Domaine du Dragon

Draguignan | Provence

 

dragon_view_producerHigh up in the hills of southern France, above the Côte d’Azur and the crowds at Cannes, you’ll find the cool, terraced vineyards of Domaine du Dragon. The estate’s curiously chalky soils and high-altitude perch translate into wines both refined and complex yet still offer exceptional value.

While much of Provence is a patchwork of different terroirs, this corner near the town of Draguignan is unique in that it is almost exclusively limestone, more commonly found in places like Burgundy. Cooling winds whip through the forested valleys to moderate the southern sun, so grapes are not only perfectly ripe but also balanced.

This ideal symbiosis of soil and sun results in richly flavored and elegant wines. Reds combine the precision and grace of fine Bordeaux with the juicy persistence and spice of Châteauneuf-du-Pape; whites are cool, citrus-rich and thirst-quenching.

Yet Provence would not be Provence without rosé, and it’s here where Dragon sets itself apart from the pack of tourist-pleasing (and often overpriced) pinks. The area’s chalky soul and cool character is expressed clearly in Dragon’s lively blend.

FARMING & WINEMAKING

Many of Domaine du Dragon’s vineyard terraces were replanted in the 1990s (in addition to the estate’s cellars being modernized) to improve clonal selection, vine density and the mix of grape varieties. Vines are cared for according to “lutte raisonée” principles, following organic practices as closely as possible and avoiding chemical treatments. Soils are rich in gravel and limestone, unusual terroir for the region.

Grapes are harvested by hand and fermented on indigenous yeasts in temperature-controlled, stainless steel tanks. Whites and rosé wines are aged in tank; reds are aged in barrel from six months to more than a year, depending on the cuvée.

WHITE WINES

Côtes de Provence Blanc ‘Les Restanques’ (Rolle)

The estate’s chalky soils are expressed loud and clear in this tangy, refreshing white. Also known as Vermentino, the grape Rolle is chock-full of citrus and herbal flavors—perfect with hot-weather foods.

 

 

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ROSÉ WINES

Côtes de Provence Rosé ‘Grande Cuvée’ (Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinsault, Rolle, Mourvèdre)

A medium-bodied, spicy rosé de pressurage (red grapes are pressed, extracting from the grapes’ skins a delicate blush color) with aromas of wild garrigue and summer berries.

 

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RED WINES

Côtes de Provence Rouge 'Perle Noir’ (Syrah, Mourvèdre)

The estate’s cool terroir and high-altitude vineyards make this rich Syrah-based red blend taste more like a refined red from Côte Rôtie. Cinnamon, cloves, black pepper, blackberry jam.

 

DRAGON_perlenoir

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Côtes de Provence Rouge 'Cuvée Saint Michel' (Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache)

‘Cuvée Saint Michel’ is a structured yet silky red blend, aged in Burgundian barrels. While it is always delicious young, it can age well for up to 10 years.

 

DRAGON_cuveestmichel

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Established: 1990s
Winemaker: Aurelien Fournier
Region: France • Provence • Draguignan
Vineyard size: 60 acres

“Lutte raisonée” (reasoned agriculture)