France: Provence

Inland Provence

Côtes de Provence and Coteaux Varois Wines from the Hillsides
By Elizabeth Gabay MW

This Guide was last updated on 12 February 2010
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Domaine des Alysses

Address: Le Bas Deffens, 83670 Pontevès
Tel: 04 94 77 10 36  Fax: 04 94 77 11 64
Geo-coordinates:  Latitude: 43:33:12N (43.55334)    Longitude: 6:4:4E (6.06772) 

Jean Marc Etienne and his wife, both teachers, set up their small vineyard (at 380m altitude) in the mid 1970s. Amongst the first in the region and early advocates of organic viticulture, they have continued to remain outside the commercial circuit. Sheltered from the hotter Mediterranean weather by the Massif du Bessillon to the south, local white wines illustrate how the cooler climate (with harvests a month behind the coast) and chalkier soils favour greater acidity. Their white wine (largely Chardonnay with some Grenache Blanc and Ugni Blanc) provides a perfect illustration; their rosés combine full dry fruit and fresh acidity and their red wines are aged in old barriques (no new wood here) and are just opening out ready for drinking at around five years old. Lower yields and great concentration of fruit mark these wines out. Mr Etienne is also mayor of neighbouring Pontevès and is a mine of information on the area.

Useful information: Wine tasting is in the cellar and during the winter months it can be cold. Mr Etienne can speak some English (though he is a little shy about it). Note that there are no toilet facilities here.


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