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Domaine du Deffends
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Region: France - Provence
We feel particularly lucky that one of the first vineyards that we worked with to bring natural, organic wines to the UK was the Domaine du Deffends and the de Lanversin family. Their wines are delicious, of course, and their beautiful 14 hectare (35 acre) vineyard is situated in the foothills of Mont Auréliens just south of the via Aurelia, an ancient Roman road now better known as the DN7, in a sublime position just outside Saint-Maximin La Sainte-Baume, about 30 miles East of Aix-en-Provence.
Their terroir is based on the chalky, arid and porous Provençal soil that Jacques de Lanversin, who was seeking some diversion from his career as an academic lawyer, acquired in 1963. His initial thought was simply to return the land to cultivation after many years of neglect. He planned to re-establish the previous pattern of cultivation and so he initially planted Grenache and Cinsault vines and then added Syrah and Cabernet-Sauvignon so that he could produce a vin de garde (basically, a 'keeper'). Later Rolle and Viognier vines were also planted.
Following Jaques' death in 2004, the team has been lead by Suzel de Lanversin, who is an extraordinary ambassador not only for the Domaine du Deffends but for Provence as a whole. She has been ably assisted by her son Emmanuel in the past and now also by winemaker Franck Alazard who has joined the team to take the domaine's production to new heights.
The vineyard has been run on natural and organic lines for many years and was Ecocert certified in 2009, and the de Lanversins remain committed to a natural, non-interventionist approach to vines, to grapes and to a style of wine production which honours both the terroir and the local traditions of winemaking - and produces delicious wines.