Visit the Idyllic La Verriere and Chêne Bleu Wine Estate in Provence
Sometimes you can create your own fairytale in life... That’s what our friend did for his 50th bday, where we experienced “A Midsummer Nights Dream” at La Verriere in Provence, France. We ate, drank, danced to the Gipsy King’s (live!) sang, and celebrated. An epic fairytale.
La Verriere is a medieval priory and family-run wine estate tucked away in a UNESCO-protected Nature reserve in the heart of Provence, Southern France. When Xavier first found this place, it was long forgotten and overgrown, with no electricity or water. It took he and his wife Nicole a decade to restore the priory, as well as adding all the modern day amenities to make it comfortable in a region that gets really hot.
At La Verriere they created a very special experience for his birthday weekend. When we arrived at the villa we were greeted by a quartet of violinists, delicious small bites, and Chêne Bleu wine made at the estate.
Our 2nd day at the estate was the big birthday bash, where the magical fairytale unfolds. We started in the afternoon with a flamenco lesson in the wine tasting room, where we all twirled our wrists and hips to Spanish beats. Then everyone went into the costume room to change or dress up in the woodland themed A Mid Summer Night’s Dream. Suddenly, we transformed into sprites, nymphs, fairies, knight’s and ladies of this medieval villa.
We walked into the shade of the trees just as the still humid air turned into a light breeze. We sat down for a Shakespearean performance by a theater troop from England, with the birthday boy leading the narration, the children getting involved in the performance, and audience participation with queued booing and applause.
The play was followed by dinner in the lovely courtyard, where it feels as if you’ve stepped into the secret garden with the centuries old brick crawling with ivy. We drank delicious full bodied reds from Chêne Bleu over a delightful dinner with great company from Sweden, Spain, Norway, the U.S. and more.
After dinner we danced to the tunes Gipsy Kings, by way of their sons who sound exactly like them. The band was a set of amazing musicians, backed up by vocalists from Mumbai that added some extra layers of international soulfulness. It was pretty spectacular watching the live band play under the night sky overlooking the mountains of vineyards of Provence. Then the flamenco dancing song was played and everyone became a flash mob, dancing the routine we had learned a few hours, and few glasses of wine ago. The night was filled with very special moments of life and laughter.
Our final day at La Verriere we arrived at noon for a wine tour of Chêne Bleu, learning all about how the grapes are handpicked for quality control and biodynamic winemaking. Biodynamic winemaking is “an approach to managing the soil and the vines in accordance with the influence of the phases of the moon, and it involves treating with something akin to small doses of natural treatments as in homeopathy.” What I truly love about this method compared to a lot of California’s synthetic winemaking is that you don’t get the hangover because they don’t contain all the chemical additives.
We followed the tour with a pizza and ice cream food truck, and then pool time. It had been a lovely weekend!