The Domaine de Trevallon is located near Saint Remy de Provence , exactly near a village named Saint Etienne de Grès , not far from Les Baux de Provence. . It is one of the first estates (the first ?) to have made its way with quality wines totally free from the Appellation system, with making wines labelled as "vin de pays", wines which were nonetheless highly appreciated and priced accordingly in the wine world.
Eloi Durrbach began planting new vineyards in 1973 . The first wines from these vineyards came out in 1977. The cool underground cellar was built in 1985. [ See on the left the nice road from Saint Etienne du Gres to the Domaine de Trevallon ]
The Domaine' wines were labelled in the VDQS "Coteaux d'Aix en Provence" till 1985. Then the allowed percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend was lowered. Problem . The Domaine de Trevallon, which had a bigger share of Cabernet Sauvignon in its wine received exemptions from the rules for a while, but one day this exemption stopped and the Domaine was offered the choice to abide to the rules or be downgraded to "Vin de Pays des Bouches du Rhone". This is what happened.
All this was not very logic as there was no particular historic tradition in this region for particular blends. In many places around here, Cabernet Sauvignon had been planted (but most estates chose to stay inside the "rules") . There was indeed a large share of Cabernet Sauvignon before the Phylloxera devastated the vineyards at the end of the 19th century. Even Pinot and Gewurtzstraminer could be commonly seen in the region. This was then a very free era in term of viticulture .
The father of Eloi Durrbach, René Durrbach, a painter and sculptor, bought the Domaine in 1955. He is by the way the author of the labels that you can see on the Trevallon's bottles.
Eloi Durrbach shows us the cellar . Very cool place. It can be so hot outside. Some of the wines there are 30-35 years old . Customers often come to buy bottles from around 1990.
About how he works : No destemming, no yeast adding. Makes austere wines when young. Yield never been over 25 hectoliters/hectare. No clones. Very short pruning, thus no need to take off grapes later (no green harvest). No chemical fertilizers. All this work, plus other careful attentions, resulted in a quality that soon brought the success and fame to Trevallon wines, and the handicap of being out of the AOC system did'nt hinder it.
__1__ Domaine de Trevallon white 2003. Marssanne-Roussanne 90%, plus Chardonnay. .10 months-a year in new casks. He uses casks from Saury (made in Brive la Gaillarde in southwestern France) . The foudres (big size casks) are from Seguin-Moreau and are specially designed for the Domaine,7cm-thick. It is usually said that wine needs 1 cm per year.
Like for the reds, in this wine there are no external yeasts used. Very rich wine. "gras" . And this is not a white wine year. But nonetheless the result is good. In the Domaine de Trevallon, whites are long-laying-down wines : 6-7 years . Bottling of the whites and reds is done at the same time, at the "right moon" (down) . No batonnage, it would make heavy wines.
__2__ Domaine de Trevallon red 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon. Blend not before a year. Vineyards lots are vinified separately. 12,5° . Trevallon is never very strong in alcohol. Harvest time begins around sept 25 for the Syrah , with Cabernet Sauvignon in october and Roussanne in the end. Actually the harvest begins with Chardonnay, but there are only 600 vines of it, just enough to make about a cask or two.
He likes to harvest relatively late for a good maturity. This is also the result of a correct pruning. No destemming, even for the Cabernet, which is rare. Anyway , tannins are not very tough. If the stems are fine and healthy, like they are in Trevallon, it is OK. Fining is an important stage here. For reds, egg white. For whites, clay to eliminate the protein surplus.
__3__ Domaine de Trevallon red 2003 Syrah. We taste a sample from a cask. Very different, tannic. Will be blended with Cabernet Sauvignon later Last blend being before fining, and then, after 1 1/2 months, bottling without filtration. Sometimes a little sediment after 3 years, sometimes 8 years, depends of the millesime.
__4__ Domaine de Trevallon red 2001 Assemblage Cabernet Sauvignon-Syrah . Trevallon uses very long corks (24mm -54mm) , which is important for long laying down wines like here . Price 4 times the glass bottle price , for this high quality cork . Very nice nose . Excellent wine . Superb . Both of us are delighted .
__5__ Domaine de Trevallon red 1995 Syrah-Cabernet Sauvignon . Still young ! Can wait another 20 years . Tannins still there .
__6__ Domaine de Trevallon red 2000 . Our hos used to say 2001 was a very good outstanding year . And now with the evolution of the wines , he says the 2000 is even nicer . More a typical Trevallon wine , he says . Eloi Durrbach shows us the vineyards , with Tulipe , the Labrador dog running around who wants to have us play with him . The name of Trevallon comes from the three small valleys on the hills behind the Domaine . On the picture below, the lower part was planted in 1976. The upper vineyard plot was planted 9 years ago.