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.
Château 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 thesolentcellar.co.uk. 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.