• Provençal Mystique Among the Pines: Château Simone
    Provençal Mystique Among the Pines: Château Simone
    Château Simone encompasses equal amounts of mystique and intrigue. Located just south of Aix-en-Provence, this historic estate inhabits nearly all of the Palette appellation. Its white and rosé are as distinct as the singular terroir of this centuries-old estate hidden among pines. The echelon of great French domaines like to have boundaries written by classifications, but Château Simone is a prime example of where those rules are firmly broken. This is Grand Cru Provence.
    The iconic castle of Simone was inhabited by the monks of Grands Carmes d'Aix, the cellars originally dug in the 16th century. In 1830, its vines were turned over to the Rougier family. Jean Rougier was the fourth generation here, and in 1948, he put Palette on the map by petitioning for and winning AOC status.
    The north-facing Montaiguet massif and its limestone soils play a vital role in the understated and regal nature of the wines here. Warm Provence temperatures are mitigated by its exposition and the microclimate created by high altitude, deep pine forests, and abundant rivers. Though we're in Provence, it's in many ways a wild mountain region unto itself.
    Simone's process spares no expense, harvesting in small bins and sorting grapes a second time after crushing. The purity of fruit from the 100-year-old-vines here is vivid, and textures are suave and polished without the least bit of influence by vanillin new oak. This address has been guided by tradition for hundreds of years, with modern advancements only implemented sparingly.

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  • Provence Icon: Domaine Tempier Bandol Rosé
    Provence Icon: Domaine Tempier Bandol Rosé
    In 1941, Lulu and Lucien Peyraud put Bandol on the AOC map by petitioning for official recognition. Today, Domaine Tempier is perhaps more synonymous with its appellation than any domaine in France. While there's a push each year to get the new vintage of their rosé on the market to quench the ever-increasing thirst of summer's appetite, the best of Tempier's rosé is always yet to come through bottle development. 
    Domaine Tempier's 2022 Bandol Rosé just arrived, plus a restock of the 2021 vintage is on the way! The rosé blend is 55% Mourvèdre, 25% Grenache, and 20% Cinsault, planted on limestone and clay soils above the Mediterranean Coast. The secret to this highly coveted pink is its ability to transform over time while holding onto that critical freshness. Visiting the domaine in July 2016 proved these back-vintage rosés and reds deserve their place among France's most cherished estates.

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  • 1793-Outlier: Provence’s Clos Cibonne Rosé
    1793-Outlier: Provence's Clos Cibonne Rosé

    That was the year the Roux family purchased the estate from Jean-Baptiste de Cibon and planted the rare goblet-trained Tibouren red variety. Tibouren is as obscure as the style of rosé that has been made here for centuries. And, the single red wine example from Cibonne is a departure stylistically from most Provence reds, as its lighter-bodied style and elegant personality strut their stuff when bottles are served chilled––a perfect summertime red.

    The Cibonne rosés (five of them) are the main attraction here, and rightfully so, as they can all age and develop positively for a decade or more. Cuvée Tradition is aged in 100-year-old foudres sous-voile (under a thin veil of flor) giving faint hints of briny clementines and almonds. The fruit is not emphasized in this rosé like most, instead, notes of cardamon and anise take a prominent role next to the white peach and strawberry foundation.

    If there's one thing that impresses all who drink Cibonne's rosés for the first time, it is surely the un-ending finish that lingers with spice and salty fruit thanks to the proximity of Cibonne's vines from the Mediterranean, just 800 meters away. If you've ever wanted a jolt of excitement for Provence reds or rosés, this is the historic domaine you need to try.


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