Artisans of Provence, Behind The Curation

Artisans of Provence: Valérie Casado

January 29, 2018
valerie casado artisans of provence luxe provence

Each season, we select an Artisan of Provence™ to collaborate with for our Luxe Provence curations and boutique collections. In the spirit of spring and the much-anticipated return of blooms, we have chosen the delicate and beautiful ceramics of Valérie Casado. I had the pleasure of visiting Valérie’s atelier recently just outside the charming Provence village of Isle sur la Sorgue.

Each of Valérie’s pieces is formed organically by hand, working with vintage objects, lace, parsley, buttercups and wildflowers to form beautiful, unique patterns. Created from either unglazed baked porcelain or terre rouge, each of Valérie Casado’s pieces bring a touch of modern whimsy and French charm into your home.

We wanted to take each piece home and her layered blooming place settings are to die for. The thinness she achieves in her small plates and platters, which remain strong and durable, are really quite incredible. Her art de la table brings a balance of tradition and modernity, texture and delicacy to any tablesetting.

Valérie Casado’s ceramic works are lead by instinct and intuition allowing her hands to guide her through the artistic creation of each piece.  Originally from Bordeaux, Valérie studied ceramics at the cultural centre in Pernes-les-Fontaines and now enjoys Provence life from her atelier in the heart of the Vaucluse. Her unique porcelain stamped serving pieces fetch upwards of $495 for a single piece, due to their fine, handcrafted nature.

Her work is appreciated around the world, from Paris, Madrid, London, New York, Tokyo and Hamburg.. and now to the USA inside this season’s Luxe Provence V11: Art de la Table spring curation shipping mid- March, and also in our sold-out Valentine’s Day Mediterranean Gold box.

luxe provence artisans of provence

Don’t miss our limited edition Spring V11: Art de la Table curation, by reserving yours today… we only have a few left. Shipping begins the first day of Spring to your doorstep from Provence.

luxe provence gifts artisans of provence slow luxury

 

Article and Photography by Founder/Creative Director: Tarik Koivisto. All rights reserved. Learn more about the villages of Provence here.

Gastronomy & Wine

Luxe Provence Holiday Wine Guide

December 23, 2017

Provence is known for luminosity, of genuine warmth is a setting of rich contrast. The Christmas season is an enveloping time of year when the light changes, the air is chilly, and traditions find a most sacred space in the homes of Provençal families.

This is the season of celebration, the Saison des Fêtes, highlighted by the Christmas markets that pop up in villages large and small as early as the end of November. Fill your shopping basket with delightful gifts and delicacies to enjoy with family and friends. Or take a ride throughout some of the most beautiful vineyard properties in Provence, in a vintage carriage to both taste and enjoy the scenery, such delicious wine tours are offered at the Var’s Château Fontableau.

Foie gras, shellfish, fresh poultry, and pastries fill shop windows drawing a playful hunger and excitement for the Christmas feast or Le Gros Souper. Le Gros Souper (the big supper) is a decadent, meatless meal enjoyed by families on Christmas Eve, often before Midnight Mass.

Sweet treats such as the Bouche de Noel and Thirteen Desserts (an array of dried fruit, nougats, melon, bread, calissons, pain d’epices, and other regional bites) which represent Christ and the twelve apostles cap Le Gros Souper. Vin cuit, a traditional cooked wine commonly crafted in the wine-producing region around Mont Sainte Victoire. To make vin cuit, pressed juice from the recent harvest is heated to just-under-boiling over a wood fire. After ten days, this reduced juice undergoes a fermentation, resulting in a sweet dessert wine.

Vin cuit follows the Thirteen Desserts as does a choice of local wines. Luxe Provence presents a selection of local wines to pair with your holiday traditions, to evoke the essence of the South of France in December in your home.

Château Coussin Sainte Victoire Côtes de Provence 2015

Château Coussin’s beautiful red wine from Sainte Victoire Côtes de Provence is composed of 70% Syrah and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon from vines of an average age of 30 years. Ripe black fruit and silky tannins balance with a bite of pepper on the finish. We particularly enjoy their Cuvée César à Sumeire Rouge 2015 composed of a slightly more complex blend of 70% Syrah, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Grenache. The perfect accompaniment to wild game, or venison Christmas lunch. This region is famous for the images of Mont Sainte Victoire immortalized in Cezanne’s paintings. It is also a bastion of ancient Roman and Greek vineyards, settlements, and agriculture.

Château de Chausse Côtes de Provence Rubis 2013

Château de Chausse is nestled on the St. Tropez Peninsula, several kilometers from the city of the same name. The estate’s Rubis is a Côtes de Provence AOP red made primarily of Syrah. Vines are all hand-harvested with minimal intervention. Château de Chausse focuses on high-quality wines, including red wines that can age beautifully. Rubis would be excellent for gift-giving, to adorn the cellar of your favorite collector.

