In the heart of the Massif de l’Esterel, overlooking the plains of the Var, the bays of Saint Raphael and Saint Tropez, the unique Terres Destel vineyard has unveiled its new vintage.
As jealously guarded from strollers’ gaze, the estate can be discovered up a small dirt road, after leaving the famous golf courses road leading straight to the wild and beautiful Mediterranean beaches of the Var in the Gulf of Agay.
After a few kilometers, the hillside vineyards appear, perfectly aligned on the sides of a massif of volcanic rock. An old earth hundreds of millions of years old, the sun, water from the sky and the hand of man have united to give vigorous shoots, branches loaded with buds swollen with sap, offering themselves to the rays of Provence sun and toyed by the Mediterranean winds. In the soft air of a sunny morning foreboding a beautiful bouquet of aromatic discovery, our journey ends on the highest point of a hill with red earth where a beautiful large stone farmhouse finally catch our eye: we arrived at the Domaine Terres d’Estel.
Strength and refinement
We were immediately greeted by Philippe Polette, the owner and creator of Terres Destel, a native of Auvergne, land of volcanoes, who fell in love with this unique site in 2009. This lover of fine wines and terroirs explains with pride that Terres Destel is the only vineyard located in the town of Saint Raphael and that the production obtained the Côtes de Provence appellation. On this area previously owned by Michael Schumacher – just an anecdote – he found a land that combines the strength of mineral and the refinement of vegetal aromas of Provence he loves so much. Then he led us to a terrace sheltered by a fragrant wisteria where, on a wooden table, enthroned beautiful bottles topped with a cap designed to protect the bouquet of the wine, engraved with the name of the domain.
A passion for hard work
Philippe Polette introduced us the men and women who, like him, share the same passion for the fruit of hard work and respect of the exceptional environment: enologist Georges Cisson, Maître de Chai Stephan Dessolis, head of culture Pierre Philibert and wine engineer Mr. Mazenot.
All explained with passion their work in the estate, ranging from the choice of varieties for the identity of the wine, grapes picking done manually, to the creation of caves and the ambition to obtain a qualitative orientation. A successful bet as the domaine has won the gold medal at the Agricultural Show in Paris in 2013 with the vintage Estelle and the silver medal in Saint Tropez in 2013.
Jacques Gantié from Guide Gantié, has recalled that Jacques Dupont, a prominent journalist specializing in wine, had put the honourable rating score of 14 out of 20 for the first crus of the vineyard.
The most aromatic grape varieties
After visiting the wine cellars, finally came the moment of tasting. This new vintage proved to be all in character and sensuality due to its birth in the exceptional terroir covered with pozzolan, this red and friable volcanic rock which gives the different wines produced finesse and minerality. Cuvée Petite Raphaelle (white and rosé), Cuvée Prémium (white and rosé), Cuvée Estelle (rosé) and Cuvée Black or White (red).
Terres Destel favored the most aromatic grape varieties of Côtes de Provence. Those who, married with the volcanic soil (the Esterel is an extinct volcano) reveal all the sensuality of wines of the estate.
The rosé wines are made of Grenache for its finesse and intensity, Cinsault for the lightness of its aromas and of Syrah, that brings its fabulous notes of red fruits.
The reds are the result of a blend of Syrah for its intense aroma and fragrance of violets and Cabernet Sauvignon for its tannic support and aromatic diversity.
Finally, white wines are the result of a winemaking of Rolle or Vermentino which, harvested at good maturity, reveals its citrus and tropical fruit aromas.
Since its inception 35 years ago, the harvest of grapes of the estate went to other winegrowers until Philippe Polette’s arrival, who acquired it in 2010 and built the cellar. The reorganization of the vineyard then goes on 6.5 hectares to reach in the end 11 hectares in 2014. After purchasing the domain, Philippe Polette has marketed his wines in the Var and the Alpes Maritimes. Terres d’Estel owes its name to the association of names “Esterel”, like the massif, and Estelle, the name of the owner’s daughter.
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