Chene Bleu: Wine as a Marker of Supreme Class Assurance in a Perfectly Ordered World; Sybaritic Pampering in the Ventoux
For anyone familiar with the maxim that the longer and more circuitous a driveway or a private road, the higher the class, finding one’s way to the Domaine de la Verrière prefigures the upper crust.
As you leave the hillside village of Crestet on the only paved road to the south, the “chemin” turns rugged and sinuous as you make your way slowly in the woods, a small sign “La Verrière” at a branch points to the left, and on you go, until you breach the wood’s edge where unfolds a panorama of grape vines encircling a huge multi-level stone edifice under a popcorn-flecked azure sky.
The backstory: In 1993 when the French financial exec Xavier Rolet purchased the 150-acre estate, the medieval priory had been abandoned and the vineyard abused with inattention due to a bust up over an inheritance.
Xavier Rolet joined an elite group. There are vineyards in the Vaucluse that have undergone an extensive makeover at the hands of wealth accumulated at companies as Accor, André and Weston shoes, Lyonnaise des Eaux, Total, and Euro RSCG, executives that took wine making seriously as a craft marked by the desire to shed themselves of all ostentation.
Six years after a marriage came calling to a smart and plucky American with a European and financial industry pedigree, Xavier, and his wife Nicole, went all in on renovating the estate in 2003. From near ruin was born a swank country retreat and an illustrious winery turning out fine bottles of red, white and rosé.