In 1987, in his introduction to Provence wines in The Wines of the Rhône Valley and Provence, legendary wine critic Robert Parker described the newly created Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence appellation in four sentences, including: “Two of Provence’s greatest red wines are made here, the Domaine de Trévallon and Château Vignelaure.” Beyond the great red wines to which Parker refers, the history of these two unique estates is intertwined in some very interesting ways.
From their first vintages—1970 at Château Vignelaure and the mid-1970s at Domaine de Trévallon—global recognition for their respective outstanding, age-worthy reds seemed within reach. Separated by about 100 kilometers, the proprietors shared a passion for Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah that would bring them together and, by all rights, should have launched them on parallel paths to stardom in the wine world. Domaine Trévallon’s ascendancy has been successful—their red wines continue to be revered around the world—but Château Vignelaure’s steady rise to long-term international acclaim faltered.
A recent visit to Château Vignelaure, however, revealed the estate is back on course. In the words of Vignelaure Œoenologue Philippe Bru: “Vignelaure was on top for its reds 30 years ago and now it’s back,” adding with understandable satisfaction, that rosés and whites are now also produced [...]