At the end of a long day at Mendoza’s Nieto Senetiner, my friends and I toasted a beautiful evening and the long-term partnership between viticulturalist Tomas Hughes and winemaker Roberto Gonzalez, who have been making wine together for over twenty years. We’d tasted many of their “children” — beautiful malbecs and a vertical of the best bonarda I’ve ever had — and finished the night with a lovely rosé sparkling wine, a pinot noir with a touch of malbec, topped with a bit of grappa in the bottle. Salud!
When I visited the Chêne Bleu estate in June 2013, I was deeply impressed by the care and precision that had gone into every aspect of restoring the property, including the house and its surroundings. Visitors to the area can actually rent out rooms or the entire house for periods of time (a weekly minimum during high season) for a relaxing, elegant, and deeply restorative experience, high above Provence.
Available for rent by room or for the entire house
Chemin de La Verrière, Crestet, France
It was a gorgeous day in early summer when I visited the small wine producer Chêne Bleu, based on the edge of the southern Rhône and the Côteaux de Provence in the south of France. Getting to the winery at La Verrière, located atop a mountain amongst the trees of the Dentelles de Montmirail, is easier said than done: Our GPS couldn’t find the address, so we had to do it the old-fashioned way, winding along narrow roads above the town of Crestet, eyes open for small signs and roadside markers, praying we were going in the right direction as we passed by forests and hiking trails until we finally came upon the beautifully restored ninth-century estate, high above the Rhône river valley. Continue reading