Provence Top 5
If you, like us, are feeling a trip to Provence this summer, listen up: Tom Harrow, our longtime go-to wine man and co-founder of Honest Grapes, has given us an insider list.
UJ: What’s your favourite hotel?
TH: There are lots of pretty pricey options but I really enjoy La Chèvre d’Or in Eze. It’s remote and the scenery is just incredible. Sipping a cold glass of rosé, on the castle terrace enjoying the view over Cap Ferrat is my happy place.
UJ: What are your top three vineyards?
TH: If I had to choose…
Chêne Bleu in Crestet – La Verriere is the most remarkable spot, overlooking Mont de Ventoux and sufficiently elevated, it’s where a number of appellations meet. They also run amazing, immersive wine “Boot Camps” their own red and white blends are absolutely stunning and raise the bar very high for the region.
Château La Coste – this famous estate near Le Puy-Ste-Réparade in Aix not only makes sublime rosé but has an extraordinary collection of modern art and architecture to enjoy, beautiful rooms and a fabulous restaurant by Francis Mallmann.
Headed up by (former US Director of Moët/Dom Pérignon) Donae Burston, La Fête de Rosé is a timely project aimed to appeal to adventurous multicultural wine lovers. The grapes are from the oldest vineyard on the St Tropez peninsula and a percentage of proceeds goes toward providing travel experiences for underprivileged youths.
NB – all the above practice various degrees of sustainable, organic, or biodynamic viticulture.
UJ: What is your favourite restaurant?
TH: Café de la Place – this gloriously quirky spot off the village square in St-Rémy has an eclectic patchwork of furniture and furnishings, a simple but delicious menu and really good and good value wine list – with a number of surprising new additions each time you go.
UJ: Fly, train or drive?
TH: I’d say get a cheap flight to Marseille, spend a night in this fabulous, underrated city then hire a car and off you go exploring. Otherwise – private jet to Cannes and then helicopter shuttle to Monaco!
UJ: When is the best time of year to visit?
TH: Over the Monaco Yacht Show as it’s tremendous fun – exhausting and utterly crazy but it’s great catching up with regulars and if you like boats and glamour, unmissable (at least once). Definitely worth booking an Airbnb as even the dreariest hotels charge like the Light Brigade during the week of the show. Otherwise late spring or harvest time are the best times to visit, when the region is a little cooler and less touristy.
UJ: Any news you want to tell us about at Honest Grapes?
TH: This season we’ve started stocking our friend Jonathan Maltus’ new rosé – Pezat. It’s a lovely, inexpensive Provencal pink but made by one of the best winemakers in St Emilion – which adds a touch of Bordeaux class!
We’ll probably show it off in one of our popular Wine Therapy Zoom tastings this summer.