Chartreuse de Valbonne

AOC Côtes du Rhône

Hidden in wooded valleys on the northern limits of Provence, a stone’s throw from the world-renowned vineyards of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, the Chartreuse de Valbonne is an absolute jewel of France’s architectural and religious heritage.  The peace and beauty of the secluded location is utterly remarkable, and a walk through the surrounding vines offers unforgettable views of the exquisite buildings which are totally cut off from the outside world and exude an inescapable sense of history and tradition.

This was a Catholic monastery founded in the 13th century by the silent order of Carthusian monks, whose superior insisted on the remarkable colourful roofs that still exist today, covering an area of almost four acres! It is reputed to possess the largest cloisters in Europe but the monks, who planted vines and made wine for their own sustenance over many centuries, are now long gone.  The property eventually fell into disrepair until it received funding from a wealthy American benefactor in the 1920’s and the charity created then has since evolved into an ESAT, which produces the wine today.*

The vineyard is high enough to benefit from cool autumn nights which give freshness to the wines, and the climate is continental with Mediterranean influences.  A full range of red, white, rosé, sweet and sparkling wines is produced within the Côtes du Rhöne appellation from six grape varieties.

We launch with their delicious dry white Le Saut du Mulet, (the mule’s jump) named after one of the hilltops surrounding this gorgeous winery.  A typical blend of Roussanne, white Grenache and Viognier grown on steep, rocky, south-facing limestone slopes, it offers lovely, harmonious fruit flavours and a crisp refreshing finish, perfect for barbecued fish.

*This property is part of the Vertuvin group of wineries, representing many of France’s great wine regions, each one owned and managed by ESAT charities. These offer work to local mentally handicapped people within a protected environment, overseen by experienced industry professionals and dedicated care staff. By undertaking all the usual activities associated with wine production, from pruning to packaging, workers gain a variety of experiences and an invaluable sense of accomplishment, leading to a richer quality of life.

 

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