Palette wine - Château Simone
Boasting more permitted grape varieties than any other appellation bar Châteauneuf-du-Pape (seventeen, since you ask), Palette is one of southern France's oldest enclaves of viticulture and was developed by Carmelite monks in the Middle Ages. It is dominated by the celebrated Château Simone - located 4 kilometres to the east of Aix-en-Provence at Meyreuil - which has been in the hands of the Rougier family since 1830. Their Château Simone blanc is made from a blend of Clairette, Grenache Blanc, Muscat and Ugni Blanc (in descending proportions) that are vinified in vats and then left on its fine lees in barrels over winter. The finished wine has wild herb and scrub scents and a rounded orchard fruit palate with resinous Provençal pine undertones. The rosé, made from Grenache Noir, Mourvèdre and Cinsault, has a deep terracotta robe, forest fruit aromas and flavours and a persistent dry finish. It is ideally suited to Provençal cuisine rich in fish, vegetables, garlic and olive oil. Completing an enviable line-up is the magnificent red Château Simone that is blended from a base of Grenache, Mourvèdre and Cinsault and a smattering of archaic grape varieties such as Castet and Manosquin. With a bouquet of sandalwood and dark berries and a palate of autumnal fruit supported by fine-grained tannins, it merits decanting and can age well for a decade or longer.