The Drome Provencale is the country of lavender, olive trees, truffle oaks and traditional oaks notwithstanding the traditional Côtes du Rhône Villages, where you can discover the AOP Vinsobres and Grignan-les-Adhémar, as well as the Enclave des Papes, a small island in the Vaucluse from which you can escape to the Ardèche.
The Château de Rochegude. The XIth century fortress and dungeon have been converted into a pleasant and elegant residence that overlooks the vineyards. A small place to stay and experience the château lifestyle. You’ll find a nice collection of Côtes du Rhone in the Rochegude cellar and their oenologist organises discovery tours around the neighbouring wine estates. When it comes to the food, in the country of truffle and olive oil, happiness is just a rare and simple foodstuff that is artfully cultivated at the château. A Relais & Château establishment. Place du Château. Tel : +33 4 75 97 21 10 www.relaischateaux.com/rochegude
Saint-Restitut church.A church in the typical Roman Provencal style, dating from the XIIth century, with a funeral tower enclosing the tomb of Saint Restitut. Classified historical monument, the church was the set for the film « Mariage » with Mathilde Seigner.
Château la Croix Chabrières.Patrick Daniel inherited this splendid estate from his parents, Ginette and Aimé. A large bourgeois villa in the Florentine style appears at the end of a long line of plane trees, within 16 hectares of enclosed vineyards. On the estate, the Saint-Feréol chapel, where lie the past owners, the Granet de la Croix family. The Ancestors gallery was turned into a cellar, there is also the Napoleon III stables, the silkworm nursery and the orangery. The visit concludes with a tasting of the estate’s wines. Patrick has put together a wide range of wines in the Côtes du Rhônes and Coteaux du Tricastin (today Grignan-les-Adhémar) appellations. One classic and chic that is enriched by a new blend, Le Diam en Terre, a Côtes du Rhône 100% Syrah with a very dark colour, very opulent. Another, hipper and more poetic, adorned with dashes of colour. In a blue bottle, the mineral and citrusy white wine “D’Ici, on Voit la Mer” has light yellow and green highlights, fascinating. www.chateau-croix-chabrieres.com
La Baume de Transit
St Luc Estate. A Provencal farmhouse between lavender and vines, wine estate and guesthouse run by Stéphane and Pascal Hemard. The estate produces Côtes du Rhône Villages and Grignan-les-Adhémar, spicy and warm wines. The Emiliane blend in red, Gold Bacchus 2010, from grenache and syrah grapes emerges as very feminine, very fine and gentle. The Laurine blend, from viognier and bourboulenc grapes, is lively, aromatic and long on the palate. The estate organises and takes bookings for tasting workshops, walks in the vineyards and wine and truffle weekends. www.dom-saint-luc.com
No châteaux, but a truffle market that is highly sought after and AOP Grigan-les-Adhémar wines. In the Gallo-Roman era, this small village was occupied by a tribe named the « Tricastini », which gave its name « Trois Châteaux ». In the Middle-Ages, it takes the name of the Bishop, Saint-Paul. In the end, it was given both names to avoid any arguments.
