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The wines of Domaine Trévallon, Provence, France

Domaine Trévallon, 13103 Sainte-Etienne-du-Grès, France
Tel: 0033 (0) 4 90 49 06 00 Fax: 00 33 (0)4 90 49 02 17
Website: www.trevallon.com

Situated on the edge of the Alpilles between Avignon and Arles, Domaine Trévallon is one of the south of France’s best known estates, with a reputation for naturally made wines that have long ageing potential.

Back in 1973, 23 year old architect graduate Eloi Durrbach headed south with a vision for making fine wine naturally from an uncompromising terroir of craggy limestone rock that characterize the Alpilles (his son, Antoine, is pictured right). Over the next three years 15 hectares of Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon were planted; subsequently a bit of Marsanne and Roussanne (from Beaucastel) were added to make white wine. The first Trévallon wines were made in 1976. 

Winemaking here is as natural as it comes. There’s no destemming, with bunches being fermented whole, without any added yeast, and without temperature control. After a two week maceration the wines are pressed into old oak where they mature for 20–25 months before being bottled unfiltered. Since their origin the vineyards have been managed organically.

The wines are all designated Vin de Pays des Bouches du Rhône because they exceed the permitted level of Cabernet Sauvignon for the AOC here (Les Baux de Provence; the INAO made this controversial ruling in 1993, which led to Trevallon losing is AOC status). There’s no reason to suspect that the lovely reds shouldn’t age well for decades, unlike many of the other, more obviously sweetly fruited and more approachable new wave Southern French wines.

Domaine Trévallon Blanc 2005
45% Marsanne, 45% Roussanne, 10% Chardonnay.
Lovely rich, open nose is quite ripe and sweetly fruity, with waxy, herby notes. The palate is open and fresh with a similar texture to a  white Rhône (perhaps unsurprising given the grape varieties): quite fat, with a bit of a gap in the mid-palate. There’s sweet fruit, a bit of herbiness and a vanilla note, too. Finishes long. An interesting white. Very good/excellent 92/100

Domaine Trévallon 2001
A brilliant expression of Cabernet (even though it’s half Syrah). Beautiful nose: sweet, pure, rich blackcurrant fruit dominates, with a nice herby character in the background. There’s an olivey, minerally character, too. The palate is nicely concentrated with lovely purity of fruit and a minerally edge to the nicely structured palate. Very good/excellent 93/100

Domaine Trévallon 2003
Sweet, full nose of lovely, pure red and black fruits with a spicy edge. It’s quite serious. The palate is nicely concentrated, showing some elegance, with an earthy tannic structure underpinning the spicy fruit. Finishes dry and spicy. Very good/excellent 92/100

Wines tasted 05/06
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