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Truffle Hunting in Provence at Les Pastras

TRUFFLE-HUNTING TOUR
 
Go behind the scenes of the world's most secretive business. Take a tour of a Provençal truffle plantation, learn how truffles are cultivated and truffle dogs are trained, and go on a hunt for France's elusive "black gold" with professional hunters who know all the tricks of the trade. 
 
You'll be regaled with stories of successes and sabotage, and learn to tell the difference between a real Provençal tuber melanosporum and its inferior Chinese counterparts. You'll also learn how to properly clean, store and cook with truffles.
 
Tours are followed up with a sampling of fresh truffle hors d'oeuvres, Champagne and a tasting of our organic Les Pastras olive and truffle oil. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Truffle-Hunting Tours: 
Summer: 70€ per person 
(50€ children age 10-17)
Winter: 70€ per person
(50€ children age 10-17)
Includes: Truffle-hunting tour, Champagne, truffle hors d'oeuvres, olive and truffle oil tasting
 
Tour timing: 2.5 hours
2pm (winter) 
6pm (summer) 
Reservation required. 
 
Guests: 
2-12 people (for larger groups, please contact us)
 
Seasons: 
May to September
mid-November to mid-March
 
 
"The most learned men have been questioned as to the nature of this tuber, and after two thousand years of argument and discussion their answer is the same as it was on the first day: we do not know. The truffles themselves have been interrogated, and have answered simply: eat us and praise the Lord." — Alexandre Dumas
 
"There are two types of people who eat truffles: those who think truffles are good because they are dear and those who know they are dear because they are good." — J.L. Vaudoyer 

"If you are visiting the Luberon, or anywhere in Provence, make sure you dedicate one afternoon at Les Pastras. Lisa and Johann, exceptional hosts, will lead you down the path of truly unique Provencal life. Whether you join them for a truffle hunt, bee keeping, or grape stomping, you'll have amazing memories and tastes of our wonderful countryside. Seriously -- you can't go wrong! Depeche-toi: book your tour with them today. Plus, the scenery is drop dead gorgeous!" Barbara
 
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Experience Provence Private tours

The temperatures are warming up, The almonds trees are blooming, the sap of the vines is showing up, Spring has arrived in Chateauneuf du Pape... It is time for you to experience the best wine tour in Provence with Provence and Wine and Romain GOUVERNET.

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

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Talk about Chateauneuf du Pape with Tuscany Tour and Provence and Wine

Last week, we had a chance to talk with one of our favorite Provence wine guides, Romain Gouvernet, about what distinguishes Southern Rhone wines from other wines on the market. Romain is a certified sommelier and the owner of Provence and Wine. He offers exceptional wine tasting experiences at some of the most famous wineries of Chateauneuf-du-Pape and the Provence region.

 

Pam: Romain, how did you find your passion for the wine industry or did it find you?

 

Romain: I was born in Avignon, famous for its Popes Palace, and have spent most of my life in the Avignon and Chateauneuf-du- Pape area. When I was a student, I used to help with the wine harvest in the famous vineyards of Chateauneuf-du-Pape where I fell in love with the beauty of this remarkable world famous wine growing area, and also the wine.

I spent 2 years studying in Ireland, perfecting my English, and then returned to France where I worked in finance in Paris for 4 years. I eventually realized my true passion lay in the wine industry sector.

After graduating from the 'Wine and Spirit Education Trust ' (WSET) in Paris, I returned to Avignon where I started working as a manager at a famous winery responsible for oenotourism. These experiences led to the founding of my own company: Provence and Wine.

 

Pam: What can you tell our readers about Provence and Southern Rhone wines?

 

Romain: The Southern Rhone wines are in the Provence region and have a Mediterranean climate with milder winters and hot summers. The vineyard is very beautiful and the terrain is rich and diversified to provide full-bodied and complex wines. The Southern Rhone's most famous red wine appellation is Chateauneuf-du-Pape. This region is very famous for its stony soil, and a Chateauneuf-du-Pape wine may contain up to 19 varieties of wine grapes (ten red and nine white) as permitted by the Chateauneuf-du- Pape AOC rules.

