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-les-Maures is located on the Mediterranean coast between Toulon and Saint-Tropez. It is a tiny sub-appellation of Côtes de Provence in the far southeast of France. Wine has been produced here for over 2600 years, making Provence the oldest wine producing region of France. Similar to other areas of Provence, 75% of La Londe wine is rosé, with the remainder being entirely red. White wines produced in the area are sold under the general Côtes de Provence title.
Château Les Valentines extends over 50 hectares of schist where grapevines, pine forests and garrigue scrubland enjoy full southern exposure. The fruit used for ‘Miss Valentine’ is sourced from 50 year-old vines, from vineyards throughout the Côtes Méditerranée IGP. The old, deep-rooted vines allow the plants to grow exceptional, concentrated fruit in ideal conditions, balanced by the cool Mistral winds.
Grenache/Syrah wines have been made for many centuries. Both members of the blend prefer warm climates, such as those found in southern France. To this blend, Grenache contributes its classic bright, stewed-strawberry and raspberry flavors, juicy palate and high potential alcohol. Syrah, the “darker” variety of the pair, provides structure and spice, with notes of blueberry, licorice and the occasional gamey note.
Old vines hand-harvested a little earlier than the rest of Château Les Valentines’ cuvées. This is done to achieve an extra level of thirst-quenching freshness. The wine is produced using direct press; instead of “bleeding off” (Saignée) a portion of wine during red wine production, the grapes are fermented and macerated with the intent of making rosé, with careful attention paid to the desired colour from the pigment in the skins. Utilizing this method, and attention to detail, the wines are aged in stainless steel for a short period before being bottled young and vibrant.
A wine created for sheer sipping pleasure. The pale pink/salmon colour is brilliant in the glass. The nose is an intoxicating mixture of pink grapefruit, tart raspberry and a hint of anise. On the palate, the wine is surprisingly dry and crisp. There is berry fruit, but there is more citrus than red fruit. The pink grapefruit continues and there is some cherry and a touch of fennel or garrigue that adds complexity. The wine has a wonderful salinity on the finish; you can almost taste the ocean. Perfect to sip on a hot day or to partner with grilled shrimp kebabs or vegetable stir fry.