Domaine de Trevallon Rouge and Blanc 2014

Domaine de Trevallon, near Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, is located in Saint-Etienne-du-Grès on the north ridge of the Alpilles range. Eloi Dürrbach envisioned vines planted in these nooks of scrubland that supported olive trees. The olives still thrive alongside the vines, all treated with the most natural of methods. The domaine crafts a red and white, each expressive of the Alpilles limestone and garrigue. Their 2014 Domaine de Trevallon Rouge receives very high marks for its unique nez of cassis, wood, mushrooms and leather, pairing perfectly with a truffle-based dish.

Le Grand Clos La Maîtresse Rosé Brut NV

Le Grand Clos La Maîtresse Rosé Brut is a delicate sparkling rosé, one intended for special gatherings. Hand-picked Grenache, Syrah, and Chardonnay express a balanced acidity, thanks to the maritime climate in which they grow in the foothills of the Massif des Maures. Dry stone, olives, and scrub herbs dress this setting, where the proprietors utilize the latest technology in an old-world environment.

Château Simone Palette Blanc 2013

Château Simone (top photo) produces about half of the wine from the tiny appellation of Palette, one of the most prestigious wine regions of Provence. The average age of the vines used in their Blanc is over 50 years – some ancient vines reach back as far as 100 years. This blend is a classic frame of the region: Clairette, Grenache Blanc, Ugni Blanc, Bourboulenc, and Muscat Blanc. This is a structured white wine, having spent 18 months in French Oak and harvested by hand. This white is a spectacular blend and may be paired beautifully with shellfish, crab and lobster for the perfect Christmas, or New Year’s Eve celebration.

luxe provence wine guide

 

 

 

 

Enjoy your holidays and we hope we have helped you to discover a new Provence wine selection for your special celebration. 

#Celebratingthegoodlife …

 

Blog Written by: Jill Barth from L’Occasion – A Reason for Wine and Provence Wine Master with special notations by Tarik Koivisto for Luxe Provence.  

Behind The Curation

Take A Peek Inside our Luxury Subscriptions

December 18, 2017
best luxury subscription gifts from provence

We have just wrapped up another fantastic season of deliveries, from our V10 Luxe Provence Blush – Coquine Curation featuring the luxuries of Provence… to our V2: Mediterranean Gold – Morocco Collection loaded with the best in luxury Mediterranean design.

luxury subscription box
Curious about what was inside our Coquine Curation, take a look at our Mini Magazine with the story behind this season’s Luxe Provence Blush curation below.

And here’s what our clients are saying about both of our Luxury Subscriptions...

“I received my two parcels today. Imagine my surprise opening them to see my gorgeous handbags. I was nervous about the color and style of the bags. Your photos do not do these handbags justice. I own 6 Prada bags and I love these just as much. The color of the gray is so unusual and chic. The python (so glad I took this risk) is TO DIE FOR! —TO DIE FOR! Your attention to detail when choosing the accompanying wallets is much appreciated. Beautiful combinations….Job well done! Thank you.”

– Kathleen

“…I am so happy that I treated myself to both subscriptions as they are both very special… The earrings are perfection. Love your taste and am grateful and appreciate the thought put into each box. Loved everything!!!!!”

– Connie

 

So.. Are you ready to be delighted and indulged, all year long? Subscribe today!

French Beauty & Fragrance

Luxe Provence Natural Beauty Guide

December 4, 2017

With the season of giving approaching, we are excited to share our Luxe Provence Natural Beauty Guide featuring our top selections Made in Provence and not widely available abroad. All of these items make for lovely and thoughtful gifts this season, with a few of our top selections tucked inside our V10: Coquine Collection.

We have tested a variety of Provence beauty brands extensively over the past two years and our selections focus on products made locally with the highest percentage of natural ingredients, authenticity and high ethical standards.

To start things off, we are pleased to introduce a relatively new brand that we adore, Végétalement Provence. We were instantly smitten with both their formulations, featuring only natural ingredients and perfectly balanced fragrances, and their professional, passionate and talented team behind this award-winning haircare and natural organic beauty brand. The team at VP treated me to their full diagnostic and hair spa experience a few months back and it was an amazing. The products are formulated by a team of veteran luxury industry experts, including leading haircare brands, Wella and Sebastian. For my visit, my hair’s condition was assessed and then treated with the perfect spa-sensorial prescription. I left my visit with my hair noticeably silky soft, possessing lots of natural shine. I was treated to a styling and blow-out by celebrity hair artist, David, who gave me the perfect balanced style of edge and finesse. My favorite products are their Brume Hydratante leave-in conditioner and their Potion Magique, one of which will be featured inside our V10: Coquine Collection shipping next week. The brand has won numerous innovation awards for it’s haircare and men’s “Barbe” line, which is 100% organic.

VP has created a comprehensive professional and consumer line of haircare featuring all the benefits of natural vegetable and essential oils from the Mediterranean to create a revolutionary natural line derived from ancestral know-how. The arid lands of Provence contain a wide variety of “wild” plants whose aromatic and medicinal properties have been known since ancient times. This is why we have chosen to feature this authentic Provence brand with high product standards.

