The Château Volterra in Ramatuelle
Start the day with the Château Volterra in Ramatuelle, which was an unmissable stopping place for many celebrities including Josephine Baker, Marcel Pagnol and Jean Cocteau in the 1930s and 1940s.
What's instantly beguiling about the estate is the majestic stone building and the breathtaking view of the Mediterranean. Unfortunately, the castle is not open to visitors*—luckily, the estate is. Start the the tasting and explore not only the regional darling, rosé, but also amazing red wines (which represent 65% of the production here).
If you really want to see the castle, Françoise has given us two solutions: either get married there or watch the upcoming film Do you do you Saint-Tropez planned for 2021 with Christian Clavier.
The Château Barbeyrolles in Gassin
Continue the walk towards the Château Barbeyrolle in Gassin. Régine Sumeire, the owner of the castle (and of the Château Tour de l'Évêque also) is the creator of the well known clear rosé of the region in 1985, launching the "Pétale de Rose," the first of the clear rosés of Provence.
Nowadays you're more likely to run into Hélène, who works at the château all year round and organizes the tastings of pleasant rosés and even more pleasant conversation. The castle has been certified organic since 2005 and is in the process of being Demeter certified. They work regularly with local restaurateurs, as well as in the rest of France and abroad. Régine is even a star in Canada!
End the visit with a walk outside—everything from the building, the garden and the sunshine is gorgeous.
The Château Garcinières in Cogolin
Then, head towards Cogolin. At the end of a majestic avenue of plane trees, you'll arrive at the Château Garcinières. When you arrive you'll be greeted by Mélissa, the owner's granddaughter, who lives in this beautiful building (which is sadly not a bed and breakfast—given the beauty of the place, the question comes up very often).
Here, 70 to 80% of the wine produced is rosé, but red and white wines are also available. There is also a charming cellar to taste the wine, as well as delicious regional products: honeys, tapenades and jams from the Maison des confitures in Gassin which produces more than 400 varieties.
As you chat, you can sense that her passion for this special spot. She'll regale you with tales of her family, which used to work in wood, especially cork oak, and also created the old Marseille soap boxes before the arrival of cardboard.
Come fall in love with this former monastery, where everything is beautiful, especially the earthenware wall that was built to protect from the strong east winds.
The Château Saint-Maur in Cogolin
End the day at Château Saint-Maur, still in Cogolin, and explore an estate of another dimension lying on over 60 hectares (148 acres), with a production of 320,000 to 350,000 bottles a year.
The Château Saint-Maur is one of the most luxurious in the region, with an exceptional plot of land which happens to be the highest in the Côtes de Provence appellation. This is where the "Clos de Capelune" cuvée was born, notably served at the Martinez in Cannes, the George V in Paris and the Sénéquier in Saint-Tropez.
The Château Saint-Roux in Cannet-des-Maures
Before returning home, take a short break in an incredible spot: the Château Saint-Roux!
The goal of the owner (who is also the owner of the Bertrands castle, Ultimate Provence and even the Château de Berne) was to recreate a "farmhouse atmosphere of yesteryear" and the least we can say is that his dream was not only realized, but with great taste.
All the decoration is perfectly suited to the estate—it's hard not to take the camera out in every room! The table, the shop, the animals, the vegetable garden, the terrace overlooking the vineyards— everything is beautiful.
The owner also seeks to be, in the long run, self-sufficient. Fittingly, a baker will arrive in the spring; almost all the water comes from the estate; the goats produce between 2 and 5 litres (.5 to about 1.5 gallons) of milk a day, which becomes delicious fresh or matured cheese; the 3,800 m² (40,902 ft²) vegetable garden allows the chef to work with fresh, seasonal produce; then there are also the fruit trees, olive trees and of course the vines—in short, a small local and organic paradise exists on the very grounds of the château.
To be sure the domains can accommodate you, it is best to call them and make an appointment if you are planning to visit in the off-season