Secrets of St-Rémy #3: Favorite Wineries
My wife Val and I live part of the year in St-Rèmy-de-Provence, a charming town between Marseille and Avignon. I’ve written a guidebook about the area, An Insider’s Guide to Provence, where I share some of our favorite things to see and do. This series of articles is based on that book.
Provence is a wine lover’s paradise, and wine has been made here for thousands of years. You can get any color you’d like—red, white, or pink—because what’s a French meal without wine?
Here are some of our favorite wineries, all of which have friendly tasting rooms with English-speaking staff.
1. Château Romanin
Wine has been produced at this site for millennia, going back to the days of the Greeks. And it is a place steeped in mysticism, where druids worshipped their ancient gods.
In the 13th century, a Templar knight built his great château here, on a rocky outcropping of the Alpilles Mountains. It was not only his fortress but also a Court of Love, where noble ladies presided over ‘questions of gallantry.’ I wonder, could you be thrown in the dungeon for not picking up a lady’s hanky? Or get fifty lashes for using the wrong fork?
The château is now a ruin but nearby is the most beautiful winery in the area, Château Romanin. Be sure to tour the underground ‘cathedral winery’ (reservations required.) The tasting room is beautiful and the wines are outstanding, maybe the best in the area, with prices to match.
Route de Cavaillon (D99)
Contact: +33 (0)4 90 92 69 57 or accueil@ChateauRomanin.fr
2. Domaine des Terres Blanches
A bit further east, this is another top winery with a friendly tasting room. I especially like their white wine that includes the Rolle grape (elsewhere called Vermentino.) Besides the wines, there are also local products sold in the tasting room.Domaine des Terres Blanches
Route de Cavaillon (D99)
Contact: +33 (0)4 90 95 91 66 or firstname.lastname@example.org
3. Mas de la Dame
The medieval seer Nostradamus, who was born in St-Rémy, once prophesied that “the sea will cover the earth, and will stop at the stele of Mas de la Dame.” You can still see the stele, and water is not yet lapping at its foot, but maybe you should visit the winery soon in case Nostradamus was right!
Mas de la Dame is south of St-Rémy, off the D5, about a half-mile after you’ve gone over the Alpilles on the way to Maussane.
The view from the road leading into the winery is spectacular. I like to stop there sometimes and gaze up at those beautiful mountains.
The large tasting room serves a wide variety of wines, and you can also buy olive oil and other local products.Mas de la Dame
Chemin Départemental 5 (D5)
Les Baux de Provence
Contact: +33 (0)4 90 54 32 24 or email@example.com
4. Mas Sainte Berthe
Nestled below the towering château of Les Baux, this is my go-to winery for rosé wines. All the wines are good here, but I especially like the rosés.
The tasting room is small and friendly, with a boutique attached where you can buy olive oil and other local products. The winery is about two miles from Mas de la Dame, off of the D27A heading to Les Baux.
Some of Sainte Berthe’s wines can be purchased not only in bottles but also in a five or ten-liter “bag-in-box.” BIB wines have a reputation for low quality, but there are plenty of good ones in France. I sometimes keep a BIB in the fridge, to have a glass of wine in the afternoon—they last about three weeks after opening.
Mas Sainte Berthe
Chemin de Sainte Berthe
Les Baux de Provence
Contact: +33 (0)4 90 54 39 01 or firstname.lastname@example.org
5. Drink Like a Roman
One of the most interesting wineries in Provence is the Mas des Tourelles, about 30 minutes from St-Rémy. Once a Roman villa, then a winery of great renown, part of it has now been made into an authentic Roman vineyard and winery. You can take a tour, see a video on Roman winemaking techniques, then taste wines made using ancient Roman recipes. Some are sweet and pleasant, with honey as an ingredient. Others are, shall we say, “interesting.” Fenugreek in your wine, anyone?
Mas des Tourelles makes for an interesting stop for lovers of history and of wine alike. There is grape juice for the kids and a room full of Roman games that everyone can play.Mas des Tourelles
4294 Route de Saint-Gilles
Contact: +33 (0)4 66 59 19 72
Have you ever visited any of these wineries? Please share your experiences below.
Secrets of St-Rémy
is a series perfect for your next trip—save it now.
It will take you to the all of best sights, sounds, and aromas of St Rémy
1. Must-see sights
2. Favorite places to eat
3. Favorite Wineries
all images copyright Keith Van Sickle