This beautiful 28 hectares domaine sits above the Luberon Valley across from Bonnieux and Lacoste and benefits from its 250 meter elevation. Historically this estate was a one of the most relevant properties of King Rene of Provence in 1470 who established a permanent art glass exposition coming from Italy and hence giving the name to the estate (verre in French means glass). In 1969 Bernard Maubert fell in love with this privileged site and in 1985 his son Jacques joined him in this life long wine passion. Nowadays fifty-something Jacques and Veronique Maubert hand craft 7500 cases annually (90.000 bottles) while limiting exports to 20% of sales.
From vineyard management to bottling all the steps are meticolously followed by Jacques who is a classic demanding vigneron: «Viticulture is part of our family genes as we have been doing this traditional job in the last century».
After an internship in Châteauneuf-du-Pape and a beautiful hideaway in California, with its new established know how, Jacques finds the helm of the domaine, yet still practicing his father farming methods and combining them with modern techniques. Today, its 28 hectares are now converted to produce organic wine. Its range consists of 4 reds, 3 whites and 3 roses. Special mention deserves his rosé Domaine de la Verrière which is nationally wise praised by wine critics.
Established in 1973 (and known as Côtes du Ventoux AOC until 2008) this wine-growing AOC is located in the southeastern region of the Rhône valley where the wines are produced in 51 communes of the Vaucluse département along the lower slopes of the Ventoux mountain and at the foot of the Vaucluse Mountains. The neighbouring appellation of Côtes du Luberon AOC stretches along its southern border and is separated from it by the Cavalon river. The three main areas of the region, the Malaucène basin, the foothills of the Mont Ventoux to the east of Carpentras and to the north of Cavaillon are less ravaged by the Mistral due to some shelter afforded by the Ventoux – Vaucluse – Luberon mountain range. Archeological discoveries of wine making equipment have dated that wine has been produced in the area at least since around 30 AD. Red wine production dominates with 60% of the total, while famed local roses follow with 36% and white wines, definitely rare to find, with only 4%.
The estate vineyards consist of two different soils: while clay and limestone slopes, more or less stony, give way to structured wines with good concentration suitable for all the red wines, at the same time sandy soils intermixed with layers of clay are more suitable for wine production based on finesse, especially for white and rosé wines.
Jacques avoids to force unnaturally his vineyards and seeks only true and genuine terroir expression. Just to mention one sustainable long term practice, the soil is plowed in rotation with grass rays to limit erosion and, especially, the use of herbicides.
Rich in potassium compost are made with organic 100% natural fertilizer promoting micro biological life of the soil and vineyard health. Yields are limited in order to achieve vines competition, with short pruning, rigorous control budding in spring, and green harvesting in July if necessary.
The cellar itself was built in 1900, carved in a stone and it is still operating today, allowing perfect control temperature both for the vinification process and wines ageing. In 2000 new state of the art equipment increased quality levels in the facility especially by adding a separate barrel cellar and an air-conditioned bottle cellar for optimum storage.
In a nutshell Steep Hill imports 4 wines: one white wine, one rose, and two reds. The Ventoux White is elegant and surprisingly cool climate in taste with citrus and pine notes from Rousanne and the local clone of Vermentino (the same family grape cultivated in Liguria, Toscana and Sardegna in Italy, aka Rolle in Cotes de Provence) playing a relevant role in the blend.
The elegant, silky Ventoux Rose accounts for one third of production and sells out by August every year. The reds are over-achieving, structured wines more akin to Rhone Cru and coming from very old vines planted in unique red clay studded with limestone. This is a quality grower making great value wine year in and year out.
In a nutshell
- Who: Domaine de la Verriere
- Where: Ventoux, Goult
- What: Roussane, Vermentino, Clairette, Viogner, Grenache Blanc, Grenache Rouge, Cinsault, Syrah, Mourvedre, Carignan
- Hectares: 28
- Quantity: 90,000 bottles
- Plus: Very good quality price ratio wines