Chêne Bleu | Vaucluse

Chêne Bleu property located in a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve of the Dentelles de Montmirail in Provence

Chêne Bleu is a critically-acclaimed winery to be found set in the Dentelles de Montmirail, a small chain of mountains in Provence in the département of Vaucluse. The property lies at an elevation of 550 metres, 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. The domaine lies in a very special place, just where the Rhône and Provence Appellations meet on the southern border of Gigondas in a protected mountain saddle and designated UNESCO biosphere reserve. The Chêne Bleu wines take their name from the blue oak tree to be found on their estate, the SCEA Domaine de La Verrière.

The estate was purchased by Xavier Rolet and his wife Nicole in 1994 and with it began the project of renovating this medieval estate vineyard to the highest international standards. The Rolets took the bold decision to take their wines out of the AOC system in order to have full artistic freedom to pursue the property’s utmost potential for quality. The wines thus carry the Vins de Pays de Vaucluse designation and as such they can be considered the first ever "Super Rhônes". They make meticulously handcrafted wines in tiny quantities, no more than 600 cases of each wine.

Their pursuit of quality is obsessive: only hand picking, double sorting with individual grape selection, top quality new French oak cooperage, state-of-the-art gravity fed winery and parcel by parcel vinification. In the vineyard everything is farmed according to biodynamic principles and ancient methods with emphasis on maintaining the ecosystem, planting bamboo forests to purify the water; propolis from their own beehives as an organic treatment for the vines.

There are no shortcuts at this estate and the resulting wines are powerful, layered but with a sense of origin and also a fair degree of finesse.