The Maison de la Truffe et du Tricastin. All the secrets and flavours of truffles will be revealed in this small museum, alongside which there is a winegrower’s cellar. Rue de la République. Tel : +33 4 75 9 1 29
Villa Augusta. David and Priscilla Molicone’s villa was erected on Roman era relics. An impressive residence of sober elegance with a swimming pool and a wooded park that encourage relaxation. The restaurant proposes in all simplicity a few black diamonds to savour with their own recipe. A Relais & Châteaux establishment. 14 rue Serre-Blanc. Tel : +33 4 75 97 29 29. Tel.: 04 75 97 29 29
Saladin Estate. Marie Laurence Saladin, member of « Femmes Vignes Rhône », runs the estate with her sister Elisabeth, a charming and effective duo. The estate has been passed down generations since 1422. The origin of the name is thought to hail from the era of Sultan Saladin. The historic cellar of the Saladin family is located at the heart of the village within the old castle. The 18 hectares and their 13 grape varieties are cultivated organically and harvested by hand, a tradition on the estate. Marie-Laurence and Elisabeth produced their first vintage in 2003. Ever since, their collection of Côtes du Rhône Villages and Côtes du Rhône, has grown with the addition of new blends, including a rosé « Tralala ! », a white «
Per Èl » and a red « Loï » , natural wines with accents of the land. Visits of the estate and cellar by appointment. www.domaine-saladin.com
Domaine Les Amoureuses. The new owner, Jean-Pierre Bedel, hired Jean-Michel Novelle, a Swiss winemaker specialized in vineyards’ redesigns to work on his estate of 58 hectares located on four types of soil. A collaboration that started seven years ago and has become a reality with the official presentation of the first two wines labeled Terre des Amoureuses. To follow… Tel : +33 4 75 54 51 85
The fortress stands tall on a rocky spur, with the town at its feet. The castle belonged to the Baux family, Princes of Orange in the XIIth century. At the Renaissance and up until the XVIIIth century, it becomes a stately home. Heiress to the estate from the La Baume-Suze family, the Marquise of Bryas donates it to a foundation. Classified historical monument in 1964, it was acquired by the Drôme Region. Restored and upgraded, the château has been home to the University of Wine since 1978. An institution whose sole purpose is to train students into wine professionals. Visits of the château and themed events for wine enthusiasts. Château open to the public. Tel : +33 75 04 81 44. www.universite-du-vin.com
Vinsobres. The Vinsobres vineyard holds the AOP for its red wines only. Blended from a majority of grenache and syrah grapes it is the premier Cru of Côtes du Rhône in the Drôme Provençale. A powerful and structured wine with aromas of red fruits. www.vinsobres.fr
Jaume Estate. “Vinea Natura” the environmental charter to protect the harmony between wine and the natural space is adhered to like the bible at the Jaume estate. 80 hectares of vineyards producing Vinsobres appelation wine, for which Pascal and Richard Jaume vinify the grapes from each plot individually in order to preserve the distinctiveness of the different soils. They use methods such as mating disruption, botanical companionship with game, earthworms and leguminous plants in the vineyards. The Altitude 420 blend reveals the great finesses of the tannins and emphasises the red fruits nicely. The Clos des Echalas, 2009 vintage, with aromas of vanilla, was awarded the Hachette Wine Guide “coup de Coeur” in 2012. A great idea for city-dwellers with dreams of becoming a wine grower, you can rent a vine plant for the year and follow its wine. An estate with the accolade “excellent welcome” by Inter-Rhône. www.domainejaume.com
Coriançon Estate. François Vallot, fourth generation wine grower, cultivates his estate following biodynamic principles certified AB and Démeter since 2007, following the lunar calendar and local preparations. The 22 hectares of vineyards produce mainly Vinsobres wine. The Claude Vallot blend develops notes of spices and small acidic fruits. The Exception, 2004 vintage, “coup de cœur” Gault & Millau, offers a red, half syrah, half grenache, with a very dark robe with notes of prunes, wines to put down with fine tannins. An estate with the accolade « excellent welcome » by Inter-Rhône. www.domainevallot.com
Surrounded by lavender and vineyards, this medieval village is particularly well-known for its black olives AOC and top quality oils.
Our Lady of Bon-Secours Chapel. A curious chapel on the heights of the Nyons old town. A three storey pyramid with arcades sits atop the square tower and a statue of the Virgin Mary takes pride of place at the top.
The Olive tree museum. The museum, with its millstones, olive presses and farm instruments is located in the “Vignolis” space, the agricultural cooperative of the Nyons region. Next door, a large shop that offers a vast selection of olive oils and derived products. Place Oliviers de Serre. Tel : +33 4 75 26 95 00.
XVIIIth century soap factory. Within the confines of two old oil mills from the XVIIIth and XIXth centuries that remained active until 1952, one discovers a former soap factory with remarkable stone vaults. The shop offers a selection of lovely materials in the Provencal print as well as Marseilles Soaps. 4 Promenade de la Digue. Tel : +33 4 75 26 11 00.
Le Colombet.This restaurant is a real institution in Nyons and serves up generous platefuls with all the colours and flavours of the Provence. 53 place de la Libération. Tel : +33 4 75 26 03 66.