Gigondas AOC, on the other hand, is predominantly made from Grenache noir has a more restricted set of permitted grapes. Depending on the specific AOC rules, grapes blended into southern Rhone reds may include Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, Carignanand Cinsault. The wines are slightly lighter and fruitier partly due to the elevation of the terrain.

 

Pam: What factors weigh into the composition of the Provence wines? Do the mineral components in the soils show up in the wines?

 

Romain: Chateauneuf-du-Pape, for instance, is very well-known for its complex and diverse soil which has its origin in a million years old glacier (which became later the Rhone river). We have clay, limestone, sand, sandstones, river stones. Chateauneuf-du-Pape is well-known for its river stones which are very unique and specific to this area. They are very good for drainage, they absorb the heat during the day and give it back to the vines during the night which helps to bring the grapes to the right level of ripeness.

The climate is a Mediterranean climate and Chateauneuf-du-Pape has 2800 hours of sun per year. The atmosphere is dry, especially during the summer. The wind "Mistral" is a great advantage for the vineyard as the wind participates to keep the area sunny and dry. It is a natural ventilation which also keeps humidity and diseases away.

 

Pam: How do Southern Rhone wines different from the other famous French varieties? And, why are Chateauneuf-du-Pape wines so successful?

 

Romain: We grow 13 grapes types which all have different characteristics and provide different profiles to the wine. There is no regulation in terms of the blend so the winemakers can blend in any proportion. This gives a lot of options to the producers to create very different types of Chateauneuf-du-Pape wine. The main grapes are Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre for the reds and White Grenache, Roussane and Clairette for the whites. Grenache, which is the king of CDP, is only grown in the south of France where the climate is Mediterranean (for France).

Besides the AOC, Chateauneuf-du-Pape is very strict and regulated: Harvest by hands, low yield (max 35hl/hectare), and no irrigation.

The success of Chateauneuf-du-Pape wine is due to the combination of naturals factors (great amount of sun, dry climate, wind, complex soil...) and all of the strict regulations which are based on old "know-how" and history.

Tuscany Tours

 

Pam: Considering the amount of sun the grapes get, why is it that Chateauneuf-du-Pape wines are not just jam/syrup? And, what accounts for their complexity?

 

Romain: This is due to several factors. Chateauneuf-du-Pape wines are not jam/syrup because:
• The high level of alcohol is well-balanced with the others components of the wines (acidity and tannins). • The acidity and the freshness which is given by the variation of temperatures between nights and days. • The Mistral wind which moderates the hot climate, and
• The minerals participate to balance the high level of alcohol and keep the wine well-balanced.

The complexity of the Chateauneuf-du-Pape wine is also due to several factors :
• The soil (terrain) is complex and provides a different profile of wines.
• The fact that we can use until 13 different grapes types (all with different characteristics) and blend it in any proportion provide a lot of options and complexity to the wine.
• Finally, we have more than 300 producers in Chateauneuf-du-Pape with a different history, background, philosophy, and methodology in terms of viticulture, winemaking, aging, and blending.

 

 

 

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Best Wine Tours in Provence

We are right in the middle of the flowering period in the vineyard and spring is beautiful. This week I had the pleasure to have on my tour people from different part of the world: USA, England, Russia, Canada. They all wanted to discover the complexity of the Chateauneuf du Pape wine and the wine from the famous villages of the Côte du Rhône.

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Grenache, King of Wines from south of France

The Grenache grape has a Spanish origin. It is the number one in Navarre and very wide-spread in La Rioja. It was also a key vine in the international success of the Priorate. In France, we find the Grenache in the South of France where the climate is strictly Méditéranéen and offer a period of sunshine and an accumulation of heat guaranteed over a long period, he likes warm and dry weather.

It is a Vine with a late maturity. In the wine, Grenache offers aromas of red berries (Strawberry, raspberry) but also of white pepper, leather, caramel... Blended very Often the Grenahce is also sometimes vinified on its own.


