Mettez du terroir dans vos idées cadeaux Domaine de la Navarre At the place called ‘Martins’, in the municipality of La Crau, a small road winds between vineyards, groves and thickets. Several kilometres of this path finally leads to our destination: a beautiful century-old school. Its back turned to the Maures Mountains, surrounded by vine planted hills, this large sun-colour building is the stronghold of la Navarre Foundation. Appearances are misleading. Despite its allure, the large building has not always been secular. Like the whole domain, a large farm of 215 hectares established in the 17th century, its history is indeed closely linked to that of the Church since Father Vincent inherited it in 1868 with the task of turning it into an orphanage. The site was soon placed under the authority of Don Bosco, a famous Torinese priest who, with the Salesian Congregation he founded in 1854, devoted his life to the education of children from the most disadvantaged backgrounds. Under the guidance of this holy man (canonized in 1934 by Pope Pius XI), Navarre became a place of education and training and it still is. The Foundation has been recognized as a public facility since 1977, and it welcomes teenagers, offering them academic courses and religious education. Those activities are funded in part by donations and the other by wine! La Navarre operates about 80 hectares of vineyards, classified for nearly two-thirds in the Côtes de Provence. Here Tibouren, Carignan, Syrah, Cinsault, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Cabernet, Sauvignon, Semillon, Ugni, Clairette and Rolle beneficiate from a favourable environment: the vineyard is nestled between hills covered by oaks and pines, in a south facing plain bordered by a river.  "We produce about 4,000 hectolitres per year, mostly rosé,” states Jacques Pellerin, the Secretary General for the Foundation. “Our goal is to expand the area under cultivation in order to increase production, while maintaining obviously a high level of quality for our reference vintages: Réservée and Prestige, (available in three colours), as well as our two red ‘vins de garde’: Roches and Festivités.”  The work of Don Bosco has good days ahead!  6.1025,43.196111111111,0 Château la Tour Saint Honoré Some domains cultivate discretion and sobriety, and La Tour Saint Honore Tour is one of them! Located on the outskirt of La Londe-les-Maures, the former property of the Marquis de Lordas stands off by its tower, which is a remnant of the old 18th-century castle. It once housed a wine press connected by terracotta pipes to tanks paved with glass tiles. Since 1988 Serge and Chantal Portal look after the 30-hectare vineyard. It’s a homecoming for him because as a child he was spending holidays here. Time passed and, like his grandfather and his father before him, he took over this domain with its pleasantly old-fashioned charm. Since, assisted by his wife, he is working to produce terroir wines with great character, “capricious and warm.” He is helped by a generous nature. Planted for most part on schist soils, the vineyard is located on three different sites: Les Borrels with veined quartz schist that produce very mineral juices, Notre Dame des Maures, a terroir that produces high quality white wine, and finally north, Le Haut-Pansard where shale and clay mix. But nature is not everything; men have to support it. First by pampering it: the château is under conversion to organic agriculture. Also by guiding it: after the cellar renovation and investment in modern equipment, the winemaker has modified grape varieties over the years by adding his personal touch. Here, he now grows Grenache, Cinsault and Tibouren to make rosé, Syrah, Mourvedre and Cabernet Sauvignon to produce red with a strong personality, and, finally, Rolle, Semillon and white Ugni for white wine. Primarily focused on rosés, the production of La Tour Saint-Honoré has three AOC cuvees: “Olivier”, which grapes are selected from the oldest vines, “TSH”, focused on the fruit and available in the three colours, and the “Sixtine” cuvee in rosé. 6.2605422222222,43.150379722222,0 Domaine Bouisse-Matteri Bruno Merle is a landless winemaker. He operates fifty hectare of vines in Hyeres, but none belongs to him. Over the years, he has, in fact, built his estate on seven rents. They are planted with the greatest varieties of Provence: Syrah, Grenache, Carignan, Cinsault and Rolle for whites or