Domaine de la Citadelle is one of the Southern Rhône’s newest stars, having been founded as recently as 1990. It started life as a nondescript albeit beautiful farm that was purchased by the entrepreneur Yves Rousset-Rouard, after he was captivated by the outstanding scenery and landscapes of the region and its untapped potential. Originally a mere 8 hectare farm, today the 39 hectares surround the pretty village of Menerbes, on the north-facing side of the majestic Luberon mountains. Motivated by a constant search for higher quality, the viticulture is moving towards a totally organic approach, after 20 years of managing the vines without chemical inputs. Rousset-Rouard realised, however, that technology would also need to play its part and to that end invested in a state-of-the-art winery, built into the sides of the hill. It is one of the region’s most innovative and striking cellars.
Today, careful vineyard management, modern vinification techniques and tight quality controls are continuing to produce excellent results. Always emphasising elegance over power, these are complex and refined wines, in contrast to some of the more heavy handed examples from the appellation. All the wines impress but the true stars are the red Les Artemes and the top cuvee Le Gouverneur, an impressively dense and yet elegant blend of Syrah, Grenache and Mourvedre with a little very old Carignan adding a dark spicy complexity to his wonderful wine. Indeed, if you’re going to drink only one wine from the Cotes du Luberon, this is surely it. Apart from great wines, this is a wonderful place to visit for its charm, beauty and hospitality.