He has a small skin, big berries, he is oxidative with a big alcool potential.

 

He is King of the wine of Châteauneuf-du-Pape which benefits from a climate Méditéraneen and from an important period of sunshine. Of more the Mistral which is a dry wind and the river stones which accumulate the heat the day to restore it at night are good allies for the Grenache.

We also find Grenache in Sardinia but also in certain regions of the New World in particular California and Australia.

Do not come over Provence without making a stop in the famous villages of the South of the Valley of the Rhône without enjoying a wine made from Grenache.

 

  

 


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Chateauneuf du Pape Wine Tour and a private visit to Château Beaucastel

I recently had Peter and Antonio from Brisbane, Australia in a Half Day Wine Tour with me.

 

They are both big fans of the Châteauneuf du Pape wine and they were dreaming to visit Château Beaucastel their favorite winery so I made the dream come true.

 

They had a very private visit to the famous winery of the Perrin family, they discovered the big, beautiful and traditionnal big oak barrels and we finally ended the visit with a very nice wine tasting of several vintages of Beaucastel wine including 2012 and 2001. This wine is a blend of the 13 grapes allowed by the AOP Chateauneuf du Pape.

 

What else?

 

  

 

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Harvest Time in Chateauneuf du Pape region

2015 should be a very good vintage in the Chateauneuf du Pape region as the climat was very appropriate to provide a high quality of grapes. Despite a little bit of stress because one or two episod of rain most of the wine makers in Chateauneuf du Pape region have a big smile this year. Looking forward to taste the 2015 vintage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Provence Wine Tours with Provence and Wine

This week I had the pleasure to lead several wine tours with people from differents countries like Taiwan, Japan Russia and USA. They were all very curious to learn more about the exceptionnal "Terroir" of Chateauneuf du Pape.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Wine is good for your heart

 

Recently I had the opportunity to meet Jonas Spaak as he was part of one of my wine tour. As a doctor specialized in Cardiology He made two very intersting experience and wrote two articles to explain how good is to drink wine (in small quantities) for your heart.

 

For more details please click on the two links below :

 

 

http://ajpheart.physiology.org/content/298/6/H2226.long

 

http://ajpheart.physiology.org/content/294/2/H605.long

 

 

 

 

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Chateauneuf du Pape Wine Tours

The last few days I've been very lucky to have some very nice clients on my tour. Beginer, wine drinker or wine expert there are all here to learn more and to appreciate the beautiful diverity of the Chateauneuf du Pape terroir which makes this place such a special place for making wine.

 

 

 

 

 

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Avignon Wine Tour with a fantastic team of British (or almost...)

July 24th I've been lucky enough to have a very nice team of 6 people, 3 different couples who did not know each others still few days ago. The group was fun, enthousiastic, knowledgeable with an amazing British sense of Humour. I've done my best to make a memorable tour for them and to teach them the most important things about Wine and Chateauneuf du Pape. Thanks to you guys you were fantastic.

 

       

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Chateauneuf du Pape Wine Tasting with Provence and Wine

Excellent Chateauneuf du Pape Wine tour with 2 Americans, 1 British, 1 italian and 2 Finnish persons. In few words, an Excellent blend...

 

They learned that the "Chateauneuf du Pape" AOC (AOP) was created in 1936 and was the first AOC of France. Now They also know all of the specificities of Chateauneuf du Pape, why is it famous, prestigious and expensive.

 

They also now have a good wine tasting knowledge and I hope they will never forget to pay attention on the visual examination as it is a very important stage to get important information about the ID of the Wine :-)

 

They also realized how diversified is the Chateauneuf du Pape "Terroir" and how complex is the Chateauneuf du Pape Wine. They apparently also had some fun.

 

 

 

 

 

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Provence Wine Tours with Romain GOUVERNET

A Wine tour with "Provence and Wine", this is also tasting the wine directly from the barrel or the tank, labelling your own bottle, enjoying the beautiful landscape and the lavander fields.

