As glimpses of sunshine start to peek through Scottish clouds, and temperatures edge higher, a wine drinker’s thoughts inevitably turn to rosé. If you haven’t already discovered Château Grand Boise, allow us to make an introduction that might help with your drinking choices this summer.
First, a little background. Château Grand Boise is located in Provence’s stunning Arc Valley near the steep slopes of Montagne Sainte Victoire. The exceptional light drew Cézanne – and many other artists – to the area, which remains a marvel of nature. Birds of prey patrol the skies while wild boar and hares live at peace in a perfect eco-system.
Wine has been made here since Roman times and Grand Boise itself has a history dating back to 1610. The estate has changed hands only three times and has taken its current form since 1879 when three plots of land were combined. It lies 15 miles from Aix-en-Provence, directly opposite Montagne Sainte Victoire, with the vines sitting alongside olive groves and woodland. The combination of altitude and exposure to the sun gives beautifully fresh wines with excellent balance, all produced without the use of fertilisers or pesticides.
The estate boasts efficient technology and modern equipment but retains close ties with traditions, and vines share the space with olive groves and roaming sheep. The vines are planted mainly on north-facing slopes, on limestone, clay, and pink marble soils. They grow in small parcels, dotted around the hillside, meaning the grapes can be picked at various times, ensuring they are at their best when they are harvested. Picking takes place in early morning to maximise flavour and fermentation is in a stainless steel tank. The resulting wines are certified organic and are bottled on the estate. The process is carefully monitored by Jean Simonet (pictured), the estate manager, who now looks after 45 hectares of vines, which produce grapes for red and white wines as well as rosé, under the AOC Côtes-de-Provence Sainte-Victoire and AOC Côtes-de-Provence categorisations.
The process of making the rosé wines starts with the lightly crushed red grapes being left to macerate. This allows some of the pigments from the red skins to produce the pink liquid, which is then separated from the skins before the juice is transferred to vats to ferment. We have added the 2021 vintage of the rosé to our list. It is a blend of 50% Grenache grapes, 30% Cinsault and 20% Syrah. The aromas are bright and fresh, with white peach, floral, mineral and white pepper notes. It’s delicious on its own, but also a great match for Mediterranean dishes or lightly spiced food.
For those who prefer reds, we offer the Auro – the name means ‘wind’ in Provencal dialect – which is fruity and light, and should be drunk young, and Liberté Chérie, which is beautifully balanced and has strong fruity flavours. Production is limited to 1,000 bottles a year.
And, if white is your thing, the Château Grand Boise Blanc is a great example from this part of the world. Made from Vermentino grapes, it is citrusy with flavours that linger on the palate, and is a perfect accompaniment for fish dishes and light summer food.
The Grand Boise estate has been on our radar for some time, so we’re pleased to now have access to its wines. We’re delighted to be able to offer such a great selection – we think there’s something for all tastes. Santé !