Oustau de Baumaniere, Provence

Hotel. Although many people would never consider visiting the “Valley of Hell,” the Oustau de Baumaniere gastronomic inn makes it worthwhile. Located in Les Baux-de-Provence, a small village in southern France, amidst the Alpilles Mountains, it is believed that the rocky terrain and steep cliffs of the village inspired Dante Alighieri’s vision of Purgatory. But today, it is the beauty and uniqueness of this village and the amazing hotels like Oustau de Baumaniere that attract hundreds of tourists year-round. A 17th century farmhouse run by Jean-André and Geneviève Charial rests against the mountains providing a tranquil sanctuary filled with gardens and antique guest rooms to rest your head.

Wine. Owner and executive chef, Jean-André Charial, learned the art of winemaking from his grandfather and father. Always expecting to go into the family business and continue the tradition of excellence at Oustau de Baumaniere, Jean-Andre fostered a passion for the vines and toady he produces his own version, L’Affectif, from old Grenache stock. But besides having its own house wine, the cellar at Oustau de Baumaniere astounds even the critics. Comprised of a collection of rare vintages and labels as well as lesser-known glories, over the years the “100,000 flagon” cellar has become the heart of the property.

Dining. With a philosophy of “perfection and simplicity” it is no wonder that the dishes created by Jean-André are clean, classic and utterly to-die-for. One classic dish that has become Jean-André’s trademark is truffle and leek raviolis. Of course the chef has mastered all of the local delicacies, but above-all Jean-André makes sure to stay true to the produce of Les Baux-de-Provence’s purity