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Domaine de Trévallon, RougeProvence, France 2017 (750mL)  |  FREE Shipping on any 6 bottles!

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Domaine de Trévallon, Rouge Provence, France 2017 (750mL)

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Earth
Body
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Alcohol
Put bluntly, any exploration into France’s greatest wines is incomplete without the inclusion of Domaine de Trévallon, yet the legend and reputation of this estate’s flagship red is still not reflected in its final price. The only plausible explanation is its place of origin: If this were a Classified Growth château—and yes, it most definitely belongs in elite Bordelais company—it would cost many multiples more.

As the tale goes, a fateful visit from Aubert de Villaine of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti helped chart Trévallon’s meteoric rise: In 1978, after tasting the estate’s wines, he tipped off Kermit Lynch, who turned up at Trévallon soon after and began importing the wines. Trévallon has held court with unparalleled eloquence, and soulful quirkiness, ever since. Blending Cabernet Sauvignon with a substantial percentage of Syrah (these days it’s 50-50) was not a traditional practice in 1970s Provence, but it worked from the start. And it still works, to perfection—it even prompted Robert Parker to call it “...one of the greatest discoveries of [his] life.” Grown in the clay/limestone soils of Alpilles, in the Baux de Provence, this is essential drinking for anyone who is passionate about French wine collectibles—a quintessential bottle that tugs at your heartstrings without taxing your wallet. 

Domaine de Trévallon’s original owners, René and Jacqueline Dürrbach, were close personal friends of Pablo Picasso’s and fixtures in the French art scene of the 1950s. Jacqueline, a textile artist, was commissioned to create a tapestry of Picasso’s iconic Guernica painting for none other than Nelson Rockefeller. She and René purchased a vacation home in Provence, which had no vineyards when they first arrived. The house is located just outside the village of Saint-Etienne-du-Grès, an ancient Roman outpost with a sleepy square full of locals drinking pastis. The Provençal scrubland—or garrigue—surrounding it is littered with enormous chunks of limestone, which René hypothesized would contribute exceptional minerality to his future wines. 

He wouldn’t find out until his son, Eloi, left university in 1973 to plant vines and begin winemaking against his father’s wishes. The rolling hillsides of Alpilles provided just enough elevation to inspire Eloi to plant Cabernet Sauvignon. The other half of Trévallon’s iconic blend is Syrah, and the two unexpected varieties create unparalleled tension in the final blend. In 1993 the AOC of Coteaux-de-Baux-en-Provence limited their allowance of Cabernet Sauvignon to 20 percent, and Eloi  proudly declined to change his final blend, preferring declassification to Vin de Pays (now the “Alpilles” IGP) over abandoning his balance. 

Eloi priced his newly minted wines at three times the going rate for a bottle of red in Provence, rationalizing that his product was simply three times better. His first vintage gathered dust and tested Eloi’s confidence until one day, Aubert de Villaine stopped by for a visit. He liked the wines so much that he returned two weeks later with Kermit Lynch. The American purchased 10 cases and grumbled about the high prices. Next vintage, he purchased 1,000. 

The Trévallon recipe hasn’t changed since. Eloi and his children use essential oils, plant extracts, and silica in the vineyard in lieu of pesticides, insecticides, and herbicides. The grapes ripen during scorching days and concentrate sugars during chilly nights, serenaded by the grinding cicadas. In 2017, the entire crops of both varieties were harvested in a single day, September 4th, and an entirely whole-cluster fermentation with natural yeasts was followed by a lengthy élevage—two years in giant oak foudres! The wines are always fined with egg whites and bottled unfiltered, raw, pristine.

Each Trévallon label was hand-drawn by René, who suffered from cancer at the end of his life and began drawing with colored pencils as a creative outlet. Eloi carefully matches each of the 50 labels René created before his death to the “personality” of a vintage. 2017 is smooth, concentrated, and deeply juicy. Its color is richer than oil paint—midway between ruby and violet. The nose smells of black cherries, dried herbs, and copper. The palate is comparatively vibrant, with notes of lilac and violet pastilles accenting a generous core of black fruit and spicy pepper. The Syrah contributes focus and purity while the Cabernet adds flesh and texture—supple tannins that melt as you mouth waters. The domaine strictly recommends decanting into a carafe and serving at 60 degrees if the bottle is being drunk within the first year of release. After that, they say, don’t bother opening it for another decade. The 2017 is still within that first window of enjoyment, but know that Trévallon is exquisitely delicious in both its immediate youth and its eloquent older age. Make absolutely sure you get to experience both by purchasing more than a single bottle. Drink with a leg of lamb and daydreams of napping in the shade of an olive tree in the French countryside. 



Domaine de Trévallon, Rouge Provence, France 2017 - SommSelect

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  • CountryFrance
  • RegionProvence
  • Sub-RegionAlpilles IGP
  • SoilClay & Limestone
  • FarmingOrganic
  • BlendCabernet Sauvignon 50%, Syrah 50%
  • Alcohol13.5%
  • OakFoudres

  • CountryFrance
  • RegionProvence
  • Sub-RegionAlpilles IGP
  • SoilClay & Limestone
  • FarmingOrganic
  • BlendCabernet Sauvignon 50%, Syrah 50%
  • Alcohol13.5%
  • OakFoudres
  • Temp.Serve at 60° F
  • GlasswareBordeaux Stem
  • DrinkingNow-2037
  • Decanting60+ Minutes
  • PairingProvençal Leg of Lamb

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