Monday, November 25, 2019

Wine tasting in Gigondas and a hike from Col de Cayron to the Dentelles de Montmirail

We are blessed to have a house in Sablet, France and live as locals several times a year. We love our location at the base of the Dentelles de Montmirail surrounded by vineyards as far as you can see. Nearby are several small villages, some known for their beauty and others renown for the wine produced in the village.

Sablet is located between Séguret, a village classified as a "Plus Beaux Village de France," to the north and Gigondas, a village renown for its red wine to the south. We think Gigondas is one of the prettiest of all Côtes du Rhône wine villages and one you should visit especially if you love red wine.

From the road, Gigondas seems little more than a cluster of stone houses set on a hillside with a church below the Dentelles de Montmirail Mountains overlooking vineyard covered slopes and valley below.

Gigondas Village

When you turn off for Gigondas, you follow the road up through the lower village, passing a succession of cafés and tasting rooms (caves) before arriving at Place Gabriel Andéol where the Mairie (town hall) and Caveau du Gigondas (wine growers cooperative), are located.

If you like red wine, plan to stop in at the Caveau du Gigondas (wine cooperative) where you can taste more than 100 different Gigondas wines from 80 wineries and buy them at the same price as at the winery.

Gigondas Town Hall

One of our favorite producers of Gigondas wine is Domaine la Bouïssière. We first became acquainted with this wine when we assembled our wine list for our now closed Bistro Des Copains, in Occidental, California. The tasting room is just a few steps from Place Gabriel Andéol.

Shirley at Domaine la Bouïssière Tasting Room

The Dentelles de Montmirail are short, steep mountains with a distinctive rocky ridge extending west geologically from Mont Ventoux which is located just to the east. When we go out onto the terrace off our bedroom in Sablet, we have a beautiful view of the Dentelles.

The name Dentelles, the French word for lace, refers to the jagged, rocky tops obtained by erosion, while Montmirail is derived from the Latin mons mirabilis meaning "admirable mountain" though the alternative connection with teeth, "dents" in French is equally good in my opinion.

The Dentelles de Montmirail mountain range is about 8 km (5 miles) long and runs from Vaison-la-Romaine on the north end to Beaumes-de-Venise on the south. The tallest peak of the Dentelles de Montmirail range is St-Amand, at 734 m (2,400 feet).

Dentelles de Montmirail

One day last fall, we decided to take the unsurfaced road up to Col de Cayron to get a closer look at the peaks of the Dentelles de Montmirail and see the views out over the vineyard covered Rhone valley.

One of the famous Gigondas vineyards high up over Gigondas at the foot of the Dentelles de Montmirail is seen in the picture below.

I should mention that Gigondas is a wine Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC) in the southern Rhône wine region of France. It is primarily a red wine region, with a very small amount of rosé wine produced. No white wines carry the Gigondas appellation at this time.

Gigondas Vineyard

The Col de Cayron is 396 m (1300 feet) high and in the center of the Dentelles de Montmirail principle peaks.

Dentelles de Montmirail from Overlook

A splendid view of the Rhone valley with Sablet in the foreground on the left and Séguret on the right against the hill. Séguret is classified as a Most Beautiful Village in France.

View from Overlook towards Sablet and Seguret

We hiked up a trail with steps, one of approximately 600 hiking trails in the Dentelles de Montmirail range, to a peak with great views and an overlook a little farther up for a photo together.

Shirley and I on the Overlook with Mont Ventoux in Distance

There are a many trails to hike up to and around the Dentelles de Montmirail. If you do, you will be rewarded with close up views of the peaks and magnificent views out over the Rhone valley. I am sure we will be making this hike again with grandchildren in tow the next time they come to Sablet.

If you are thinking about a trip to the South of France including spending time in Provence, we invite you to visit our website at Our house is available for rent by the week or more. You can reach us for further information at

1 comment:

  1. Fabulous! I love Domaine la Bouïssière - such great wines. And did you know that this year it is 50 years since the granting of AOC Gigondas? Time to celebrate