Our next favorite natural and vegan-friendly beauty brand is, Concept Provence. A long-time favorite of ours founded by a lovely local couple, Jean-Paul and Renata Negroni, with offices just a hop, skip and jump away from ours. We love this brand for its authentic, yet modern and clean approach to creating natural beauty products. Our favorites are the masculine-leaning fragrances of their body milks, liquid handsoaps and candle lines (which we featured in last year’s holiday curation). We have selected one of our favorite fragranced body milks as a surprise in this season’s V10 curation as well, designed to deliver a Provence spa experience to your doorstep.

Our next Luxe Provence natural beauty brand selection, is Source de Provence. This Provence beauty brand offers up 99% natural formulations for their product lines. Their fragranced fig products are completely sensual and unique in the market. We adore their Fig Sap fragranced Creme de Jour Ressourcante and their gorgeous Huile Seche, or Dry Oils, perfect for both body and hair. This brand continues to deliver ethically made natural skincare from Provence of high quality.gifts from provence

And last but not least, we always keep a hand cream of either Melon Basil or Vin Rosé from Rose et Marius in our purse (delivered last season in our Blush curation), and adore the Olive Oil Body Butter from brand, Panier des Sens, for extra moisturizing with its lovely subtle fragrance. (This one is widely available in the USA, hence not in our boutique…). Shop our natural beauty favorites in our holiday gift collections or receive a sampling inside our next Blush curation shipping next week, but hurry we have only a handful left!

 

Article written by Tarik Koivisto, Founder of Luxe Provence. Photo Credits: By Tarik Koivisto except photo of Renata Negroni by LIGHT STUDIO – Daniel Chavey www.danielchavey.com

Gastronomy & Wine, Taste of Provence

2017 Luxe Provence Thanksgiving Wine Guide

November 20, 2017

French wines from Provence and the Southern Rhône Valley are generously varied, with a wine to suit every possible meal. This time of year, thoughts turn to the holidays, when traditional flavors come together on the table as families gather together in homes across the world. The American holiday of Thanksgiving is meant to celebrate local foods prepared by those of many backgrounds, joining in the spirit of friendship, family, abundance and prosperity. Who can resist such charm, such comfort?

Our Luxe Provence Thanksgiving Wine Guide has been curated to envelope the authenticity of wines from the South of France, paired with the range of traditional Thanksgiving foods. These wines are particularly food-friendly and will be a delight with any menu during the holiday season.

ameillaud provence wine guide thanksgiving

Harmas AOP Cairanne Villages 2015

Cairanne is a relatively new Cru, recognized as such in 2016, though excellent Côtes du Rhône Villages wine has been made there for many generations. The Domaine l’Ameillaud property was built in the mid 19th century and current owners, Nick and Sabine Thompson, have established a truly soothing and beautiful environment, surrounded by the Dentelles de Montmirail, native vineyards, and olive trees. Not only do the Thompsons make wine with impeccable character, they also run Mas Meyeau, a relaxing holiday rental with vineyard views. Harmas is a blend of 60% Grenache, 20% Syrah 18% Carignan, and a dash of Mourvèdre from 45-year-old-vines. Beautiful smooth tannins and rich aromatics make this a beautiful pairing for your holiday lamb prepared with Herbs de Provence.

provence wine guide domaine l'ameillaud

Domaine Dalmeran Dalmeran en Blanc 2016

Domaine Dalmeran is a member of Les Baux-de-Provence AOP. Their beautiful property is located on the edge of Saint-Etienne-du-Grès, with a vineyard view of the Alpilles range. This producer is highly artful in their wines as well as their setting, with carved woodwork sculptures scattered throughout the expansive garden and lawn.

dalmeran provence wine guide thanksgiving wines

A white wine from the region is uncommon, and this particular bottle is aromatic, rich and balanced – perfect for nearly any dish on the Thanksgiving table. Grenache Blanc, Clairette, Rousssane, and Bourboulenc are all grown organically, in the fashion of all Domaine Dalmeran vines.

luxe provence wine guide jill barth

Domaine Melody, CHAOS BLANC, AOC Crozes-Hermitage, Blanc, 2016

We just tasted this lovely Chaos Blanc at the fabulous new La Cave du Cours Mirabeau in Aix-en-Provence last week. This great local cave offers an excellent, diverse selection of our favorite wines and is a great place to stop in for a tasting, while strolling in Aix. This beautiful dry white made from a blend of 70 percent Roussanne and 30 percent Marsanne grapes grown in the pebbly, white kaolin soils of Chateau de Larnage. This Crozes-Hermitage is a perfectly oaked white “with hints of peach and hawthorne flower mingling with cream, and deep, resonant flavors which turn the fruit allusions towards soft apricot, almond and cashew… 91 points from Decanter Magazine.”  A great opton for those who prefer a complex white with their turkey and a nutty stuffing.

Domaine de la Bouïssière Gigondas 2014

Thierry and Gilles Faravel, brothers, are the second-generation proprietors and winemakers at Domaine le Bouïssière. They work with an eye on tradition, but a forward-facing wisdom to realize the highest potential of the region for the future. They tend decades-old vines planted by their father, some grown with altitude in the Dentelles de Montmirail (pictured above). This Gigondas is 75% Grenache, 25% Syrah, and 5% Mourvèdre. One of the most beautiful characteristics of this wine is the freshness of the fruit. While this is a full-bodied wine, balanced acids harmonize with tannins to bring a generous food-friendliness. Rich sausage stuffing and even balsamic Brussels sprouts would go well with this wine.

