Domaine de Trévallon 2017 Trévallon Rouge, IGP des Alpilles, France

Domaine de Trévallon 2017 Trévallon Rouge, IGP des Alpilles, France

Domaine de Trévallon

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Domaine de Trévallon 2017 Trévallon Rouge, IGP des Alpilles, France

  • Winemaker: Eloi, Floriane, and Antoine Dürrbach
  • Varieties: 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 50% Syrah
  • Farming: Organic Certified
  • Terroir: Thirty year-old vines grown in the Trevallon Valley at the base of the rocky walls of the Alpilles mountain range. North-facing toward the Alpilles range. Soils are limestone, very rocky. The Durbach family plows to encourage the roots of the vines to plunge deeper into the soil for water and nutrients, and they believe in pruning short, which not only reduces the yields but extends the life of the plant by 20 to 50 years.
  • Vinification: Whole cluster, wild yeast fermentation. The wine undergoes regular punch-downs and pump-overs of the cap before extended aging.
  • Aging: Aged for 24 months in foudres.
  • Scores: 95 Points, Vinous: The 2017 Alpilles Rouge is flat-out delicious. Ripe, plummy and forward, the 2017 offers tremendous immediacy. If I didn’t know how well Trévallon ages, I would be tempted to set an earlier drinking window, but the best is clearly yet to come. Next to other vintages that display a good bit of ripeness, the 2017 remains medium in body and silky. Sweet red berry fruit, flowers, cedar and earthy notes lead into the vibrant, translucent finish. I hope I can capture just how captivating the 2017 is.

 Bottle Club Notes, Jan 2021:

Located about a 30-minute drive south of Avignon, tucked into the northern slopes of the Alpilles mountain range, Domaine de Trévallon (Tre Vallon-- three valleys) is both very traditional and not at all traditional at the same time. In the mid 20th century, French textile artist Jacqueline de la Baume Dürrbach was commissioned by Nelson Rockefeller to create a tapestry of Picasso's Guernica. She and her husband René, a sculptor and painter, used the money from the tapestry sale to purchase an estate at the foot of Provence's jagged, toothy peaks of the Massif Alpilles. Years later, it was their son, Eloi Dürrbach, who (with nearly no agricultural or viticultural experience) began planting vines and olive groves in the area of Les Baux de Provence in 1973.

From the start, Eloi knew that he wanted the wines to be true to the land’s traditions and history. At the time though, and still today, Provence was known for producing deeply powerful red wines made mostly from Mourvedre, not Cabernet Sauvignon, which the region had been famous for in pre-phylloxera times. As a nod to those traditions, Eloi decided to plant his land to 50/50 Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. Cleverly, he utilized his northern-facing slopes to protect the vines from over-sunning, and began bottling his organically-farmed, natural wines using 100% whole cluster and native yeast fermentation.

In 1993, twenty years after Elio established Trévallon, the AOC legislation began allowing a maximum of 20% Cabernet Sauvignon to be included in Les Baux de Provence AOC bottlings. But wanting to remain true to his vision, Elio famously decided to forego the appellation-designate bottling, and today he still continues to bottle his wines as only ‘IGP Alpilles Rouges’, a level below AOC-designate status.

These wines are infamously structured and ageworthy. In addition to the natural acidity and tannin that the pure limestone soils provide in the wine, regular punch-downs and pump-overs of the cap before 24 months of aging in foudre create wines that are often nearly undrinkable in their youth. However, the patient cellarer reaps the rewards-- these wines can be some of Provence’s most compelling with 15-30 years of aging. Although the 2017 vintage from Trévallon has been reviewed to be delicious now, take it from the experienced Trévallon-lover to tell you how outstanding they become with age. The crunchy red and black fruits turn perfumed and floral, with the scrubland herbs and botanicals becoming more pronounced with each passing year of age. This is unlike any Cabernet or Syrah you will have ever had, making it atypical and unique, but properly an homage to turn of the century winemaking in Provence.

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