Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Chateau Trinquevedel, Tavel, France

Our favorite summer wines at Bistro Des Copains, the small French bistro I co-own in Occidental, California, are rosé wines from the South of France. These rosé wines are bone dry, vibrant, delicious and easy to drink.

Shirley and I love love rosé wines. We don't think there is anything much better than sitting on the terrace of our home in Sablet on a sunny day or for that matter on our patio in California, sipping a glass of well-made rosé wine.

Tavel, a small village located in the Department of Gard in Languedoc-Roussillon is reknown for its production of rosé wines. The village is located about 46 kms from our home in Sablet, just west of the A9 autoroute. We have driven past the exit sign for Tavel many times but had never been to Tavel, so we decided to go one afternoon to explore and déguster - taste wine.

After driving around the village, I was glad we had come to taste wine as there was very little particularly pretty or charming about Tavel despite the sign indicating that Tavel is classified as Village Fleuri. This classification is a result of an annual competition set up to promote the development of green spaces in towns and villages across France.

A staple of the Avignon popes and favorite wine of Louis XIV and King Philippe le Bel, Tavel was the first Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC), designated for rosé. The AOC has stayed true to its roots and to carry the name Tavel on the label, the wine must be rosé.

A few years after receiving the AOC classification in 1936, the vignerons - winemakers of Tavel established the Tavel wine cooperative in 1939. At the present time, there are 946 hectares or 2,338 acres of vineyards under cultivation in the Tavel AOC.

After tasting various rosés at Les Vignerons de Tavel, we headed to Chateau Trinquevedel, a Tavel winery whose rosé wine has graced the wine list at Bistro Des Copains several times.

Chateau Trinquevedel is located on a small trail off the road to Nimes on the east side of the A9 autoroute. Chateau Trinquevedel is surrounded by 32 hectares or 79 acres of vineyards, all of which are located in the Tavel AOC. Chateau Trinquevedel only makes rosé wine.

Chateau Trinquevedel is currently under the direction of Guillaume Demoulin, who took over management of the winery in 2006. He is the 4th generation of the family to oversee the winery which was established in 1935.

The Chateau Trinquevedel vineyards are planted in acccordance with Tavel AOC regulations with Grenache Noir (44%), Cinsault (28%), Clairette (15%), Grenache Blanc (5%), Syrah (3%), Bouboulenc (3%) and Mourvedre (2%).

The terroir of Tavel is unique. The Chateau Trinquevedel vineyards are planted in sand with quartz round pebbles on the terraced hillside and in deep clay loam around the Chateau. Low rainfall, sunshine and summer heat along with the mistral wind produce rich and hearty fruit.

We were warmly greeted in the cave by Selene, wife of Guillaume.

She offered us tastings of 3 vintages of Chateau Trinquevedel traditional rosé wine. We started with the 2008 as it was the lightest of the wines, then moved to the 2009 which showed more red fruit and finished with the 2007 which had the most structure.

She explained that after being picked, grapes are sorted in the vineyard and at the winery. The grapes are put into barrels for maceration, which lasts from 12 to 48 hours. Then the juice of the grapes is bled off in the saignée method. After the juice is bled off, what remains is pressed.

After being pressed, all the juice is blended and transferred to concrete vats where the juice is allowed to ferment for approximately 20 days.

This method gives the rosé wines of Chateau Trinquevedel more color and structure than most other rosé wines meaning they can be enjoyed for a longer period of time, usually up to about three years.

The rosé wines of Chateau Trinquevedel are bottled in the longish shaped bottles with embossed T emblematic of the Tavel syndicate.

Shirley along with Lisi, Julia, Allison and Adam in the cave at Chateau Trinquevedel.


  1. Hi! I stumbled across your blog in my research about where to eat in Marseille for my trip next week. It's so difficult to find non-touristy reviews in English, so I was hoping you would have some valuable advice for me.

  2. Are you looking for suggestions only for Marseille or elsewhere in Provence?