Domaine Saint André de Figuière Atmosphère 2016 (also featured in first photo)

A sparkling wine from Provence is a rarity, but the Combard family believes there is place in the picture for rosé bubbly that is emblematic of the region. The family-run domaine is located between Mediterranean Sea and Massif des Maures near Bormes-les-Mimosas.

This extra brut wine is made in the Méthode Traditionelle, the same process that creates Champagne. A blend of Cinsault and Grenache offers aromatic minerality, dressed in a fizz of bubbles. According to the domaine, “Atmosphère is the product of a group effort that started in 2008 and was overseen by some 20 winegrowers, the French agricultural regulating body INAO and the Rosé Wine Experimentation and Research Center in Vidauban, France.”

Domaine de Beaurenard Rasteau Vin Doux Naturel

Vin Doux Naturel is a traditional dessert wine from the Southern Rhône Valley, one that possesses a dissolving savoriness as much as sweetness. This bottle comes from Domaine de Beaurenard, known for their biodynamic portfolio from Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Family-run for seven generations, their name dates back to an age when the ancient Provençal language was spoken in the area. This wine comes from their vineyards in nearby Rasteau, a haven of sloping south-facing vineyards that are protected from the Mistral. Vin Doux Naturel, or VDN, is excellent as a dessert wine – a few sips are complex, rich and satisfying. A substantial cheese plate with a handful of salted almonds would also be lovely with this.

Have a fabulous Thanksgiving and let us know what you think about our wine selections for this season. Stay tuned for our holiday wine guide, coming up next!

 

Blog Written by: Jill Barth from L’Occasion – A Reason for Wine and Provence Wine Master for Luxe Provence.  Graphic design, additions by Tarik Koivisto.

Photo credits: Vineyards shots by Tarik Koivisto, Ameillaud and Dalmeran by Jill Barth. Images of Domaine de Bouissiere, Domaine de Beaurenard, Domaine Saint André de Figuière courtesy of the owners.

Artisans of the Mediterranean, Luxe Provence Travel Guides

Mediterranean Gold – A Voyage to Morocco

November 17, 2017

While I truly feel lucky to live the dream here in beautiful Provence, it is also quite special to be transported off on a long weekend escape to many of the vibrant and diverse regions of the Mediterranean. We Provençal are truly fortunate to be able to easily hop a plane from the South of France and within a few hours flight, discover a myriad of interesting and completely different Mediterranean cultures brimming with artisanal talent.

The idea behind our new Mediterranean Gold Subscription, was to create an opportunity to voyage together… share some of our favorite Mediterranean rich regions and bring our subscribers new artisanal talent that continues to represent the Mediterranean Lifestyle.

The South of France, particularly Marseille, is highly influenced by a variety of Mediterranean cultures. From the woven baskets and hats in every market, colorful ceramics, savon noir and spices, these Moroccan cultural influences are very strong. The exotic allure of Morocco has been a draw to many creative types throughout the years, namely Yves Saint Laurent, who spent a majority of his design years, from the mid 60s onward, being inspired by Marrakech and it’s famous Majorelle Gardens. The new YSL museum just opened up in Marrakech last month, and is completely devoted to the iconic designer.

yves saint laurent museum fashion design

Like many design-lovers I know who move to the area, Morocco is one of the first exciting destinations chosen to visit from Provence for escaping to a luxury riad, exotic landscapes and artisanal design. Therefore, we thought we’d start our journey to design-rich Morocco, as our first destination of our Mediterranean Gold Subscription.

I have visited this dynamic country several times over the past few years to discover its rich history, traditional craftsmanship and its budding, design culture. Actually, there are many French designers who have moved to Morocco to be closer to the craftspeople, ateliers, culture and leather working traditions the country is known for. I have visited fine leather and weaving ateliers, and met many talented upcoming female French designers producing amazing luxury items.

Our Morocco Collection features one such designer, Virginie Darling. We chose this upcoming charismatic designer of vibrant and high-quality boho-chic leather bags and travel accessories as our featured brand this season. Virginie works passionately to integrate the most supple, beautiful leathers into her emotionally inspired, fun and creative designs.

This luxury handmade leather travel collection will be paired with beautifully patterned ceramics handcrafted by the artisans of Morocco. We went behind the scenes with Virginie and asked her about her inspiration behind her creations and begged her to share some priceless travel tips for us all. Read on…

EN: When did you start working as a designer? What were you doing prior?

In 2014 I left the island of Reunion (a beautiful little French island in the Indian Ocean where I am from) leaving behind my career as a prominent TV host and actress to live a new adventure with my family in Montreal in Quebec, where I studied design. Then, we traveled to Morocco in 2016 and fell in love with this incredible country. I created Virginie Darling to share Moroccan know-how with women around the world according to my vision of elegance.

