All wines stored at 55° and 70% humidity
I don't really drink southern French whites. I'm guilty of being a snob, of believing that no matter how many "mineral-driven" and "fresh" descriptors are thrown my way I'm simply not going to be inclined to want to finish an entire bottle of any of it, and that's simply my golden rule on buying. That changed big time with Raimond de Villeneuve's Chateau Roquefort and its Petit Salé.
Translating to "Little salty", Petit Salé broke my prejudice in one sip. "I'd finish THAT!", I exclaimed. OK, so it's only 11% alcohol, but still. All the more reason to applaud this delightful feat being pulled off.
This blend of Clairette and Vermentino is built around ripe, unctuous white peach and briny citrus flavors finishing, as one might surmise, with a super persistent salty inflection. There's some skin maceration here that brings a texture juxtaposed nicely to this brisk, high altitude setting that, unlike neighboring Bandol cannot properly ripen Mourvèdre.
Here, it's the secret microclimate set on limestone and clay soils that proved to me a southern French white can deliver all of the mouth-watering salinity as Chablis and Riesling while still capturing the truth of its more orchard fruit-leaning varieties.