Vines of La Citadelle, with Ménebres in the distance


Merci mór to Mrs Tyrrell of the Wine Store who first alerted me to the treasures of the Luberon.

The Luberon is a mountain range and associated valleys in the middle of Provence in the south of France. It is very well known in these islands largely because of the writings of Peter Mayle.

Lourmarin was among the villages he featured and one of his books was filmed by Ridley Scott; the film was called A Good Year and starred Russell Crowe. It was shot in the Luberon and some of the scenes, including the cafe ones, were filmed in Lacoste, another of the many picturesque hilltop villages in the region.

The Luberon deserves to be better known here for its wines and the Tyrrells at The Wine Store have been pushing the cause.

I was down that way last summer and made a beeline for La Citadelle, one of the top producers in the area and one of the Wine Store’s suppliers. First stop was at the village of Ménebres, which overlooks the vineyards. Back down then after lunch and over the road to La Citadelle.

First we made a tour of the Corkscrew Museum  in the winery. Quite a fascinating trip back in time. All kinds of corkscrews here, some small, some very big and a few very sexy ones.

Dragged myself away to the tasting counter and went off very happy with a selection of reds, ranging from the basic Le Chataignier through Les Artemes to the top of the range Gouverneur Saint Auban.

Gouverneur Saint Auban 2006, AOC Cotes de Luberon, 14%.

Colour is a very dark red with an intense nose of blackcurrant . It is an elegant fruity wine, full bodied with the tannins and flavours giving a very smooth result indeed. Class in a bottle. The blend is 85% Syrah and 15% Grenache. It is produced from the oldest vines and has spent 12 months in oak.

Les Artemes 2007, AOC Cotes de Luberon, 14.5%.

Again a very dark red with a strong fruit nose. It is full bodied, rich and generous, spicy and fruity, made from older traditional vines. The blend is Syrah (70%), Grenache (25) and Carignan (5). Very enjoyable indeed.