EN: What was your inspiration behind your line of leather bags and accessories?

I’m a bit like a sponge, since always I work like this! I find my inspiration in the women around me, who touch my heart. For example, the Elena cover was inspired by a talented Russian photographer whose personality fascinates me: rare elegance, intriguing discretion and modest sensuality … for each of my designs, I close my eyes and listen to the emotions that it creates inside of me… Annie, Josephine, Emma, ​​Zoe … bags all inspired by these women whose personality touch me in some way.

EN: What is your favorite aspect of your work?

I like every step! To dream up the design first then to imagine it in a more pragmatic way. Then to draw it and find just the right leather and fabrics. Finally to follow, with a lot of attention, the production in the atelier thanks to the know-how of the leather craftsmen! I spend a lot of time there.

EN: What are you inspired by?

My biggest source of inspiration is emotion … created by the beauty of a landscape, the kindness of a look, the chaos of a souk, the tone of a voice, the intelligence of the nature. Yes, EMOTION, is for me the imprint of life ..

EN: What is your favorite local beauty product?

I love the body oil with the orange blossom from Sens de Marrakech, it’s the scent of the south! I love the smell of incense, musk and patchouli by Berber Heritage perfumes and candles. I like solid perfumes, the smell of black soap (savon noir) with eucalyptus and the virtues of the fig oil of barbarism, which you can find in the souk spice stores. Euphorbia honey, which is derived from the cactus, is also very good for your health.

EN: What is your favorite Moroccan escape, (hotel, spa, places to see, visit, weekend travel…) that you would recommend visiting?

There are so many!

The Kasbah Beldi near Lake Lalla Takerkoust is a haven of peace! Lunch, sitting on cushions in Kilim beneath the tamarind of the 300-year-old Atlas with the sound of water is a rare luxury. In contrast, the souk of Marrakech, its tumult, its colors fascinate me!

The “Garden” restaurant at Emerald Zellig in the heart of the Medina and an inspiring place … and of course, above all, the breathtaking scenery of the Imsouane mountain side road in southern Morocco to the mountains of the Atlas … The landscapes of Morocco reminds me of my island … Intense! There is so much to see, and so much to live here!

—- Interview in French:

FR: Quand avez-vous commencé à travailler en tant que designer? Que faisiez-vous avant?

2014 j’ai quitté l’île de la Reunion ( magnifique petite île française dans l’océan indien dont je suis originaire) laissant derrière moi ma carrière d’animatrice TV et comédienne pour aller vivre une nouvelle aventure avec  ma petite famille  à Montreal au Québec et c’est là que j’ai commencé mes études de design. Puis nous avons voyagé jusqu’ au Maroc en 2016 et  j’ai eu le coup de foudre pour ce pays incroyable. J’ai créé Virginie Darling pour partager avec les femmes du monde entier le savoir faire Marocain selon ma vision de l’élégance.

FR: Quelle a été votre inspiration derrière votre ligne de sacs en cuir et d’accessoires?

Je suis un peu comme une éponge, depuis toujours je fonctionne comme ça !  Je puise mon inspiration dans les femmes qui m’entourent, qui me touchent. Par exemple, la pochette Elena m’a été inspirée par une amie russe photographe talentueuse dont la personnalité me fascine: élégance rare, discrétion intrigante et sensualité pudique… pour chacun de mes modèles, je ferme les yeux et je pense à l’émotion que cela crée en moi…Annie , Josephine, Emma, Zoé mes modèles portent des noms de femmes!

FR: Quel est ton aspect préféré de ton travail?

J’aime chaque étape!  Rêver le modèle d’abord puis l’imaginer de façon plus pragmatique puis  le dessiner puis aller chercher le cuir et les tissus et enfin suivre, avec beaucoup d’attention, la réalisation en atelier grâce au savoir faire des artisans maroquiniers! J’y passe beaucoup de temps.

FR: De quoi es-tu inspiré?

Ma plus grande source d’inspiration est l’émotion… Celle créée par la beauté d’un paysage, la gentillesse d’un regard, le chaos d’un souk, le timbre d’une voix, l’intelligence de la nature.. Oui l’EMOTION c’est pour moi l’empreinte de la vie.

FR: Quel est votre produit de beauté préféré?

J’aime l’huile pour le corps à la fleur d’oranger de Sens de Marrakech, c’est la senteur du Sud! J’aime l’odeur d’encens, de musc et de patchouli des parfums et des bougies d’héritage berbère. J’aime les parfums solides, l’odeur du savon noir à l’eucalyptus et les vertus de l’huile de figue de barbarie et trouve la place des épices dans le souk. Le miel d’euphorbe qui est un miel de cactus est très bon pour la santé.

FR: Quelle est votre escapade marocaine préférée, (hôtel, spa, lieux à visiter, visite, week-end …) que vous recommanderiez de visiter?

Il y en a tellement! 

La kasbah Beldi près du lac lalla takerkoust est un havre de paix! Déjeuner, assis sur des coussins en Kilim sous le tamarinier de l’Atlas  vieux de 300 ans avec le bruit de l’eau est d’un luxe rare . A l’opposé, le souk de Marrakech, son tumulte, ses couleurs me fascinent!

