- Domaine de Trévallon lies in the limestone soils of Provence's Alpilles, an iconic property that is as striking as it is revered.
- Eloi Dürrbach began planting vines on this property, owned by his father, artist René, in the early 1970s.
- Eloi spent the next fifty years developing the reputation of this iconoclastic domaine, planting the Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah that would define its inimitable style.
- With changing appellation rules, Eloi never wavered from his convictions, bottling his cult-classic wine as a Vin de Pays rather than compromise its cuvée.
- With the passing of Eloi in 2021, his wife Floriane and children Ostiane and Antoine continue to employ his philosophy of minimal intervention: "The less you do, the better the wine!"
Carved in to northern slopes of Provence's Alpilles are the spectacularly beautiful vineyards of Domaine de Trévallon. The vines are planted into the hillsides' steep, chalky, white limestone soil, making the mountains that protect them look as if they are always covered in snow.
René Dürrbach purchased this estate and farmhouse in Saint-Etienne-du-Grès, in the Bouches-du-Rhône, for his family in 1955, as its idyllic beauty inspired his painting. René was part of a circle of painters that included Pablo Picasso, Fernand Léger and Albert Gleizes. While René had always thought the estate would be a great place to make wine, it was not until the early 1970s that his son, 23-year-old Eloi, began blasting the mountains and planting his vines. He planted Cabernet Sauvignon, which was rare outside Bordeaux. Grown here, the grape is very spicy, with notes of cinnamon and pepper; its tannins are perfectly mellowed by the region's late-harvest Syrah.
Eloi produced his first Trévallon wine from the 1976 harvest. He quickly gained a reputation among the top restaurateurs and sommeliers across France, who clamored for these intoxicatingly unique wines from this unique terroir. An AOC appellation was created for the region in 1985, and in 1991, regulations for Les Baux-de-Provence appellation were changed, with a decree that wines here could contain no more than 20 percent Cabernet Sauvignon. Eloi refused to change his blend or sacrifice his quality, and Domaine de Trévallon was downgraded to a “Vin de Pays” in 1993. Undeterred, Eloi kept growing his business, cultivating a cult-like following among oenophiles that continues to this day.
Once you taste this distinctive wine, it is easy to understand why no one cares about its classification, as there is no other wine in the world quite like it. The vineyard's elevation tempers the heat of Provence, and the cool climate helps create fresh, bright wines boasting high acidity and floral notes, with Cabernet Sauvignon providing structure and firm texture. Like great Bordeaux, these wines age exceptionally well. As a lasting tribute, each Domaine de Trévallon label features the artwork of its visionary founder, René Dürrbach.
In addition to the famous red, Trévallon produces one white, a blend of Roussanne, Marsanne and Chardonnay. It is rich and weighty, redolent of honey and verbena. They also produce wonderful small-batch olive oils from fruit harvested each year when the wines are finished. With the passing of Eloi in 2021, his wife Floriane and children Ostiane and Antoine continue to employ his philosophy of minimal intervention: ""The less you do, the better the wine!""