Posts Tagged France

Dreaming of Wine in Provence

French wine from Bandol

Image via Wikipedia

We all have dreams. Try dreaming of Provence. The terrain is stunning: hills, bushes and shrubs in green and ochre. Soft herbal smells of wild lavender, rosemary and thyme fill your nose. Winds surround you. The Mediterranean ocean is in front of you. Then there is wine. But in the winter, spending hours in fascinating conversation in people’s wine cellars is a cold pleasure. The good thing is, you are almost alone. I recommend Norwegian wool underwear, or going in Summer, Spring or Fall. Failing that, simply dream about it, and read on (Dreaming of Wine in Provence, Color Magazine – Ed. 34 – Feb. 2011).

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Domaine le Galantin in Bandol

Last week, I visited Celine Pascal at Domaine le Galantin in Bandol. What impressed me most about Celine was her stupendous terroir, visually stunning and evidently present in the bottle as well.

Domaine Le Galantin Bandol Red (2007, $20, 90/100)
Fantastic wine with dark berry, gamy, leathery flavors. Displays soft, round, yet powerful tannins and a structure with the promise of longevity. Made from 95% Mourvedre and 5% Grenache grapes.

Interview Part I (in French)

Interview Part II (in French)

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Chateau de Saint Martin in Provence (with audio)

A glass of rosé wine. The color is deeper than...

Image via Wikipedia

Chateau de Saint-Martin is an ancient place ruled by women for millennia. Providing a particular perception of her US consumers, Adeline de Barry, owner of Château Saint Martin, said to me: “we have two bottle shapes, one traditional one for local tourists and for the American market, and one more elegant one for the Paris market.” She should know, since she is aristocracy herself and her wine is served in the Élysée Palace.

Château de Saint Martin Eternelle Favorite rosé (2009, $15, 90/10)

The floral perfume of rose petal and fragrant, subtle spices is immediate on the nose. What follows  is delicate red fruits with hints of mandarin, grapefruit, almonds, spice, ginger and a long, lingering aftertaste unheard of for a young rosé. The wine simply blew me away and the bottle is extraordinarly chic, cool and  cosmopolitan for a traditionally minded French region. The whole experience strangely made me start trying to imagine how vodka would taste if it were made in the Mediterranean climate. It also made me think of the concepts of beauty, purity, and aristocracy, quite fitting for my tasting location in a Château where noble men and most importantly women have lived for centuries and centuries. Having dinner into the night with Ana Chavarri Padilla, winemaker and Adeline de Barry, owner, I felt fortunate to experience the unique pleasures of a simple wine writer, unique attention and care. Their pitch is “a rosé devoted to women’s pleasure”.  Are their wines feminine? I think so. But they are never trying to hard. They just are.

I have massive amounts of audio from my time spent at this Chateau, most of it in English, some in French. I will (hopefully) add some short video shortly. Listening to these sound tracks it should be possible to imagine you are right in Provence in the middle of Winter.


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