Exploring wine and art at the edge of the Mediterranean

LIGHT afternoon breeze welcomes me as I arrive in Provence, a home of a family-owned vineyard Château Sainte Marguerite. Picturesque architecture and long rows of vines spreading across the south-facing slopes straight away indicate that the region is widely recognised for its wine, as I find out, particularly famous for exceptional rosé, thanks to its close proximity to sea and hot, southern climate. 

Domain Château Sainte Marguerite

I arrive at the Le Hameau des Pesquiers, tucked away in a pine forest, located just a short walk away from the town of Hyeres. Multiple suites and huts surrounded by nature stretch across the salt marshes reaching the sandy, quiet beach.

As I enter my room I sense the atmosphere of intimacy created by the purity of wood and stone accents in the interior. I head straight towards the wooden, private terrace with a hot tub overlooking the pine trees dancing softly in the wind. Soaking in the afternoon sun the space is a shelter from the outside world; ideal to lounge and unwind listening to the murmur of the nearby forest and the sea. 

Owned and managed by the Fayard family of winemakers, Château Sainte Marguerite continues to make its mark with exceptional quality wines since 1977. I begin my journey through their wine legacy by visiting the Domain. Situated at the top of the hill we take in the sight of the building soaked in the rays of the sunset.

The core identity of Château Sainte Marguerite: modernity meeting tradition, is reflected in the architecture. Big glass windows allow the sun to penetrate the interiors, reflecting from rough steel accents and emitting warm hues from wooden panels.

Château Sainte Marguerite

We are welcomed with a glass of rosé, which after one sip I never want to part with. Embarking on the tour around the Domain the Fayard brothers, Enzo and Olivier, take us to see the barrels and try various blends exploring unique flavours of different grapes.

The strip of eleven plots, which spreads over the 22 kilometres, grows a variety of grapes on land with Cru Classé des Côtes-de-Provence title, recognised for its outstanding quality of terroir and climate for growth; Grenache bringing fruity tones and smooth texture, The Rolle a hint of pear and lemon notes, and Cinsault more delicacy and sophistication. 

We finish our tour with a wine tasting overlooking the scenic hills of Provance, having a chance to try all of the Sainte Marguerite offerings. Les Fantastique Rosé quickly becomes my favourite. Organic and vegan wine filled with peach and pear notes, oozing unique lightness achieved from blending three different grapes.

Les Fantastique Rosé

To take a break from wine, we take a boat to the nearby island of Porquerolles, the biggest of the three islands of Îles d’Hyères. Its beautiful beaches, cliffs and surrounding azure sea are breathtaking scenery for anyone who loves exploring on foot or a bicycle. 

La Fondation Carmignac occupies the transformed farmhouse in the heart of the island. The space serves as a modern art gallery, exhibiting works from established and upcoming artists from all over the world. Secluded in the vast garden, it becomes a sanctuary for creativity and expression. 

The Inner Island exhibition designed by Jean-Marie Gallais, which runs until November, focuses on the location of the island itself and the meaning of isolation. Composed of more than 80 pieces the body of works includes artists who created their art on the island over a century ago, such as Jean-Francis Auburtin, as well as projects which have been completely inspired by the privacy of the island, just a few weeks prior. 

Domain Château Sainte Marguerite

To finish our trip we visit Plage de l’Estagnol, where we watch the sunset accompanied by a glass of Sainte Marguerite Les Fantastique Rosé and waves softly crashing in the background. At Restaurant l’Estagnol we are served the local gastronomic speciality: astonishingly large lobster grilled on the wood fire and a heart-warming pot of bouillabaisse, a mix of broth, variety of fish and homemade rouille. 

Leaving the sunny hills of Provence, I am convinced I will be sipping Les Fantastique Rosé, which is safely wrapped at the bottom of my suitcase, as soon as I walk through my door imagining I have never left the south of France.

by Olga Petrusewicz 

Les Fantastique Rosé priced at €30 per bottle

King Pesquiers Room with hot tub and breakfast at Le Hameau des Pesquiers from €450 per night