Tour the vineyards of Provence with the experts: Jamie Ivey and TV’s Knackered Mother – Helen McGinn.
Tour leader Jamie Ivey won the Gourmand Award Book of the Year on French wine for his travelogue – Extremely Pale Rosé. He has since written two more books on rosé, one on truffles and a guidebook to Provence.
Joining Jamie and the party for two days and one night will be UK wine celebrity Helen McGinn: drinks expert and international wine judge. She’s the author of The Knackered Mother’s Wine Club, an award-winning wine blog and book and has spent almost a decade sourcing wines around the world as a supermarket buyer. She’s now the drinks writer for the Daily Mail and regularly appears on television including BBC1’s Saturday Kitchen and ITV’s This Morning. Awards for her wine blog include Fortnum & Mason’s Online Drink Writer of the Year and Red Magazine’s Best Blogger. Her desert island wine would be a bottle of 1988 vintage champagne. Her desert island dish would not be left-over fish fingers.
The week gives participants the opportunity to visit some of Provence’s best wine producers. It is suitable for wine experts as well as enthusiasts, and offers the chance to meet winemakers and discover the full universe of quality wine being made in Provence. The itinerary also includes stops at some of the region’s major sights and cities. These stops offer a pause between wine tastings and serve to deepen participants understanding of Provence, and by association its wine.
|ARRIVAL LOCATION||Marseille Airport or Aix en Provence TGV|
|DEPARTURE LOCATION||Marseille Airport or Aix en Provence TGV|
Day 1: Sunday Arrival
Pick up by taxi or minibus (depending on numbers) at an agreed time from either Aix en Provence TGV or Marseille Marignane airport. You will be transferred to Chateau Constantin, located 1km outside the Luberon village of Lourmarin. The journey is an easy hour’s drive through picturesque countryside.
Upon arrival a small hamper of luxurious Provencal goodies awaits in your bedroom. The group will gather for a welcome dinner.
Day 2: Monday
The locals call the Luberon a corner of paradise. It’s not hard to understand why: – there are countless picturesque villages; numerous vineyards producing sumptuous wines; olive groves that stretch for miles; cherry orchards which produce snow storms of blossom in Spring and rolling mountains stretching away towards the Alps.
We will visit the corkscrew museum and enjoy a tasting at Domaine de La Citadelle near Menerbes before heading on to visit the village of Roussillon, famed for its red soil. Local legend has it that a jilted lover threw herself from a cliff and her blood stained the soil for miles around. On our way back to Lourmarin we will stop outside Bonnieux for a tasting at Chateau Canorgue, the setting for the Ridley Scott film “A Good Year” staring Russell Crowe.
Early evening Jamie will lead a rosé tasting of Provence’s finest pinks based on his three award winning books on the subject.
Day 3: Tuesday
Day 4: Wednesday
Day 5: Thursday
Next up is Avignon and one of the sights of Provence – the Palais des Papes. Built in under 40 years this gothic monolith inspires awe and reverence. Adding a touch of humour to the visit Provence Guru groups are advised to read Alphonse Daudet’s short story – The Pope’s Donkey, before the visit. It gives a wonderful insight into the world of the Avignon Popes.
In the afternoon we will head to Chateauneuf du Pape for a wine tasting and to explore the village.
Day 6: Friday
A tour of Provence would not be complete without taking in one of the region’s famous markets. Fortunately our home village Lourmarin hosts one of the largest and best Provencal markets. It’s the perfect opportunity to pick up some gifts to take home.
The afternoon is free. Guests can choose to relax by the pool, play tennis, go for an e-bike ride or take part in a Provencal cookery course. Two additional wine experiences are available : A tour and tasting of great wines from around the world at Domaine de La Cavale, and/or a tour of the cave of Rhone wine negociant Laurent Tardieu.
Day 7: Saturday
The last evening will begin with Provencal aperitifs such as pastis, rinquinquin and of course rosé. For those feeling sporty there will be a boule competition. Afterwards we will enjoy a BBQ before departure the following morning
All our groups are based at the Chateau Constantin winery 1km outside the village of Lourmarin.
Lourmarin is classed as one of France’s most beautiful villages. It is filled with shops, cafes, restaurants and art galleries and is enchanting place to spend time. It is located in the Luberon Regional Nature Park, in the heart of Provence, 30 minutes north of Aix en Provence.
The Chateau has 7 rooms all with ensuite bathrooms (although note 2 of the bedrooms, while they have their own shower/bath, share a toilet in the corridor). The Chateau has been recently refurbished to the highest standards. It has a swimming pool and tennis court and extensive grounds in which to relax. Guests staying in September will have the added bonus of watching the harvest in action. You can view a full gallery of pictures here: Chateau Constantin