I have just recently come to Provence to work as an intern for WineInProvence and what a treat it has been! The wineries I have visited in just one week of living here have been exceptional. A perfect example is the brand new tasting room of Château de la Galiniere located on the ascending slopes at the base of Mount Saint Victoire. Being only a mere two weeks old, Galiniere’s tasting room is bound to be an eye catcher for those new and old to the wineries in the Provence region.
On my second day of being a guide, we struck gold and visited their new tasting room. Aurelie, wife of the winemaker, Fabrice, greeted our group at the Oz-sized steel doors that led us into a room of sheer modern style. Due to Hilary’s perseverance as a businesswoman and natural personable nature, she is on friendly “bisous terms” with many of the winemakers and staff at the wineries we frequent. Aurelie greeted us warmly and then offered to let us have the place entirely to ourselves! We were left to respectfully “hold down the fort” while she locked the door behind us and slipped off to watch her son’s recital down the road. We were told to help ourselves to the wines in the fridge and leave the keys on their kitchen windowsill next door when we were finished. This would not happen in America. As opposed to wineries in the States, the tasting rooms in France do not tend to be crowded and in this case we were definitely not complaining – we had the entire winery to ourselves!
Galiniere was first opened as a winery in 1993 where their original tasting room was just up the road with a cypress tree lined driveway. Hilary and Brian had been taking clients to taste in their dusty cobwebbed tasting cave for the last few years, which was lovely, but their new modern facility is a nice contrast to the old world charm of the locations that we usually take our guests to visit. To have easy access to the vines, crushers, barrels, and vats, Fabrice lives to the left of the barrel room during harvest season speedy harvest picking and barreling is an extremely important aspect in this region’s wine harvests due to the small amount of acres and immaculate attention to each grape lot. If a winemaker says the grape is ready for picking, it’s time to harvest immediately even if it is at 3am!
Now as you walk into the perfectly constructed tasting room at Galiniere, your eyes are drawn to the hundreds of blended bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Syrah, Carignan, or Viognier displayed as pieces of art handcrafted by the winemaker. The bottles opened for tasting rest beside you as you stand in front of a moat of water inside the concrete counter top that is used for washing your glass between tastings or simply for quenching your thirst. Your view to the left is of the spectacular sunflower fields and to the right, a perfect architectural attraction and home to the caretakers Auriele, Fabrice, and their three children.