Situated in one of the most beautiful places on earth, just a few miles from St. Tropez on the French Mediterranean, Château Les Valentines is located inside the Côtes de Provence La Londe AOC, considered the “Grand Cru” site for rosé wine in France. Close proximity to the ocean mitigates the hot summer days, as does the Mistral wind that comes howling down from the Rhône to empty out into the ocean. This allows the grapes to retain their acidity while still ripening the Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah that form the backbone of Les Valentines’ gutsy reds and beautifully-structured rosés. The winery also produces fresh whites from Ugni Blanc, Clairette and aromatic Vermentino. There are few regions that take their rosé wines as seriously as Provence does. These are from low-yielding vineyards earmarked specifically for optimal rosé wine, not simply bled off vats of red wine. The quintessential summer sipper, but with more than enough weight and character to be enjoyed all year round. Château Les Valentines has vineyards that have been growing grapes for over a century. They sold their harvest to a local cooperative before finally opening their own winery in 1997. Since then, their wines have accrued international recognition and are served in some of the finest hotels and restaurants in the world. These extremely small-batch wines come with tremendous pedigree, but are incredibly affordable as well! Gorgeously-styled bottles make a stunning presentation, but the wine inside more than delivers.
La Londe is a tiny sub appellation of the Côtes de Provence, the core appellation of the Provence wine region in the far southeast of France. Similar to other areas of Provence, 75% of La wine is rosé, with the remainder being entirely red. White wines produced in the area are sold under the general Côtes de Provence title. Located on the Mediterranean coast just east of Toulon, the La vineyards are spread between the communes of Hayers and La Londe-les Mares itself, as well as some specific areas of Bormes-les-Mimosas and La Car. The best sites are situated on the southeast facing slopes of the southern Massif des Mares hills. Wine has been made here for over 2600 years, making Provence the oldest wine producing region of France.
In La Londe-les-Maures, on the coast between Toulon and St. Trapeze, in the Côtes de Provence wine region, Château Les Valentines extends over 50 hectares of schist where grapevines, pine forests and garrigue scrubland enjoy full southern exposure. Wines are made with estate-grown fruit from 40 to 110 year old vines. The old, deep-rooted vines allow the plants to grow exceptional, concentrated fruit in ideal conditions balanced by the cool Mistral winds. La Londe AOC is considered the “Grand Cru” site for rosé wine in France. The grapes for this wine have and average age of 60 years.
Syrah is grown throughout the world, producing beautifully diverse and interesting wines. Syrah was found to be the offspring of two obscure grapes from southeastern France, Dureza and Mondeuse Blanche. The style and flavour profile of Syrah is greatly influenced by the climate in which the grapes are grown. Moderate climates, such as the northern Rhône Valley and parts of Walla Walla in Washington State, tend to produce medium- to full-bodied wines with medium to high levels of tannins and notes of blackberry, mint and black pepper. In hot climates, Syrah is more consistently full-bodied with softer tannin, jammier fruit and spice notes of licorice, anise and earthy leather. In cooler climates like the Val d’Aosta, care must be given to allow plenty of daytime sun to allow ripening before the cool evenings arrive. While best known for its work in the Rhone Valley, it also is prevalent in Languedoc and Roussilon.
Hand-harvested, sorted and de-stemmed. Fermented in open top vats with daily punchdowns. After pressing, the grapes mature in 228l French oak barriques for a year, before another 5 years in bottle before release.
A heady nose of kirsch, red plum, black cherry and toasty oak. Dark fruits on entry, blackberry, plum, currant, with some dark chocolate and a touch of garrigue. There are some polished tannins and decent balancing acidity, but this wine is rich and unctuous, despite clocking in at a moderate 13% alc/vol. Enjoyable on its own as a contemplation wine, it would pair wonderfully with a roast beef dinner.