Tibouren, an old indigenous grape from which he draws an excellent single varietal rosé. If he is landless, Bruno Merle has roots. Behind him, there are ten generations of Occitan winemakers installed in the Corbières. Speak to him of the Revolt of the Beggars, and now he is going back in 1907 and tells you the wrath of the winemakers of the South as if he had lived it. For those who love wine and winemakers, this flame is rejoicing. If he is landless, Bruno Merle doesn’t lack experience. He has led a successful career on the side of Cellier des Dauphins, the giant of the Rhone Valley. He was the cellar master while Mariette, his wife, was in charge of export markets. After Languedoc and Côtes du Rhône, he wanted to discover the third largest Mediterranean vineyards: Provence. For ten years, he devoted himself to the revival of Domaine de la Navicelle, then owned by Isabelle Saurin, a descendant of William, the creator of the famous canned food company. She eventually sold her estate; Bruno and Mariette took this opportunity to look elsewhere. And elsewhere was to be home! In 1994, the couple rented a vineyard on the Hyères coast, which included a winery and 13 acres of vines. Therefore, Domaine de la Bouisse started its renaissance. Luckily, one day in 1997, a perfect stranger came to the cellar. He tasted the wines, enjoyed them and ordered right away three pallets for his employer, the President of the Republic! Our man was, in fact, the steward of the Elysée Palace! A few days later there was a new boost of fate: a journalist from the newspaper Var Matin stopped by chance at the cellar. He heard the Elysée story and published it. The reputation of the domain was launched. In 2000, the adventure continued with the acquisition of land on the road to Loubes, at ‘Matteri’, (a place known for the construction of a more modern winery with a large and bright sale cellar). The domain Bouisse-Matteri, therefore, attracts a faithful local clientele and more and more foreign visitors. If he is landless, Bruno Merle doesn’t lack talent. With his son Thomas, (who is already ensuring his succession in the cellar), he produces high quality wines; some rosés of course, we are indeed in Provence, but also some reds, like the Charles Brown vintage. There is also a 100% merlot with beautiful scents of red fruits; the Paradise vintage, velvet on the palate; the Jean-Joseph Bouis vintage, with its peppery nose, spicy, vanilla, its long finish, its aromatic complexity; the Harmony vintage, aged in oak barrels, a bouquet of violets and red fruits. It really is a beautiful winery! 6.1019444444444,43.113611111111,0 Cellier de la Crau For almost a century the Celliers de la Crau have welcomed the harvest gathered in the "Maurettes", a fertile valley nestled at the foot of Mount Fenouillet. Since its creation in 1912, this dynamic cooperative has grown with the joined forces of the Farlède and Sollies-Pont cellars. With 181 members, it now operates 370 hectares of vineyards spread over the municipalities of la Crau, Sollies-Pont, la Garde, Hyeres and le Pradet. Over the years, thanks to new members, the range of wines has broadened: divided equally between AOC Côtes de Provence and Vins de Pays du Var, the grapes grown on the alluvial deposits of the former bed of Gapeau currently total an annual production of 18 000 hectolitres— dominated by rosé (55%), followed by red (40%) and white (5%). With the continuous improvement of vinification, this impressive volume is now coupled with a consistent quality of production. The wine shop meets the same standards; recently renovated, beautifully arranged and unmistakable with its red facade, the welcoming store invites tasting. Nearly 200 wine lovers come here daily in search of the perfect wine. Les Celliers de La Crau indeed offers a classic Côtes de Provence: fruity or woody, a cool rosé, flowery with a long finish, as well as more atypical nectars with character such as "Tibourine". There is also "Les Vieux Ceps", a refined and complex wine, made from a selection of the best grapes. The local wines of the cuvee Poulen, issued from single grape varietals, add a range of pleasures. Grenache rosé is delicious, with lovely notes of strawberries. Its red is 100% Syrah and intensely fruity with a well-balanced strength. If you prefer suppleness, a cooler and easy wine: then Cabernet is ideal. There is certainly no shortage of choice! 6.0663738888889,43.145031111111,0