DOMAINE DE TREVALLON
Domaine de Trévallon lies in the northern part of Les Alpilles, the jagged limestone hills less than 20 miles south of Avignon. (In fact it’s just a few miles north-west of Mas de Gourgonnier.) Eloi Durrbach’s father Rene, a painter and sculptor, bought the property in 1955 to escape the hurly-burly of the Cote d’Azur. Back then it was all scrubland, but his father always had the idea that it would be a good place for vines.
In 1973 Eloi gave up his architecture studies at the Ecole de Beaux Arts in Paris to start the project. Using dynamite and bulldozers they cleared rock and worked the earth at a deep level, mixing the rock into the soil. In the winter of 1973, Eloi planted his first 3 hectares of vines. His first vintage was in 1976. Today the estate has 17 hectares under vine, and is one of the most famous wines in France.
The choice to plant 50% Cabernet Sauvignon and 50% Syrah was unusual, but inspired by 19th century accounts of how well Cabernet had performed in the South. Ultimately it cost the winery its appellation as the new AOC Les Baux de Provence (est. 1993) set 20% as the maximum for Cabernet. Eloi refused to change, and the wine was ‘downgraded’ to Bouches-du-Rhone. However the intrinsic quality of the wine meant that it continued to garner awards, and it remains the most highly regarded wine from the area.
The vines are planted on the cooler north-facing slopes, so the wines retain a very fresh character. They are surrounded by olive and almond trees, and the classic holm-oak. The vineyard is managed organically, with no herbicides or pesticides, and only sheep manure for the soil. Eloi interferes as little as possible in the cellar. Native yeasts for the fermentation, long ageing in foudres on the lees, no lees-stirring.
Today Eloi’s son Antoine, and daughter Ostiane, are taking on the day to day operations of what is one of the most highly regarded wineries in France.
Point of Sale