Le restaurant « Le jardin »en zellig émeraude en plein centre de la Medina et un endroit inspirant… et puis bien sûr, surtout, les paysages époustouflants de la route à flanc de montagne d’Imsouane dans le sud du Maroc au montagnes de l’Atlas …Les paysages du Maroc me rappelle mon île…Intense! Il y a tant à voir, tant à vivre! 

——-

To experience this curation, subscribe today...before they’re gone!

Gastronomy & Wine, Luxe Provence Travel Guides

36 Hours of Wine Tasting in Les Alpilles

August 7, 2017
travel wineguide provence les baux de provence

(Hotel Château des Alpilles in Saint Remy)

There is a spot of mystique and natural beauty that must be experienced to be understood: the Provençal wine region of Les Baux-de-Provence Appellation d’origine controlee (AOP).

The Alpilles Mountains run a ridge through the north-western corner of the Bouches du Rhône department of Provence. Alpilles means little Alps, but visitors to the area are moved by the largess of the wildly rugged, authentic and mysterious setting. It’s here that a small group of winemakers produce red, rosé and white wines in the shadow of Les Baux-de-Provence village, a 13th century fortification that lends its name to this AOP.

Vineyards can be found on either side of the Alpilles Mountains, cresting into the quite dry, fascinatingly hot oven where the grapes thrive and the Mistral wind blows. This region is unique for production of a larger percent (over 50%) of red wine, rather than the traditionally Provençal output of primarily rosé. Most estates also grow olives and mill olive oil, established under an agricultural AOP as well.

While the AOP is young (celebrating 21 years this summer), the practice of making wine is ancient, often conducted as part of general family farming in recent history, but dating back to Roman times when this area of Provence was on the road from Rome to Spain. Roman and Greek ruins can still be viewed in the area. The AOP leans heavily on biodynamique and organic farming and movements are in process to include these practices as an AOP mandate. It is also a small settlement of only twelve estates; a unique opportunity to taste and purchase a full portfolio from the area.

provence wine chateau estoublon

36 Hours in Les Baux de-Provence AOP

Locals and visitors can enjoy a summer exploration of each of these estates. Many of them do not export greatly, or at all, outside of Provence. Les Baux-de-Provence wines are found in local hotels, restaurants and for sale on site, with a small portion available for export. Taking time to explore and discover the region is the best and perhaps only way to experience the richness of this distinct space.

 

Friday

cheese-ofprovenceStart out early on Friday morning with a visit to the Eygalières market. Here you’ll find gorgeous produce (and a scarf or dress in colors to match), plump roasted chickens, aromatic herbs, colorful baskets and lots of families out doing their shopping. Local vignerons are often at the market, increasing one’s chances of getting an inside conversation with a local winemaker. Gather picnic essentials: cheese, a couple of baguettes, a chicken and some tomatoes. These can be eaten on a sunny stone wall, or under a tree along the summit, where château ruins offer a view of the Alpilles. After lunch, pace the afternoon around time at these neighboring wine estates.

Domaine de la Vallongue

domaine de la vallongue provence aopThe name means Domaine of the Long Valley, signifying the estate’s location on the ancient Roman roadway connecting Rome and Spain. Enjoy a tasting of the domaine’s red, white and rosé wines as well as the AOC olive oils, for sale on premises.

Domaine Lauzières

Taste both estate wine and olive oil in the domaine’s carnotzet, a Swiss word depicting a cellar bar or room where people gather to taste wine in a lively and welcoming setting. Purchase wines in 750ml bottles or an impressive magnum bottle for entertaining.

domaine de la lauzieres provence wine

Mas de Gourgonnier

This family-run estate welcomes visitors to their bio-dynamically farmed estate. They’ve been certified by European and American governing bodies for sustainable growing methods. Guests can taste and purchase wine and olive oil and perhaps meet one of the estate family members.

Mas de la Dame

Vincent Van Gogh once painted Mas de la Dame, in a work once featured at the Metropolitan Museum in New York. The likeness now appears on certain bottles of Mas de la Dame wine. Visit and taste wine and olive oil in this family-run, historic cellar.

Chateau d’Estoublonaop-les-baux-de-provence-wines

Pop into the Chateau’s boutique to purchase wine and tasty gourmet and local treats. A family friendly self-guided walking tour leads through the native habitat as well as the grape and olive growing culture. Enjoy an exquisite dinner at Bistro Mogador (weekday dinner July and August only), the on-site restaurant.

