Radiating from the base of France‘s Mount Sainte-Victoire, the estate vineyards and winery for Château Gassier produces some of the most exemplary rosé wines in the Provence region—from fresh and fun to round and complementary. In fact, their unique microclimate and position within the Arc Valley affords all of these wines the specific designation as a Côtes de Provence Sainte-Victoire—a sub-appellation recognized since ’05. And here, Château Gassier welcomes guests into their home, granting lovers of rosé a detailed, dynamic and quite pink peek into their produce and products.
Across their 40-hectare estate vineyard—planted with Grenache, Cinsault, Rolle and Syrah—a terroir of clay and limestone gives way to patches of silt and sand. At an altitude of 330 meters, wind sweeps over the vines, bringing along salty Mediterranean air. With a setting so spectacular, the French government declared the sub-region a natural reserve, referred to as a Grand Site de France.
The cultivation and winemaking processes on the grounds have been certified organic. Grapes are de-stemmed by hand and vinification occurs through direct press and then a brief pellicle maceration. Château Gassier’s vinification process is kept oxygen-free, thus preserving aromas that will later emphasize the qualities of their wines.
Of course, then, the focal point of any visit is the liquid itself. A brief survey of the portfolio reveals two distinct paths the brand’s forged for itself: premium gastronomic rosé’s and their crisp, well-priced flagship, known as the Esprit Gassier. The Esprit contains a blend of Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault and Rolle. Quite lively, and undeniably celebratory, it holds up to food well. And at $14, there’s nothing better at its price point.
With their 946 series, greater structure takes hold. From the opening, peachy notes to silky smooth texture, there’s no residual sugar left on the palate. It’s a premium product but that isn’t to say it’s not fun. Then there’s the Elegante which has spent 24 months in oak barrels—an aging session that imparts a light, creamy flavor. Unexpectedly reserved (though, the name does nod to its elegance), the wine sips almost like a white. Altogether, it’s a wine with the potential to age at home and savor later.
The Château Gassier estate hosts visitors for a slate of events, including picnics, tasting workshops, strolls through the vines and even open-air film screenings. But there’s nothing quite like taking a stroll along their three-kilometer wine trail, which offers spectacular views and informational panels every so often. It’s a setting so exquisite that it inspired Cézanne time and time again. After a walk, it’s recommended to take up another glass of rosé and play a game of pétanque in a courtyard enveloped by the pink-roofed visitors center, all out in the marvelous Provence weather.
Images courtesy of Château Gassier