In 1997, Jean-Marie and Maine Guffens-Heynen ended a long-term Provencal quest by buying an estate, the Château des Tourettes, located in the middle of Luberon region, near Apt.
While you hardly ask for a more beautiful location than the Tourettes, one could also scarcely set oneself a more onerous task than that of reviving a vineyard ravaged by forty years of over-cropping, machine-harvesting and inundation of herbicides. Once inferior grape varieties had been pulled, Maine and Jean-Marie immediately began the task of replanting. Even so, 33 of the estates' 50 vineyard acres were in production for the inaugural 1998 vintage and full production will be achieved in 2003, by which time the vines will also share space with an olive grove.
The soils of the Château des Tourettes and the combination of sunny, breezy days and cool nights at an altitude of 1200 feet reveal themselves as a fabulous terroir.
The mainstay of red wine production at Tourettes will be the grenache vines that remain from an earlier era producing two wines :
* Côtes du Luberon rouge, Grand Vin du Château des Tourettes - a selection of grapes from the oldest vineyards. This wine will most likely reach maturity in the 5 years after bottling.
* The property's second wine Côtes du Luberon rouge «Les Petites Tourettes» is a selection from the younger vineyards which have yet to reach full maturity - It's a more quickly drinkable wine.
Grape varieties: Red : 8.5 ha Grenache (30 to 50 years old)
3 ha Syrah
3 ha Cabernet-Sauvignon (Trevallon selection)
1 ha Syrah « Serine »
White: 1.2 ha Viognier
2.4 ha Chardonnay (Domaine Guffens-Heynen selection)
2.1 ha Marsanne
1.3 ha Roussane
0.3 ha Grenache.
Appellation: AOC Côtes du Luberon for red and Vin de Pays de Vaucluse for white
Soil : Hilly soil with calcareous marl, lime, sand and gravel.
Picking: By hand
Vinification: Red: Partly stripped/stemmed and crushed. Macerated appr. 25 days.
White: Pneumatic press - barrel maturing without addition of yeast.