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.
Grapes are sourced from the winery’s oldest plot, where the vines range in age from 75 to 100 years old. Yields average a miniscule 20 hl/ha. The vineyard is certified organic.
A blend of old vine Carignan and Syrah. Until recently, Carignan had fallen out of favour with Mediterranean winemakers. It is a fairly difficult grape to grow, being particularly sensitive to various forms of mildew. It ripens late and is extremely vigorous, often making rather ordinary wines when yields are not checked. But it has experienced a bit of a renaissance of late, as consumers’ thirst for full, concentrated and deeply-coloured wines continues to grow. It is usually blended with other grapes, almost exclusively in southern France and northern Spain.
Vinified over the course of 3 weeks. Gentle punch-downs. Aged in concrete.
A limited production wine named for how difficult the old plot is to farm and harvest: ‘Punishment’. Delicate aromas of garrigue behind abundant notes of rich, dark fruits like blackberry and cassis. The palate is full, heady and supple.