Commanderie de Peyrassol ⏤ Pairing Fine Wines with Art
Wine and art: a perfect duo when well-paired, yet too often poorly relegated to those who know nothing about one or the other. This is different at the Commanderie de Peyrassol, where a visit to the estate is as enjoyable as it is enlightening. Centrally located in a small commune in the middle of Provence, just one hour away from Nice, one hour from Marseille and one hour from the Gorges du Verdon, the Commanderie de Peyrassol is situated in Flassans-sur-Isoles, the deep hinterland of Central Var. The vineyard offers 1000 sprawling hectares of land and the possibility to view a private art collection, all within the context of a dry Mediterranean environment.
Address: RN7, 83340, Flassans-sur-Isole, France
Since its founding in 1204, Peyrassol has seen only four owners, dating from the time of the Crusades. First were the Knights Templar, until 1310, up until their arrest: medieval documents suggest wine was being produced on the terrain from 1256, but the King of France was suspicious of their influence and sent them to be executed. Soon thereafter, the Sovereign Military Order of Malta inherited the Commanderie up until the French Revolution in 1789, leaving the estate perfectly intact and adding the red crosses that can still be observed around the estate. The land fell to the State until the 19th century, when a family of landowners, the Rigord family, took over. Their descendant, Françoise Rigord, was the first woman to commercialize Provencal wines internationally in the late 1970s, earning the title the “Dame de Peyrassol”.
In 2001, Philippe Austruy experienced love at first sight: he acquired the estate from Madame Rigord with the aim of combining his two great passions, wine and contemporary art.
A great collector of art and the owner of a number of wine estates in France, Portugal and Tuscany, Monsieur Austruy and his partner, Valérie Bach, owner of the gallery la Patinoire Royale in Brussels, keep part of their personal collection at Peyrassol. About sixty major works, many from artists renowned in the European and international spheres, dot the sculpture garden, while others yet are housed in the Commanderie’s indoor Gallery. The collection contains works by Jean Tinguely, Dan Graham, Frank Stella and Niki de Saint Phalle.
"As Flassans is a country village, Peyrassol is the perfect combination of tradition and modernity."
Guests can engage in oenological activities such as classic cellar visit followed by a tasting. It is also possible to stay overnight and enjoy a meal at the table d’hôte, where the number of covers is limited between 20 and 30 diners. The private chef of Peyrassol is interested in being in contact with each diner, and to go from table to table and interact with them. The traditional, Provençal cuisine is always revisited and given a personal touch. As Flassans is a country village, Peyrassol is the perfect combination of tradition and modernity.
The great Catalan painter Pablo Picasso, who moved to the South of France for the latter part of his life once said, “We all know that art is not a truth. Art is a lie that makes us realize truth, at least the truth that is given to us to understand.” If this was so, we can guess that he was surely a great proponent of that oft-cited phrase in Latin that suggests there is truth in wine: in vino veritas, which we can attest applies just as much to the wines grown at Peyrassol.
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