A few years ago, more precisely in 2006, Virginie Fabre and her partner Guillaume Philip came into the spotlight in the world of vineyards and wine, obtaining medals, distinctions and prizes for their first production of rosé wine, 2005 vintage, in the sub-region of Côtes-de-Provence Sainte-Victoire. The local wine-making microcosm was happy to attend the event and the birth of a new concept, "MiP" for Made in Provence. And everyone who thought these new ideas were merely a flash in the pan quickly had to reconsider. Twelve years later, the drawers are filled with medals and many of the wines produced by Guillaume & Virginie are benchmarks.
The story begins in 1979 with Virginie’s father’s creation of a vineyard in the scree, at the foot of Cézanne’s Mont Sainte-Victoire, in Puyloubier. Busy with his pastimes, the farmer did not have the time to build his own wine cellar, and it is the trade that benefits from the quality of his wine. But it is evident that he loved his job and shared his passion, since his daughter Virginie, decided to embark on her own adventure. To start off with solid foundations, she had the excellent idea of studying at the Montpellier wine school. This was the right choice for two reasons, since as well as the quality education that was provided and absorbed, she met the young man who would become her partner, Guillaume Philip, in a lecture theatre. We don’t know if it was love at first sight, which for the young winemakers would have been logical, but this love story was certainly going to produce a lot of heart-stopping favourites!
In June 2005, the young lovebirds emerged from their studies, joined Virginie’s father on his estate and straight away began to implement what they had been taught while adding their own personal touch. They created the Made in Provence concept, and developed original and tasteful packaging for worthy wines. Their first task was to target a young and trendy clientele. "You have to shatter the image that wine sometimes has of being an inaccessible product," they chorus. Their first rosé wine in the Côtes de Provence Sainte-Victoire appellation was a success. The colour was a limpid rosewood, the nose had mineral, acidic and red berry notes, the mouth was fresh and delicate, long on the red berries and citrus. The first gem in a long series.
The following year they made a splash with the Côtes de Provence "Made in Provence" and Sainte-Victoire "Lucie". Everything was on track. MiP had been established in just a year. "Our customers appreciate the nice, fun side of the bottle," not to mention the quality of the wine. In the cellar, the larger bottles, Jeroboam and Methuselah, had been brought out. Large labels stencilled by hand, necks waxed bottle after bottle: it took considerable effort. But success came to reward them.
In 2007 Virginie and Guillaume Philip became the owners of Domaine des Diables, approximately forty acres of pebbles and red clay to the south of Puyloubier. The first production of wine there led to the first distinctions. Since then, the adventure has continued for Les Diables, with the restructuring of the vineyard and the construction of a wine cellar.
The arrival of Paul in 2010 reminded Virginie and Guillaume that there is more to life than wine... But, very quickly, Paul became part of his parents’ professional life. He has already shaken hands with three ministers of agriculture, when his parents were presented with medals for the Order of Agricultural Merit and the Awards for Excellence in the Concours Général Agricole competition. Created in 2000, this award for excellence aims, for each major category of produce and wines, to distinguish producers for the excellence of the results they have obtained during the last three sessions of the competition. Unlike the medal, this prize does not reward a product but a producer. To qualify for the title, you must have obtained the best ratio of medals obtained/samples presented and awarded at the Concours Général Agricole. A unique occurrence in the annals of regional wine cultivation, under the leadership of Virginie and Guillaume Philip, Le Domaine des Diables has won this award for excellence eight years in a row, from 2011 to 2018! Add that to many favourites in the Hachette Wine Guide and you get a reputation that shows no signs of dying off.
"On the Provence Wine Route, Sainte-Victoire is the right place" says Guillaume. And on the paths of Sainte-Victoire the Domaine des Diables is a good stop for oenophiles. In ten years, the wines that are passionately developed here have been all over the world. Rose Bonbon, MiP and Hydropathe are enjoyed in the USA, the French and Dutch Antilles, Brazil, Great Britain, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Italy, Japan, the Czech Republic, Russia and even in Asia on the famous island of Koh Phi Phi... And enthusiasm for it isn’t waning. Nor is the work done by the two young winemakers, it must be said. Where others would have been tempted to take their foot off the gas from time to time to have a bit of fun, Virginie, Guillaume and their close-knit team are constantly finding ways to improve things. To improve the growth of the vines, to optimise the work in the cellar, to have only one goal to achieve: maintain and, if possible, increase the quality of the wines. Creativity has just been added to this priority, so that each vintage is marked by something new in the packaging of the bottles and the format of the containers. It’s also a case of having the ability to create the event every year, without moving a single metre away from this young and modern image that suits them so well.
Ten years of love, ten years of success, under the protection of the Sainte-Victoire mountain. While the story is beautiful, it's not a fairy tale. This story is theirs and they write it every day.
The estate will be closed after 12PM. Domaine des Diables will be present at the Présentation of a new vintage 2018 of Côtes de Provence Sainte-Victoire on Monday 17th of June 2019 in Marseille (Palais du Pharo). This exhibition is reserved for the professionals of the...