The Enclave des Papes
A small island in the Vaucluse attached the the Drômes where wine is ever present and truffles are celebrated. The origins of the Enclave date from Jean XXII’s era. The pope who was indisposed drank some wine from Valréas and felt so much better for it that he bought the whole village so that he could purvey himself in the miraculous brew. His successors later acquired Richerenches, Grillon and Visan to ensure they had a long and healthy life.
Truffle market. Every Saturday morning, from November to mid-March, on the cours Mistral and avenue de la Rabasse.
The Escapade. On the avenue dedicated to the trade of truffles, a quaint café-bistro with a menu serving only dishes made with truffles straight from the market. Jeannot and Nicolas Pailhes co-authored the book « Truffle and Friends », 60 recipes with black truffle. Avenue de la Rabasse. Tel : +33 4 90 28 01 48.
Our Lady of Vines Chapel.. The protector of vines stands tall in the middle of vineyards and trees. The choir contains a lovely ensemble in gilded wood.
The Clos du Père Clément. Right next to the Chapel, around a remarkable XVIIIth century property, Jean-Paul and Gérard Depeyre’s vineyard is cultivated artfully and respectfully. An endeavour that produces harmonious wines that are serious and of high quality. Their Côtes du Rhône Villages come in the form of the Notre Dame, clos du Père Clément and cuvée Saint-Clément blends. www.clos-pere-clement.com
Domaine Viret.Cosmoculture and amphora wines? Both seem to herald from the oldest of times! Next generation wine growers, Alain and Philippe Viret look to the past to better anchor themselves in the future. “Wine is a living product, with a memory, that follows natural cycles and undergoes their influences”. Cosmoculture, a method developed in the 1990s to alleviate this, has now caught up with the fundamental principles of organic and biodynamic culture associated with bioenergy. The new cellar dug out of the Gard stone helps them produce even better wines. Wines that are real and straight and that Alain and Philippe do not hesitate to introduce into amphora for some. The clay amphoras were especially made for the estate by an artisan potter. In the long term, their dream is to build the first amphora wine store in France. The amphora Dolia Paradis 2009 blend can be found in red, amber and “terre de Grenache”. Each blend has its own story, wines to share and meet people and you can find them at the estate on the hills of the Clos du Paradis.www.domaine-viret.com
Elegant and balanced red wines, mineral and syrupy white wines, fresh and fruity rosé whites… The AOC Grignan les Adhémar is like a secret garden. 1800 hectares of noble vineyards that are spread across the villages of Grignan, la Garde Adhémar, Saint Restitut, Rousses… www.grignan-adhemar-vin.fr
Le château de Grignan. Perché au sommet du village, le château garde le souvenir de la marquise de Sévigné et des lettres qu’elle adressait à sa fille, la comtesse de Grignan. La visite des appartements et du cabinet de travail retrace toute l’atmosphère d’un XVII° siècle cultivé. De la terrasse s’offre un magnifique point de vue sur le mont Ventoux les Dentelles de Montmirail et les premiers contreforts du Massif Central, une vue qui a certainement inspiré la marquise. Tel 04 75 91 83 55
Saint Sauveur Collegiate. Located underneath the terrace of the château, the collegiate contains the tomb of Madame de Sévigné.
The Correspondence Festival. . The epistolary art comes to life again with a Festival of the written work dedicated to beautiful letters and that takes place every year at the beginning of July. www.grignan-festivalcorrespondance.com
The vines and cabanons walks.. Starting at the Montine estate, two loops wind through the vines and lavender fields punctuated by small sheds in dry stone. A charming walk. Tel : +33 4 75 46 54 21.
