Château Simone Blanc 2018
A framed menu on the walls at the Château notes that, when the well-to-do people of Aix hosted a lunch for Presidents Mitterand and Berlusconi, white Simone was served with the starter. Whether this is a good or bad advert for the wine is open to interpretation, but it demonstrates that it's held in high regard. The Château Simone Blanc is complex, attractive and very well structured.
The Château Simone Blanc hails from an esoteric blend of 80% Clairette, 10% Grenache Blanc and 5% each of Muscat and Ugni Blanc. After fermentation it is raised on its lees in used oak barrels prior to a Spring bottling. The finished wine has subtle herb and Provençal pine scents and a slightly resinous, mid-weight palate that takes a little while to reveal its full complexity. It benefits enormously from being decanted and should not be over chilled - circa 13 degrees Centigrade is ideal.
It is one of France's great gastronomic wines and cries out for classic Provençal dishes such as salade Niçoise, bouillabaisse or tomates farcies.
|Style||White Wine, Sec, Medium-bodied, Non Sparkling|
|Wine Region||Provence, Palette|
|Grape Variety (Cépage)||Clairette, Grenache Blanc, Muscat, Ugni Blanc|
|Food & Wine Matching||Charcuterie, Olives|
|Cellarage||Ready to drink from bottling but will age well for 3 to 5 years from release.|
|Vinification||Described by Monsieur Rougier as 'grande classique', the wine is fermented in small, old oak foudres and is left on its lees without bâtonnage. Cold underground cellars inhibit a malolactic fermentation (which helps preserve acidity) and the wine is bottled late in the following Spring.|
|Alcohol By Volume (%)||14|
Château Simone is an ancient ecclesiastical estate overlooking the dramatic backdrop of Mont Saint Victoire to the south-east of Aix en Provence. The main property dates back to the 16th Century and in total comprises 17 of the 22.5 hectares of the appellation of Palette, which the Rougier family have tended for seven generations.
Château Simone benefits from very old vines and an unusual Northerly exposure and micro-climate (induced by the surrounding forests), ensuring late and even ripening that brings balance and finesse to the wines. The charming patron of Château Simone, Jean-Francois Rougier is assured and comfortable in his environment just as he is when he discusses his beloved wine and its idiosyncratic cépagement – 17 grape varieties are permitted in Palette giving it the broadest spectrum of grape varieties of any French appellation.
Winemaking at Château Simone has been honed over the centuries and it transcends fad and fashion, evoking a sense of tradition, confidence, respectability and dependable quality. Winston Churchill visited Château Simone and become an enthusiastic convert to its wine, which puts one in mind of his maxim: “My tastes are simple – I like to have the best.”
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