 

  

 

  

 

  

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Avignon Wine Tours with "Romain GOUVERNET"

My Wine tours are all customized. I try to make the experience very unique and provide to my clients an immersion into the Wine maker universe. The visits are privates and very knowledgeable. By taking a Wine Tour with me you will enjoy the beauty of the vineyards, learn about the specificities of the wine from the region, the wine making process and how to taste wines.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Luberon Wine Tour with Rosemery and Richard from England

The Luberon Hill is famous for the perched villages, the olives groves, the orchards, the lavander fields and the Vineyards.

 

It is the perfect place to enjoy good red wines and the famous Rosé of Provence.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Full Day St rémy Wine Tour : Les Alpilles with the Ryan Family from the US

Today the Ryan Family from the US took a Full Day Wine Tour in "The Alpilles" from Arles.

 

A full Day Wine tour in this Area is the perfect combinaison of nice Vineyards, good wines

and beautiful sceneries (olives groves, vineyards, cyprus threes, white mountain...)

 

We went to 3 differents wineries, had a lunch break in Maussane les Alpilles, had some fresh cherries on the way and even made a stop in "Les Baux de Provence" perched village famous for its casle and stunning view on the Valley.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Chateauneuf du Pape vineyards with Provence and Wine

This week, Full Day Wine Tour in Chateauneuf du Pape with a nice couple from United States and Gigondas Wine tour with 2 family of friends one from the Uk, one from the US and both living in Switzerland.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Provence Wine Tour: Half Day Wine Tour in Chateauneuf du Pape with Jane and Adam from Georgia, United States

Yesterday I had the pleasure to meet Jane and Adam from Georgia in the US. They came to France to celebrate their 1 year anniversary of Wedding.

 

After a drive in the middle of the vineyard we went to two differents wineries with different styles. They learned that there are many different styles of wine in Chateauneuf du Pape and a big difference between the Wine from the Old School and the New School. We finished the day with a very nice chocolate and Wine Pairing.

 

 

 

 

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Chateauneuf du Pape and Gigondas Wine tour with a couple from Japan

Today I spent the day with a very nice couple from Japan and who has choosen France as destination for their honey moon. They took the Full day Rhone Wine Tour option starting from Avignon.

 

After a walk into the Rhone valley vineyard for explanations about the grapes, the soil and the climat we went to two different wineries with very different styles for private visits and wine tastings.

They enjoyed a very nice lunch on terrace with a stunning view on the vineyard of Chateauneuf du Pape.

 

After lunch we have a very private visit and wine tasting to the "Pierre Usseglio" winery before to move to Gigondas for a walk into the village and we finally have a wine tasting at the highest winery of the southern rhone valley region famous for its muscat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Drop's of God Wine tour in the south of the Rhone Valley with Ryoko and Yuki from Japan

Ryoko and Yuki are two japanese fans of the "Drops of God" manga which is trully a best seller. They came in the south of the Rhone Valley for a Avignon Wine tour with me in order to experiencee some of the wines named in the book like Domaine Pegau, La Janasse, Château Saint Cosme...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Provence wine tours with clients from different countries this week

This week I had a couple of wine tours from Avignon with clients from different parts of the World.

 

They learned  about the French Classification of the wine which was created in 1936. They also learned about all of the specificities of Chateauneuf du Pape : the diversity of the soils, the climat, the different varieties of grapes but also the different restrictions that the wine makers have to respect to be part of the Chateauneuf du Pape Appellation. (The yield, the harvest made by hands, the irrigation...).

 

We also had several wine tasting and figured out the different styles of Chateauneuf du Pape Wines.

 

Enjoy a Avignon Wine Tour with "Provence and Wine": www.provenceandwine.com

 

        

 

 

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Avignon Wine Tours: Luberon with Mark and Linda from Houston

Linda and Mark from Houston spent a full day Luberon wine tour with me.

