Wine and Olive Oil from southern Luberon.

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Domaine des Vaudois Come and visit


Cabrières d'Aigues and the Vaudois

Like many other provencal villages, Cabrières d’Aigues in the mid 15th century remains practically abandoned, having suffered the Plague and the wars.

With no income, their land no longer being worked, the Nobility call apon the people from Piémont and Dauphiné, living overcrowded in their sparce mountain area.

It is for this reason that on the 10th of March 1495, Raymond d’Agoult, the then Lord, accorded an act of residence to 78 families from Freissinières (Briançon), a kind of emphyteotic lease.

These alpine people, “apparent catholics”, are in fact Vaudois, and go on to follow the Calvinistic reform given by the Chanforan Synode (1532).

Following this revelation as Protestants, and therefore heretic, meant that from this moment on they became the target of increasing persecutions from the Catholic Church and the royal powers.

Despite this hostility, the Vaudois take to working the land ravaged in the Middle Ages, which allows, above all, the re-apparition of the vines.

In April 1545 the execution of the Merindol mandat means the Vaudois must face the exactions organised by the President of the Aix Parliament, Maynier d’Oppède. Destruction and massacre hit a dozen or so villages on both sides of the Luberon, including Cabrières d’Aigues.

Some years later the escaped Vaudois take back possession of the village, but the religious wars have already begun. The Edit of Nantes (1598), along with the re-vocation in 1685, meant difficult living conditions for the reformers.

In full freedom of conscience, more than 200 000 reformers leave France and all their belongings. This is how some Cabrières d’Aigues families came to emigrate to South Africa.

The Vaudois Estate and its creator, Francois Aurouze

Francois Aurouze is a descendant of a long line of farmers with Vaudois roots. He has followed in the tradition of working the land, passed on with passion from his grandfather Léonce Arnoux. (sadly departed too soon).

It is with reference to this historical past that the Vaudois Estate was created in 1988. Formally very diversified and self-sufficient, Francois Aurouze began by opting in favour of a specific viticole development for his exploitation. He now combines the modern techniques with the know how of his ancestors.

The Vaudois Estate (3/4 vineyard and ¼ olive groves) today spreads over twenty odd hectares in the Cabrières d’Aigues commune (in the Vaucluse). 400 meters high, this southernly exposed area of terraced clay and limestone hillside constitutes the Luberon foothills.

The vineyards and the olive groves both share a landscape shaped by the Gallo Romans. On the exposed low lying land in the commune we can make out a scene of a towpath with a small craft laden with logs.

The clayey limestone soil is exploited in the stoney manuring areas, a characteristic feature of the southern Luberon slopes, and is particularly favourable of the red Rhone wine.

Pictures of the Vaudois Estate

Rows of Syrah before the harvest. Syrah planted on the hillside beneath a one-hundred-year-old oak tree. Mature Grenache on the hillside with view over the village, and the Luberon in the background. Young Syrah on the hillside with view over the Alpilles in the background. Bunch of Grenache grapes bursting with sunshine. East-facing Syrah  on terrace with view over the Alps. A plot of land with Syrah on the hillside looking over the Sainte Victoire. Bunch of mature Grenache at sun-set. Cirque du Clos, at the foot of the Luberon.