After dinner, spend the evening in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, a town rich with stone, light and history that leaps back many years to Gallo-Roman times. The layout of the town still bears the shape of a protective circle, and the remains of a 14th century wall (including distinctive portes) still welcome residents as they stroll through town. Plane (platane in French) trees line routes leading into town, many planted by Romans to distinguish travel lines.

plane trees of provence

Saint-Rémy-de-Provence is inviting for luxury and appeals to ancient artistic urges. Vincent Van Gogh still lives through nearby environs which exhibit the colors, nature strokes, sky and stone that he painted until the end of his life.

luxe provence hotel de tourrel

Luxury hotels in and around Saint-Rémy-de-Provence are a curated delight. Consider booking at Hotel de Tourrel (recently featured), l’Oustau Baumanière les Baux de Provence, Domaine de Manville or our favorite, Chateau des Alpilles (below). Discover quintessential “Luxe Provence” from its storybook chateau, luxury appointed rooms… to the welcoming staff (read more about my love affair with this fabulous place here) for a truly restful and pampering overnight between vineyard visits. If you cannot nab a room at the chateau, you can also opt for a lovely relaxed lunch poolside featuring fresh fish, grilled local meats and Mediterranean cuisine during the summer months.

chateau-des-alpilles-saint-remy

Saturday

Linger over breakfast at your hotel before packing up the car to head to the village of Les Baux de-Provence. This village welcomes many visitors each year because it is absolutely unique in natural setting as well as its history as a Provençal stronghold dating back to the 10th century. Carved and re-carved out of the bauxite hills, the village is visually stunning and presents a glorious view of the surrounding vineyards and Alpilles Mountains. A stop at the nearby Les Carriere des Lumieres is a stirring and imaginative distinction set aside exclusively for visitors to this area. Nothing else like it exists! Continue the day by tasting wine from the vineyards just observed from above.
les baux de provence wine tasting

Domaine Guilbert

Located on the road out of Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, Domaine Guilbert is the smallest domaine in the appellation. The domaine’s mas (the southern French term for a country house, typically made of stone) and cellar is situated around lavender, cypress and olive trees; a natural expression of the region.

Château Dalmeran

Château Dalmeran offers cooking and wine tasting classes at their château where olive groves and vineyards grow. Take home your own bottle of Château Dalmeran Red, a cellar-worthy blend of Grenache, Syrah and Cabernet-Sauvignon aged in oak for 24 months and sold 5 years after harvest.

Mas Sainte Berthe

The stony vineyards and welcoming tasting room of Mas Sainte Berthe rest at the foot of Les Baux de-Provence village. After tasting or purchasing from their set of red, white and rosé wines, Mas Sainte Berte invites visitors for a walk through the property. Get cameras ready for a unique view of the village from the vines.

Domaine des Terres Blanches

Domaine de Terres Blanches is located along a gravel road, which eventually leads to vines and onward to the tasting room. The estate offers promenades around the property, which is directly in the shadow of the Alpilles Mountains. The estate utilizes “BioActive” farming methods, thus leaving much of the surrounding natural, an excellent spot to connect with the native essence of the area. The wines here are lovely, from bright and delightful whites and rosés to fragrant reds.

Château Romanin

Recently completed, the estate’s chai is exquisitely modeled after a cathedral, carved into the native rock. The tasting room is just as beautiful, with soothing wood and metals in custom décor. Taste or buy from their lineup of wines in a luxurious setting.

After a day of walks, wine and sightseeing spend and evening in the hotel’s piscine followed by a late dinner in town. Maison Drouot, Bistrot du Paradou and L’Estagnol make lovely choices for gastronomique, locally-sourced menus. (see earlier article here for more)

baumeniere

Two estates, Domaine Hauvette and L’Affectif don’t run a tasting shop, but have wine for sale through other methods. L’Affectif is the creation of Jean-André Charial, founder of l’Oustau Baumanière (mentioned above). Jean-André’s vineyard is located at Domaine de Lauzières where Jean-André produces 8 000 bottles of L’Affectif, his own biodynamic wine. For those interested in fine cuisine, this Michelin-starred chef offers personable cooking classes on Saturday mornings throughout the season at l’Oustau Baumanière with one coming up this weekend.

Another estate of note, Domaine de Trevallon, is an important part of the regional winemaking story. Founder Eloi Dürrbach planted his first vineyard in the Alpilles in 1973. Since then he’s been a groundbreaker for authentic, sustainable and innovative Alpilles winemaking. To preserve his estate’s ability to make wine without appellation restrictions, the estate is not a member of the AOP. Still, these wines reflect the region through landmark methods and flavors and play a significant role Alpilles winemaking.

5 Les Baux de-Provence AOP Wines for Summer Meal Pairings

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With so much lovely wine to choose from, it could be a hard decision when it comes to purchasing wine to enjoy during a Provençal summer. May we suggest a few bottles?

Domaine de Lauziers Equinoxe 2015 Rosé

Powder pink in color, this wine opens with “basil-scented strawberry notes” leading into citrus aromas. Balanced in profile and acidity, the winemaker suggests pairing with Mediterranean Bluefin tuna, small meat-stuffed vegetables or a strawberry, citrus fruit and herb soup. 90% Grenache Noir, 5% Counoise and 5% Mourvèdre.

Chateau Romanin AOP Les Baux-de-Provence 2015 Rosé

Pale pink and delicate, this wine offers a balanced and complex profile to accompany the flavors of meal. The winemaker recommends pairing with mixed summer salads, seafood and fruit salads. Grenache, Counoise, Syrah and Mourvèdre.