 

We went to different wineries including Chateau la Canorgue, Domaine la Citadelle, Château Val Joanis to enjoy the typicity of the Luberon wine. The luberon obtained the Appellation of Controlled Origin in 1988 and produce 50% of Rosé. The Syrah has a very nice expression on the Luberon hills. We also enjoyed the beauty of the famous villages like Bonnieux, Menerbes and Lourmarin.

 

 

     

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Very nice day with the Johnson family

Today The Johnson family from New York but living in London had a full day wine tour with me.

 

After a short walk into the vineyard we went to two different wineries in Chateauneuf du Pape (a Château and a family run winery) for a private visit and a wine tasting.

 

We had a fantastic lunch in Gigondas and after a walk in to enjoy the village, we climbed to the highest winery of the area to enjoy different wines including the famous muscat of Beaumes de Venise.

 

Enjoy a provence wine tour with Provence and Wine: www.provenceandwine.com

 

     

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Chateauneuf du Pape wine tour combined with famous villages of the Côtes du Rhône

Ron and Nancy from Pittsburgh took part of a full day wine tour with me.

 

We spent the morning if Chateauneuf du Pape enjoying several wineries including "Vieux Télégraphe".

 

We left Chateauneuf du Pape the afternoon to discover the beauty of "les dentelles de Montmirail" and to make several wine tasting in Gigondas and Vacqueyras.

 

 

 

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Chateauneuf du Pape wine tour and food pairing

Full day wine tour in Chateauneuf du Pape with a mixed group from New York and London.

 

Program of the day:

 

- walk through the vineyard with explanation of all the specificities of Chateauneuf du Pape.

- Privtate visit and wine tasting in 4 different wineries

- Chocolate and Wine pairing

- Chateauneuf du Pape Food Pairing

- Picnic in the middle of the vineyard on a sunny spot.

 

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Full day wine tour in Chateauneuf du Pape combined with famous villages of the Côtes du Rhône

Chateauneuf du Pape wine tour combined with famous villages of the Côtes du Rhône: 16/03/2015

 

Full day wine tour with two clients from the Vermont in the US.

 

Program of the day

 

- walk through the Vineyard in order to explain them all the specificities of Chateauneuf du Pape. We even found some wild aspergas on the way.

- Private visit to a run family winery in Domaine les Clés d'or. It was the bottling day today.

- lunch at "La mère Germaine" restaurant

- Private visit of one of the biggest winery and oldest cellar (from the 16th)

- Wine tasting in Gigondas and walk in the village

- Wine tasting at the highest winery of the region well known for its muscat.

 

 

 

     

 

 

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Wine Tasting Class in Chateau des Fines Roches 11/03/2015

Last wednedsay I lead a group of 10 persons for a Wine Tasting class in Chateau des Fines Roches in Chateauneuf du Pape.

In one houre and half we went through :

- The history of Chateauneuf du Pape and the appellation system

- The natural specificities of the appellation (diversity of the soils, climat, grapes...)

- The proper technics for tasting wine

- 1 white and 2 reds Chateauneuf du Pape

 

Château des Fines Roches white, Domaine Mathieu red and Domaine Mestre red was part of the program.

 

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Half day wine tour in Chateauneuf du Pape 24/02/2015

Half day wine tour in Chateauneuf du Pape with Scott from Los Angeles.

We first had a ride through the vineyard to enjoy the scenery and also have an explanation about the climat, the diversity of the soil, the grapes, everything which makes Chateauneuf du Pape such a special place for making wine.

 

 

 

After a quick stop at the castle on the top of the hill, we went to a first winery. A familal estate usually not open to the public. Scott learned about how we usually make the wine in Chateauneuf du Pape and how we age it.

Wa also had a wine tasting with 4 different wine including a barrel tasting.

We finally went to the second biggest winery of Chateauneuf du Pape to see the oldest cellar from the area (from the 16th) before a wine tasting (including a old vintage from 1992)

To finish the half day we had a chocolate and wine pairing, not so easy to paire but very enjoyable.

 

  

 

 

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