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Chene Bleu

Chêne Bleu is situated in a stunning position above the village of Crestet, high up in the Dentelles de Montmirail in Provence, not far from Gigondas just where the Rhône and Provence appellations meet. It is an isolated location which has been recognised by UNESCO and designated a Biosphere Reserve. Chêne Bleu or “Blue Oak”, is named after the ancient oak tree on their SCEA Domaine de la Verrière estate [SCEA : Civil Society of Agricultural Exploitation - a civil society operating in agriculture and the cultivation of the vine]. The tree had suffered in the the drought of 2005 and the internationally acclaimed tree sculptor, Marco Nucera, painted it with the “Bordeaux mixture” of copper sulphate which is traditionally used to protect vines from downy mildew. Now the Blue Oak is repainted every year and is a symbol of their philosophy – seeking to preserve and protect. The domaine has seen many centuries of viticulture, starting in the Middle Ages when it was a grape-growing dependency for the Abbaye of Prebayon. It got its name, La Verrière, in 1427 when Aliot de Montvin was licensed to blow glass there. But centuries later a disagreement about an inheritance led to the estate becoming abandoned, and when Xavier Rolet acquired it in 1993 the property was derelict and the vineyards neglected. And so began the huge project of renovating and transforming this ‘diamond in the rough’ to fulfil its considerable potential. At 550 metres above sea level it is one of the highest vineyards in the Vaucluse, which is farmed with sustainable, organic and biodynamic practices; they use propolis from their own beehives as an organic treatment for their vines. 30 hectares are under vine planted predominately with 25 year old Grenache and 40 year old Syrah vines, but also with small quantities of the other traditional Rhône varietals - Roussanne, Marsanne, Viognier, Clairette and Mourvedre - on unique high altitude limestone and clay soils with a rich mineral basalt content, which gives all their wines a pleasing mineral signature. The wines are made in a modern state-of-the-art gravity-fed winery, created amongst the original outbuildings of the priory. Everything is done with meticulous attention to detail, the grapes are all hand-picked, double hand-sorted, and vinified parcel by parcel. They certainly don't believe in half measures and there are no shortcuts at Chêne Bleu. Their wines have been referred to as Super-Rhônes, because they choose to blend Viognier with red grape varieties. This is not an accepted practice in their appellation and therefore their wines do not carry a Vin de Pays classification. The Rolet's commitment and dedication has paid off in dividends, with an exquisite range of critically-acclaimed white, rosé and red wines, exceptionally well-crafted with passion. Their motto is “non mihi, non tibi, sed nobis”, which translates as “ Not mine, not yours, but ours”.