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In less than a decade since its inception in 1994, Chêne Bleu became one of the most iconic wineries in the Rhône Valley – a remarkable rise to fame which can be almost exclusively attributed to the serious quality of their wines. Founded on Mont Ventoux near Gigondas by Xavier and his wife Nicole Rolet, this family-owned single estate makes meticulously handcrafted wines in tiny quantities of no more than 600 cases for each wine. Embracing biodynamic methods has also ensured that the Rolets’ vineyards are producing the finest fruit possible, while bespoke winemaking techniques have been adapted to the specificities of each parcel of land.
All the wines are grown, hand-picked, made and matured on the estate, the Domaine de La Verrière. The Domaine lies in a privileged spot - a secluded mountain saddle above the little village of Crestet, north-east of Avignon, in the Dentelles de Montimirail mountains. It is on the northern face of the Mont St Amand, above Gigondas, in the foothills of Mont Ventoux, Provence’s highest mountain.
The property lies at 550m, almost 1600ft, making it one of the highest vineyards in the Vaucluse, and in the South of France. The rolling slopes, facing south to the Mont St Amand and south-east to Mont Ventoux, are dominated by the unmistakable, jagged peaks of the limestone Dentelles, which means ‘lace’ in French. From the back of the winery, an uninterrupted panorama opens up to the valley of Vaison-la-Romaine and the fertile plains of the Drôme.
The appellation Ventoux is part of the region of Vallée du Rhône from France which include Chêne Bleu and its 11 cuvées.
A sumptuous experience. The nose unfolds with sexy, rich aromas of plum, fig and dark cocoa, with dried herbal undertones and a plenitude of mace, clove and nutmeg. The palate is a luxurious, unfurling roll of velvet, with punchy blue fruit and chocolate mousse developing into a more savoury, charcuterie-inflected mid-palate. Mouthwatering, nape-tingling finish.