Château Maravenne, Côtes de Provence

A few months ago the International Wine Challenge awarded a silver medal to a £5.99 Provence Rosé from Aldi, a fact that gained plenty of media attention thanks to Aldi’s press release, trumpeting this success and pointing out that other silver medalists in the category cost more. I was interviewed by BBC Radio on the story, and pointed out that Provence Rosé – in general – is constrained within a certain price band and that, by its very nature, many of the wines are of similar quality. So a £5.99 wine ‘beating’ a £10 wine really isn’t a huge story when all’s said and done.

When interviewer Kaye Adams asked “does that mean it’s all naff?” I was quick to answer with a definite ‘no’. Provence Rosé is extremely well-made by and large, and I pointed out that the there are some producers pushing the boundaries to make wines of great quality. Not all Provence Rosés are created equal.

Maravenne wineChâteau Maravenne has been farmed organically and certified organic since the year 2000, sited opposite Port-Cros on the Côtes de Provence not far from St Tropez. It is a 75-hectare estate, with one third planted to vine, growing Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah, as well as some Cabernet Sauvignon. For white wines they rely on a single local variety, Rolle, also known as Vermentino in other areas of France and Europe.

The vineyards cover a variety of soil types, the prime rosé terroir being slate on the upper slopes of the Massif des Maures. Lower on the slopes the soil becomes richer with more clay, excellent for red wines, and then the Rolle is planted on light sandy soils at the bottom of the hills, just a kilometre or so from the coast.

The estate has been under new family ownership since 2013, with a renewed emphasis on quality, and the wines are now being brought to the UK by passionate independent merchant The Solent Cellar. They are available in their Lymington shop, or online via Please note, for those lucky enough to have snagged a ticket, The Solent Cellar will be pouring wines, including Château Maravenne, at my London Festival of Wine 2017.

The Wines

(2017) Made from 100% Rolle, or Vermentino as it is also known, this is unoaked and has exemplary freshness, obviously picked quite early as it is both bone-dry and has only 12.5% alcohol. It's a lovely bright and summery wine, pristine aromas of firm yellow plums, orchard fruit and a touch of sweet almond as well as hints of blossom. In the mouth the clarity and texture is so reminiscent of its rosé partner in many ways, focused more on racy, dry pear and a touch of apricot, but the verve and saline tang carries through in the long finish. Poised, elegant and seafood friendly. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2017) A blend of Cinsault, Grenache and Syrah, this Côtes de Provence pink is certified organic and has a pale peachy-pink colour. On the nose it has delightful fragrance: small red berries like redcurrants and a touch of downy peach skins, with the mineral hint of sea breezes. In the mouth it is both concentrated and elegant, certainly plenty of sweet and ripe fruit to fill the mouth, but that clarity of the acidity, that saline hint, all giving lovely gastronomic appeal too, finishing bone dry with plenty of verve and tang.

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