Palette wine - Château Simone
Château Simone is a former Carmelite monastery whose imperious twin spires can be briefly glimpsed, amidst a backdrop of pine trees, from 'La Provençale' autoroute heading south towards Marseilles. Lying within the city limits of Aix-en-Provence in the commune of Meyreuil, its north-facing vineyards are planted with 17 different grape varieties, the most permitted in any appellation in France. Current patron Jean-François Rougier is the eighth generation of his family to make wine here at this wonderfully anachronistic and historically important estate. His current vine-holdings extend over 23 hectares producing acclaimed red, white and rosé wines from carefully-crafted and complex blends.
The Château Simone blanc is assembled from Clairette, Grenache Blanc, Ugni Blanc, Bourboulenc and Muscat in respectively diminishing proportions and undergoes an 18 month élévage in vat and barrel prior to bottling. The finished wine has an alluring bouquet of wild herbs and flowers, sandalwood and lemon balm preceding a palate of orchard fruit with resinous undertones. It merits decanting and cellars well for 3-5 years. The deep terracotta-toned rosé is made from a blend of 45% Grenache Noir, 30% Cinsault and lesser volumes of Syrah, Carignan, Muscat, Castet and Manosquin. It has diverse red fruit scents and flavours and enough tannic grip to compliment Mediterranean dishes rich in garlic and olive oil, such as filet de rouget with aioli. The renowned red is produced from 45% Grenache Noir and 30% Mourvèdre along with a 'field blend' of at least six supporting grapes. It is matured for 20 months in oak barrels of various sizes and ages before being blended and bottled without filtration. Typically, it exhibits forest floor and dark berry scents yielding to a palate of autumnal fruit, leather and game. It is a great gastronomic wine that will readily support 10-20 years bottle age.