Summer has truly arrived on the Côte d’Azur and with all this beautiful, warm weather, it can only mean one thing: it’s officially the rosé season!
No doubt you’ve already enjoyed a cheeky glass or two of the pink stuff, so why not take advantage of the good fortune that living in the land of rosé brings, and visit the vineyards themselves? Pick wisely and you can look forward to an experience which combines top quality wines in stunning locations. Here’s our guide to five of the best:
There’s little argument that the iconic, amphora shaped bottle, as well as the salmon-hued nectar found inside, has made Domaines Ott the rosé of choice in beach bars between Monaco and St. Tropez. Befitting of such a reputation, the vineyards of Domaines Ott are spread out over three impressive estates in the Var, so take your pick: from the inland Château de Selle near Draguignan, to the coastal Clos Mireille in La Lande des Maures. Without forgetting Château Romassan in picturesque Bandol, which produces a rosé from the local appellation. The tasting rooms at each are open Monday to Friday.
Wine pedigrees don’t get much more impressive than that of Sacha Lichine at Château d’Esclans in La Motte. The son of Alexis Lichine, of Château Prieuré-Lichine in Bordeaux fame, Sacha landed in Provence with a single aim: to create the finest rosé in the world. Many would agree that he’s achieved that goal. A visit to Château d’Esclans will introduce you to the variety of wines they produce. Start with the entry level (and poetically named) Whispering Angel and continue to the eponymous Château d’Esclans and Les Clans.
Don’t be surprised, however, if their prestige cuvée Garrus is not offered at the tasting counter, since it can currently claim to be the worlds’ most expensive rosé wine. Why not treat yourself to a bottle to bring home instead? Prior booking is recommended.
Along with Domaines Ott, Château Minuty is a name you’ll recognise from many a Riviera restaurant and bar wine list. As with all rosé, a glass is best served chilled, and rest assured that, once contextualised, your next glass of Minuty will taste even better.
Found along the St. Tropez peninsula, Minuty’s newly renovated tasting room encourages visits from rosé lovers all year round. Discover the three cuvées (Or, Prestige and M de Minuty) in their home setting, a stunning coastal property covering an immense 70 hectares. Open Monday to Friday year round, and Saturdays in the summer months.
Sometimes the best experiences are those which are completely new and unexpected, and there’s every chance that the highlight of any tasting itinerary would be discovering Château Volterra. Under the watchful eye of Canadian born Josef Schengili since 1999, this estate can boast a dream location on the water’s edge in the Gulf of St Tropez. The Château of Volterra is one of the most spectacular of the region, with a rich history and perfectly manicured gardens to match. Without forgetting the all important vines, of course, a neat six hectares used to produce a boutique selection. Visits by reservation only.
Château de Saint Martin
If you’re having troubles designating a driver for your tasting adventure, then Château de Saint Martin in Taradeau is the perfect destination, offering the bonus of an onsite chambre d’hôte! Another picture perfect property in the Var, settle in and chose a favourite from their four cuvees of rosé and a sparkling pink! Records suggest wine was first produced here in the tenth century, making the beautiful Château seem relatively youthful, only dating from the 1700’s.
The five rooms are period-furnished and were even the setting for some romance in the film version of Lady Chatterley’s Lover. Take your lead from the big screen and book in for a romantic weekend, since in summer visitors are welcomed seven days a week.
Looking for further inspiration? The website Route des vins de Provence is a fantastic resource to plan your own itinerary throughout the vineyards of Provence. Santé!
And we also recommend that you check out Chrissie’s wine blog, Riviera Grapevine – well worth the read!
Lead image credit: jlgph / 123RF Stock Photo; Château Minuty image courtesy their website; Château de Saint Martin images courtesy of the Château