Domaine des Terres Blanches Les Baux-de-Provence AOP Blanc 2014

Intense yet clean, crisp and “slightly effervescent” this wine can be enjoyed now or cellared for up to eight years. Pascal Leonetti, Best Sommelier in France 2006, sommelier at the Auberge de l’ill (three Michelin stars) offers the following pairing suggestions: “salad of scampi fried in olive oil, or Japanese cuisine, smoked salmon maki. Provençal goat’s cheeses, such as matured Banon, are also a good match.” Rolle, Grenache Blanc, Clairette, Marsanne, Ugni Blanc, Roussane and Viognier.

Château d’Estoublon 2015 Rosé

Aromatic and expressive of the region, this well-rounded wine with candy jar flavors is perfect to sip by the pool or with a meal. Pair with a plate of almonds, goat cheese and a baguette or with a summer meal of greens and a lightly seasoned roast chicken. 60% Grenache, 20% Syrah and 20% Mourvèdre.

Domaine de la Vallounge Cuvée Garrigues 2015 AOP Baux de Provence

Lively and fresh, this well-balanced bottle exhibits citrus and white fruit flavors. Lovely as a pre-meal drink or with a menu of grilled fish and vegetables or salads dressed in a local olive oil. 60% Grenache, 40% Cinsault.

 

 

Guest Post written by: Jill Barth

jillbarth

We are very excited to introduce guest author, blogger and Provence wine expert, Jill Barth. Jill is a wine writer and journalist based in the US who frequently travels to Provence. She blogs at L’occasion and is a certified Provence Wine Master. 

Visit her on Instagram and twitter as @jillbarth and on Facebook as L’occasion. (Originally posted June 10, 2016 with updates August 8, 2017.)

Lifestyle & Accessories

This Just In…Our Cassis Linen Dress

August 4, 2017
luxe provence resort wear

Celebrate the Good Life and wrap yourself up in our elegant, chic Cassis Linen Dress in Crisp White… Now available in our boutique for a limited time, while supplies last.

The first release from our Luxe Provence Resort Wear collection, which features high-quality natural fabrics designed in Provence. Each collection reflects the relaxed, elegant chic South of France Lifestyle. Members of our new luxury Mediterranean Gold Subscription will receive avant-première pieces made “sur mesure” from upcoming collections paired with luxury accessories and artisanal objects curated throughout the Mediterranean, along with special VIP discounts to the Luxe Provence Lifestyle line all-year long.

Shop the Dress or Subscribe to our new Mediterranean Gold Subscription today to receive the Luxe Provence Lifestyle delivered to your doorstep.

 

Artisans of Provence, Behind The Curation, Designed In Provence

In the Atelier: Aurore Pélisson, Our Autumn Artisan of Provence

July 24, 2017
aurore pelissan

This season’s featured Provence Artisan comes from the historic city of Avignon. We are pleased to announce a fabulous collaboration is underway featuring the textile artist, Aurore Pélisson of Hape, for each of our Luxe Provence Autumn curations.

aurore pelisson hape silk seriegraphie

Aurore Pélisson graduated from the École Nationale des Beaux-Arts in Lyon, France in 2009, specializing in textile design. Upon graduation, Aurore moved to London, where she worked on several high-profile artistic collaborations, including an installation for the Hackney Wicked Festival of contemporary art.

In 2011, she returned to her birthplace in Provence of Avignon. She was asked to exhibit her large format silk textiles in the historic Eglise du Couvent des Celestins at the Parcours de l’Art in 2013. The Celestine Church is located in Corps-Saints Square and was constructed under the orders of Clement VII in 1389. In parallel, she also launched her own brand, HAPE, with the mission of designing and creating unique textile pieces of art working with natural methods, dyes and materials.

We will feature one of Aurore’s couture silk pieces in our upcoming Autumn Luxe Provence curations. We went behind-the-scenes with Aurore this week in her Avignon atelier to discover more about her design process, inspiration and methods on how she creates her beautiful silk works of art.

All of the color dyes Aurore uses for her textile art is made from plant roots, leaves and even pomegranates from her grandmother’s Provence garden. Her beautifully organic, patterned prints are created by impressing the elements themselves into the carefully tinted fabric. For example, the reddish colors and patterns (picture above and below) were created from the roots of the garance plant, a pesky and sticky Provence weed that she integrates into her design. Truly a stunning example of finding the beauty in everyday living things.

Part of our passion is to discover and promote local talented artisans like Aurore, and integrate sustainable design practices into our curations and Luxe Provence product lines to share with you. We hope you are as excited as we are to discover Aurore’s exclusively created silk creations in our Luxe Provence Autumn season curations.


We will feature one of Aurore’s couture silk tunique pieces as a hero option in our new V1: Mediterranean Gold: Climb Aboard curation, our latest subscription featuring a resort wear inspired collection. Or receive one of her exclusively created surprise home textile pieces available in our V9: Autumn Impressions – Luxe Provence Blush Subscription. Two opportunities to experience the beautiful and painterly world of silk textile design by this talented Provence Artisan and Designer.

Be sure to order your curation quickly, last season’s V8 limited edition collection sold out very quickly!