Château Thuerry ~ A Delicious Retreat in the Heart of Provence

Witty, charming and jovial, proprietor Jean-Louis Croquet of Château Thuerry is passionate about becoming the Haut-Brion of the Southeast. His impeccable grounds, located in Villecroze, France, comprise of 840 acres of land, of which 111 acres are planted on southern exposure hillsides that sit at 1,300 feet.

Jean-Louis Croquet of Château Thuerry

Jean-Louis Croquet of Château Thuerry

Chateau Thuerry grapes at harvest

Chateau Thuerry grapes at harvest, 2016

He is a passionate man, almost mysterious until you get to know him. He was a former rugby player, lover of wine and former boss of the Sofrès. He stumbled across Château Thuerry after looking for a beachfront estate and signed on the dotted line when his realtor convinced him to look at the estate. And he’s never looked back. Jean-Louis has been at the helm since 1998, producing elegant reds and refined rosés that are promoted on the tables of Joël Robuchon and Alain Ducasse.  And even Francis Ford Coppola, owner of two wineries in California, spends holidays at Jean-Louis Croquet’s vineyard at Chateau Thuerry.

Ugni Blanc, a.k.a. Rolle, is a fresh white wine found in Provence. The grape is most famous for its role in the brandies of Cognac and Armagnac.

Ugni Blanc, a.k.a. Rolle, is a fresh white wine found in Provence.  The grape is most famous for its role in the brandies of Cognac and Armagnac.

Jean-Louis’ vineyards are diverse, composing of Syrah, Grenache, Rolle, Cabernet Sauvignon, Semillon, and Merlot, with the oldest vineyards (1927) planted with Cinsault.  Jean-Louis likes to keep it fresh, so he often experiments with vines and recently planted Mourvèdre, a variety specific to Provence.

Chateau Thuerry’s three flagship lines—L’Exception, Les Abeillons and Le Chateau

Chateau Thuerry’s three flagship lines—L’Exception, Les Abeillons and Le Chateau

Jean-Louis Croquet of Château Thuerry

Jean-Louis Croquet of Château Thuerry

His three flagship lines—L’Exception, Les Abeillons and Le Chateau, all offer a red, white and rose.  The reds were warm and tantalizing, reflecting the character of the region—ripe, rich and layered, offering lovely expressions of the terroir. The whites were fabulous; lively, fresh and spontaneous with bright acidity, complex white flower aromas and vivacious citrus.  The roses were fresh and pretty, perfect for a hot summer day.

one of the glories of Provence is the Cavaillon melon, which is intensely sweet and juicy

One of the glories of Provence is the Cavaillon melon, which is intensely sweet and juicy

Meats, sandwiches, cheeses paired with Château Thuerry wines

Charcuterie, sandwiches, and cheese paired with Château Thuerry wine

As a destination spot, it’s a perfect place to stop for a picnic, so bring some glorious Provencal fruits, vegetables and cheeses to pair with the wonderful wine. One of my favorite things to do in Provence is to hit up a local market, buy some melons, tomatoes, artichokes, goat cheese, nuts, bread, olive oil and spices and find an area to have a picnic with wine. And don’t forget the tomatoes—just cut and drizzle with olive oil, and then sprinkle on some Herbes de Provence (a delicious blend of local herbs) and you’ll be in heaven. Ditto for the melons—one of the glories of Provence is the Cavaillon melon, which is intensely sweet and juicy.

Tomatoes and grilled breads paired with Château Thuerry wines

Tomatoes and grilled breads paired with Château Thuerry wines

Located only 1 hour from Nice or Marseille, it’s definitely worth an afternoon stop, so get it on your calendar!

Until next time, happy travels.

2017-03-26T17:37:43+00:00

About the Author:

Editor and co-founder of Enobytes.com, Pamela is a sommelier and former restaurant manager and wine buyer with Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET), Court of Master Sommeliers & Center for Wine Origins certification. She has contributed to or been quoted by various publications, including the Los Angeles Times, Sommelier Journal, Vegetarian Times, VIV Magazine, UC-Berkeley Astrobiology News, The Washington Post, the Associated Press, NPR and USA Today. True to her roots, she seeks varietal and appellation integrity and is always passionate about finding the next great bottle of wine.

8 Comments

  1. Allison Wallace April 1, 2017 at 8:41 AM - Reply

    Love this! I can sense the passion he has and this is exactly the type of place we love to visit. Definitely on the list when we return to the area!

    • enobytes April 1, 2017 at 10:53 AM - Reply

      He is definitely a passionate man! You’ll really enjoy the visit.

  2. Kevin Cleary April 1, 2017 at 12:09 PM - Reply

    It’s so funny that so many winemakers in southern France (Provence, Languedoc) were former rugby players. Great piece and pictures. Makes me wish I could hop on a plane right now and be there in time for a picnic lunch tomorrow.

    • enobytes April 1, 2017 at 5:01 PM - Reply

      So true! Former rugby players = tomorrow’s winemakers :)

  3. Robin Renken April 2, 2017 at 12:56 AM - Reply

    What an enchanting thought…visiting local markets and picking up seasonal wonders to enjoy with local wine. That’s how it should be right? He is the owner…tell me about the winemaker he chose, or is he the winemaker. With wines that Joel Robuchon and Alain Ducasse choose to serve the wines must be exquisite! I would love to try the Ugni Blanc!

    • enobytes April 4, 2017 at 7:28 PM - Reply

      As with many owners, he plays both roles with plenty of assistants! The Ugni Blanc was fantastic.

  4. Andrew Welch April 4, 2017 at 11:12 AM - Reply

    Your first picture looks like juice you pulled out of the tank, is that the case? I love seeing the stuff as it begins it’s journey through fermentation and aging.

    • enobytes April 4, 2017 at 7:30 PM - Reply

      You nailed it Andrew! It was a Rose that was not fermented to dry yet…tasty stuff!

Leave A Comment