The charms of authentic Provençal wine from top-quality, small-scale producers, most with sustainable practices in the vineyards…this is the VinAzur way of providing a taste of Provence.
The Story of the Suitcase Wine
We aren’t born knowing everything. I admit, there are times I’ve been naive, perhaps too accustomed to a certain way of life. One of these moments occurred the first time I visited Provence to taste wine. My husband I weren’t on a tour, weren’t in touch with anyone ahead of time…we were there to meet winemakers on their turf. It was research for my novel, which tells the story of Provençal winemakers, and I didn’t need or want much in the way of a welcome or preamble.
This wasn’t a problem; as long as someone was there, we were able to taste wine. In fact, we were able to buy wine. No problem. But when I asked if we could order some to ship home we earned ourselves a friendly laugh. Trés cher, we were told. What if we paid for it? Non, still not an option. It doesn’t work that way. If I knew then what I know now I wouldn’t have asked…I was just a traveling novelist writing about wine, not an expert on importing wine.
We bought as much as we could fit in our suitcase and drank the rest at our hotel and every meal. We still miss a certain bottle, no longer available, that we brought home. In singular.
VinAzur: Why I’m Impressed
There’s a reason I tell this story. Don’t underestimate your friendly neighborhood importer. For foreign wines to populate shop shelves in reasonable abundance at reasonable prices, they must undergo a travel process not unlike getting through customs at JFK with a bunch of bananas and cow poop on your shoes: it doesn’t come easy and nothing goes unnoticed.
For small winemakers that want to break into foreign markets, they not only have to win customers, but they also need an importer to represent them. As you might assume, many winemakers want to make wine, not shop around for importers and convince customers in another language. Fortunately, there are wine people that are in the business of making these connections, and one of them is Damien Dubus, founder of VinAzur. Damien has years of experience with Provence wines, particularly Côtes de Provence, and several years ago he open the doors to VinAzur near Nice on the gorgeous Cote d’Azur, French Riviera.
VinAzur does something quite unique: they’ve partnered with a distinguished portfolio of small-scale estates to offer clients a connection to the high-quality, terroir-driven wines that they expect. Prices are directly and fairly negotiated with the estates, offering a value to both the producer and the customer.
I’ve told you that I wrote about book about winemakers in Provence; if you’ve read anything here on L’occasion it’s clear that I love to tell the story of winemakers…that’s my passion. It’s Damien’s passion too, because he chooses winemakers with which he has a direct and regular connection. VinAzur chooses the best wines, not the flashiest marketing, and partners with vignerons to get their wines into the customer’s glasses. This is an arrangement that I find incredibly interesting.
I had the opportunity to receive a shipment from VinAzur, and I know what you are thinking: let’s hear about the wine and the winemakers that have chosen VinAzur as trusted and innovative partner:
CUVÉE CHÂTEAU POMPILIA 2015
This wine comes from vineyards that experienced their first cuvée under organic agriculture, with an EcoCert label.
The Brissy family acquired the vineyards in 1877. They’ve remained family-run and independent since that time; the bottle bears the Vigneron Independent badge. With the vintage 2015, the property beccame Château Pompilia (formerly Pompules) under the direction of fourth-generation winegrower, Matthieu LAFONT. Matthieu took over when the estate manger, a 32-year veteran of the vineyard, retired in 2009. To prepare for this new role (he was an electro-technique engineer at the time) Mattieu enrolled in a wine growing and oenology program at the Lycée Agricole in Hyères. As the estate puts it: “…thus adding theory to his practices. He passed the next year and entered the family property to which he brought a new trend between tradition and modernity.”
Domaine la Grand’Pièce Côtes de Provence 2015
Domaine la Grand’Pièce is a family estate, run by fifth-generation winemaker Bruno de CHAUVELIN and his son Thibault. I would love to hear from Bruno and Thibault about the history of their domaine (in fact, I’ve asked if I can do an interview with some of the VinAzur winemakers, so stay tuned) because the vineyards are located along the Via Aurelia. Ancient Provence was established by the Greeks then the Romans; ruins, artifacts and still-functioning elements can be found all over Provence. The Via Aurelia was a Roman road through Provence, specifically near Cabasse in the Var department where the Domaine la Grand’Pièce vineyards grow. Archaeologists have discovered the presence of an ancient town named Matvo buried under the vines!
Domaine la Grand’Pièce covers a wide space (grand piece) of 27 hectares that produce Côtes de Provence and Vin de Pays Var wine. The estate is run by sustainable practices and is engaged in a MAET (Agro-Environmental Measures Terrirotiralized) process. Their wines proudly wear a Vigneron Independent badge.
Domaine de la Fouquette Rosé cuvée Rosée d’Aurore 2015
Isabelle and Jean-Pierre DAZIANO are proprietors and winemakers of Domaine de la Fouquette located in Les Mayons village, near the Massif des Maures mountains. The estate is managed with wholly organic practices by the third-generation winemakers, Isabelle and Jean-Pierre. From 16 hectares they hand harvest red and white grapes and mechanically harvest grapes for rosé. Whites and rosés are bottled fresh; reds are aged several months in their onsite facility.
The estate operates with an EcoCert, biologique label, ensuring the purity and quality of their wines.Visitors to the estate can book a room in the farmhouse B&B, which includes a visit to the wine cellar for a tasting. Isabelle and Jean-Pierre also run an onsite-restaurant with a menu made possible by the harvest of the of the farm.
This estate presents Provence with the region’s true winemaking roots: vines grown abreast with farm functions to offer the family what they needed to consume and possibly sell at market. As expected, Isabelle and Jean-Pierre makes wines with a Vigneron Independent badge too.
How to Get Your Wine
Anywhere in Europe, VinAzur wines are available through the online shop and will be hand-packed with 100% security. If you are local to Nice, the wine will be delivered in the VinAzur van. Elsewhere in Europe, expect your wine within 48 hours from a reputable delivery partner. Customers are also welcome to visit VinAzur on-site for sommelier service and wine available immediately from the warehouse in Saint-Laurent-du-Var, where all the wines in the VinAzur inventory are properly stored and ready for delivery.
If you order within the next six months, VinAzur is offering a 10% discount with the code: JILL.
US customers, VinAzur seeks an importer! Interested importers should contact VinAzur directly at +33 (0)4 92 12 47 55 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.