In the heart of Provence’s beautiful countryside sits Domaine de la Verriere. Once a medieval priory, the estate has since been lovingly restored and transformed into a villa with its working winery, Chêne Bleu.
Wrapped in the scenic surrounding landscapes, the property provides the most relaxing of getaways for any wine and nature lover. The magnificent infinity pool is the place to soak up the sun on those warm Provence summer days, or a visit to the spa is the way to pamper yourself. On top of all this there is a huge range of activities and events to choose from including tennis, beekeeping and olive farming, musical performances, tutored wine tastings, cooking classes, treasure hunts and much more.
For the last 10 years the owners, Xavier Rolet and his wife Nicole, have worked to create an impressive winery and consider it to be a shared project with anyone who visits. Their motto, “Non mihi, non tibi, sed nobis” means “Not mine, not yours, but ours” and signifies their enthusiasm in sharing their wines with the world.
You may have heard Xavier Rolet’s name before thanks to his stellar career in the world of finance. Having previously worked for Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse First Boston and Dresdner Kleinwort Benson, Xavier is now the CEO of the London Stock Exchange Group. However, beyond the financial industry, Xavier and Nicole’s interests extend well into the wine world. Their deep appreciation of nature, culture, wine and gastronomy have helped them to create the best wine experience for visiting guests at Chêne Bleu.
The project is very much a family affair, with Xavier’s sister, Bénédicte Gallucci and her husband Jean-Louis helping the Rolets build a beautiful family-run winery which welcomes guests all year round and at Chêne Bleu they take sustainability very seriously. Over the last twelve months in particular they have been stepping up their organic winemaking. The wines produced on-site are made through biodynamic principles and the amount of time and care that goes into each bottle is obvious to see.
The Financial Times reports that the Rolet family and their team pride themselves on doing things differently. Their controversial technique of aging Grenache in new oak barrels is a practice which producers in nearby Châteauneuf have turned their noses up at. However, this hasn’t put the family off, and their abundance of awards speak volumes.
Their Chêne Bleu wines is a range of five wines which have received the highest praise: “The wines are exceptional in every sense of the word,” says Decanter’s Steven Spurrier.
On offer at the property is the most comprehensive, week-long wine course to help turn wine enthusiasts into wine pros. The course goes beyond the regular wine tasting course combining the prestigious WSET Level 2 Award curriculum with lectures and workshops, tastings of exceptional wines, hands-on activities in the winery and vineyard, and wonderful wine games.
Over the duration of the course, guests are taught by two of the top wine educators in the world: Clive Barlow, MW, whose impressive CV includes Chairman of Education at the world-renowned Institute of Masters of Wine, Panel Chair for the prestigious International Wine Challenge and Senior Judge for the Decanter Magazine competition, and Nick Dumergue, a regular judge at the Decanter World Wine Awards and International Wine Challenge in London and who has taught at the distinguished Wine Institute of Rome.