bouches-du-Rhône, 25 km south of Avignon and 7 km west of Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, on the northern slopes of the Alpilles. The Alpilles massif is made of limestone and boasts sharp, jagged crests reminiscent of a “Greek landscape”, as the Provençal poet, Frédéric Mistral, described it. The vines, growing amidst holm oaks, olive and almond trees, blend harmoniously into this enchanted scrub landscape.
The first thing that strikes the visitor as he or she arrives at the Domaine de Trevallon is this limestone rock, dazzlingly white and forming strange, splintered and craggy shapes that stand out against the limpid sky. The contrast between the straight rows of trained vines and the wild folds of rock is quite impressive. “The Alpilles is a magical land,” admits Eloi Dürrbach. “I immediately fell under their charm.”
The Trevallon vineyard covers 17 hectares of this protected zone and surrounds a large, blue-shuttered, Provençal farhouse: 15 hectares of red grapes, made up of equal parts of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. Plus 2 hectares of white grapes, made up of 45 % Marsanne, 45 % Roussanne and 10 % Chardonnay.
The Domaine de Trevallon is now so well-known that it is easy to forget that it is not that long ago since it was founded. One of the pioneers of the wine-growing renaissance that took place in the region around Les Baux, Eloi Dürrbach planted the first vines in the Alpilles in 1973. “My father, René Dürrbach, who was a friend of the painter, Albert Gleizes, one of the forerunners of Cubism, used to come and visit him in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, back in the 1950s,” said Eloi Dürrbach. “At the time, we lived in Cavalaire, on the French Riviera, where I was born.”
“My father wanted to find somewhere more peaceful to live and, in 1955, bought the Trevallon farmhouse, surrounded by 60 hectares of scrubland. Back then, nothing grew here, there was nothing but rock. But my father always thought it would be an excellent place to make wine. In the early 1970’s, I was studying architecture at the Beaux Arts, in Paris, and I left it all to come and grow vines here. That was in 1973!”
The Herculean task of clearing the scrubland and laying out the plots for the vines then began. The rock was broken up with dynamite, the ground was worked at deep level, mixing the splinters of rock into the soil. At last, in the winter of 1973, Eloi Dürrbach was able to plant his first 3 hectares of vines. He produced his first Trevallon wine from the 1976 harvest.
The Idiosyncratic Trevallon Style – “Why did we plant Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah at Trevallon? It was really a combination of circumstances,” explained Eloi Dürrbach. "My father knew Georges Brunet, the owner of Château Vignelaure, near Aix-en-Provence, who was one of the first people to plant Cabernet Sauvignon in Provence. He had read in the “Etude des vignobles de France” (A Study on French vineyards), by Doctor Jules Guyot, who was a famous agricultural scientist back in the second half of the 19th century, that Cabernet Sauvignon used to be grown in Provence before the phylloxera crisis and that, blended with Syrah, it could produce excellent wines.
Indeed, in this part of the Alpilles, the Cabernet Sauvignon grape develops some very idiosyncratic features. It is very spicy, with aromas of cinnamon and pepper. On its own, it can be rather austere and has harsh tannins. Syrah is used to make it mellower. Since we are in the northern part of the Alpilles, where it is colder, the Syrah ripens later and so it does not have that candied fruit flavour typical of Syrah grown in Southern France.
Year Est: 1977
Vineyard Size: 17 Ha
Varietals: 50% Syrah & 50% Cabernet Sauvignon