Tourism Office. 12 place jeu de Ballon. Tel : +33 4 75 46 56 75
The Montine estate. After the commercialisation of wine in bottles, Jean-Luc and Claude Monteillet set up a cellar in the hamlet. The old cellar was converted into a wine library. The two brothers successfully transformed what was just a simple farm bought by their grandfather in 1933 into a great wine estate, Montine. “As nice grapes make nice wines”, the palette of red, rosé and white Grignan-les-Adhémar appeals to emotions. The 2009 Séduction rouge blend has benefited from an exceptional vintage with wholly mature grapes where the syrah expresses peppered notes, the viognier aromas of apricot, a real success. www.domaine-de-montine.com
Mas Théo Estate
We liked Laurent Clapier’s approach, an artisan wine maker and independent artist. This wine grower is a designer of emotions. 52 hectares of vineyards in AOP Grignan-les-Adhémar and organically certified wine from start to finish. Each step, from the cultivation of the vine, the harvest, to the vinification, is completed by hand. His tenderness for the grapes certainly comes through in his wines. From the simple Vin de France Issade (la binette), 100% chardonnay to the Mogel selection (le tracteur), with an accent on the fruit, in Grignan-les-Adhémar appelation, each one of his blends is a great nectar you’ll enjoy discovering.www.mas-theo.fr
Les Caves Cathédrales
Sur les hauteurs de Saint-Restitut, on découvre un site grandiose, unique, creusé dans la roche crayeuse. Un berceau naturel que Laurent Clapier a investi en 2012 pour coucher ses vins. L’esprit du lieu est en harmonie avec sa philosophie. Le vaste espace naturellement séquencé est un lieu d’accueil, de dégustation, de moment festif avec des expositions d’art et un musée de la vigne. Les Caves Cathédrales sacralisent les vins. www.caves-cathedrales.fr
Grangeneuve Estate. Natives from the Lorraine, having emigrated to Algeria, we witness the return of the Bour family. They settled in Roussas in 1964 on a land of rounded pebbles. Vines take over from the XVIIIth century farmhouse that sits on the site of a Roman winegrower’s villa from the Ist century. Odette and Henri are the pioneers with their son Henri and daughter Nathalie taking over and carrying on their work. The estate produces ten blends. The Terre d’Epice blend, with notes of stewed fruits and toasted bread remain their top blend. The monovarietal La Truffière, 2009 vintage, was awarded a silver medal at the Best Syrahs of the World 2011 competition. The tasting cellar is open every day of the week. Walks in the vines and winegrowers picnics, tasting classes and cookery classes with Cathy all figure on the programme, by appointment. www.domainedegrangeneuve.fr
Classified among the most beautiful villages in France, the medieval village offers wide green spaces enjoyed by walkers.
The Herb Garden. Classified « Remarkable Garden », at the foot of the Saint Michel church, the three thousand square meters garden in terraces is made up of a botanical garden, a medieval garden and two hundred species of virtuous plants still used to this day. Open to the public.
The Val des Nymphes. A magical place, so fresh, that shelters a spring and a small chapel under the shade of the tall oak trees. Quite certainly a place of worship in the Antiquity dedicated to Nymphs, goddesses of the waters.
L’Absinthe. A café restaurant open all year round. Warm welcome, good regional dishes, this establishment holds the « Bistrot de Pays » label. Place Perriod. Tel : +33 4 75 04 44 38.
Montélimar is known for its nougat, one of thirteen traditional Christmas sweets in the Provence, to be seen before you taste it.
The Château des Adhémar. Dating from the XIIth century, the château has kept a powerful image mirroring that of the seigneurial dynasty, the Adhémar. In 1383, it is attached to the papal estate. It has been in the ownership of the Regional Council since 1991 and welcomes major art exhibitions in its great rooms, such as Chagall and Giacometti.
The Signal work of the art. Created by the artist John Armeleder, the work of art dominates the entrance to the Saint Martin quarter. A monumental and luminous 12 meter tower, a steel cylinder encrusted with white neon lights that has become Montélimar lighthouse.
The Nougat. « Nougo » in Provencal dialect, it acquired its international reputation in the XVIIIth century when Oliver de Serre introduced the culture of almond trees in the region. Almonds blended with honey plus a few production secrets, nougats has become a delicious sweet treat. 13 factories around Montélimar and the annual Fête du Nougat every July. For further information please contact the Syndicats des Nougatiers. Tel : +33 6 80 08 39 05.
Tourism Office : Allées Provençales. Tel.: 04 75 01 00 20