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Saturday, February 22, 2014


Ode to Provence as inspired by reading Peter Mayle's "A Year in Provence."
Chateau La Canorgue (above) is in the famed Cotes Du Luberon region.
--Château la Canorgue, route du Pont Julien, 84480 Bonnieux (tel. 04-90-75-81-01; You might recognize this handsome château from Ridley Scott's 2006 romantic comedy A Good Year, a movie based on the excellent writing of Brit ex-Pat Peter Mayle, who now lives in Provence.

--Château de Beaucastel, 84350 Courthézon (tel. 04-90-70-41-00; The Perrin brothers' vineyard is one of the top estates in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. But it's unusual in that it grows all 13 varieties of grape allowed within the Châteauneuf-du-Pape appellation. You can taste 10 vintages of their grand vin Château de Beaucastel, among many others, by appointment only.

--Château de Simone, 13590 Meyreuil (tel. 04-42-66-92-58; This well-respected vintner lies less than .5km (1/3 mile) north of Aix-en-Provence. The vineyards surround a small 18th-century palace that might have been transported unchanged from La Belle du bois dormant. You can't visit the interior, but you can buy bottles of the recent crops of reds, rosés, and whites.

--Château de Calissanne, R.D. 10, 13680 Lançon-de-Provence (tel. 04-90-42-63-03; On the premises is a substantial 18th-century white-stone manor house sporting very old terra-cotta tiles and a sense of the ancien régime. Even older is the Gallo-Roman oppidum Constantine, a sprawling ruined fortress that you can visit if you obtain a special pass from the sales staff. The white, rosé, and red Côteaux d'Aix-en-Provence and the two grades of olive oil produced by the property are sold in an outbuilding. Advance reservations are vital.

--Château d'Aquéria, Route de Roquemaure, 30126 Tavel (tel. 04-66-50-04-56; Wines produced near the small Languedoc village of Tavel are considered some of the finest rosés in the world, which is not surprising considering this is where rosé was first created. An 18th-century château on the premises can be viewed only from the outside, and cellars and wine shops sell bottles of the famous pink wine.

--Domaine de Fontavin, 1468 rte. de la Plaine, 84350 Courthézon (tel. 04-90-70-72-14; Set 10km (6 miles) north of Carpentras, this is one of the leading producers of the heady, sweet dessert wine Muscat des Beaumes de Venise. As the organization here dates only from 1989, there's nothing particularly noteworthy in terms of architecture on-site. But oenophiles appreciate its proximity to some of the most legendary grapevines in the French-speaking world.

--Château la Siroque. Jean-Pierre Margan and his family belong to one of a growing number of winemakers that work on strictly organic principles, forbidding the use of chemicals. You can buy the award-winning Côtes du Luberon reds, whites, and rosés directly from the château, which is on the D36 just north of Bonnieux, but some advance warning is appreciated.

--Château de Pibarnon, 410 chemin de la Croix des Signaux, 83740 La Cadière d'Azur (tel. 04-94-90-12-73; Some of the best of the rich red Bandol wines are produced here in an amphitheater of vineyards on top of the Colline du Télégraphe. The views are as seductive as the award-winning reds and rosés produced by Henri and Catherine de Saint-Victor and their family. Tastings are available Monday to Saturday (except during lunch), but advance warning is always welcome.

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