The story throughout the south of France for the 2018 growing season was similar: an inordinate amount of rainfall from February through June engendered a rash of mildew that had growers scrambling, treating between five and ten times as much as usual in many instances. The weather pulled an immediate about-face in July, turning remarkably hot and remarkably dry—conditions which persisted until harvest. This whiplash effect stressed both vines and vignerons, to be sure, but happily the quality of the rosés from Provence is generally outstanding in 2018. The higher amount of rainfall led to rosés not burdened by unwelcome heaviness due to hyper-low yields, but the dryness of the latter part of the growing season prevented a sense of dilution in the final wines. In general, the 2018 rosés from the south of France display impeccable balance, superb drinkability, and a streak of classicism that sets them above the 2017s.
France harbors a vast multitude of talented growers, fascinating appellations, and deep veins of viticultural history. Even among this embarrassment of riches, however, the Rougier family’s Chateau Simone is a true jewel—an estate with a singular terroir, owned by the same family for many generations, with no break in tradition along the way.
I spent a delightful morning with Florence and Jean-Francois (known as “Jeff” to Florence!) Rougier after departing from the early morning visit with Sylvain MOREY. The deep dive into Simone started with a trio of vintages of Grands Carmes Blanc.
Provence – A day for 3 Chateaux ….
CHATEAU SIMONE: what a lovely estate! Each time I visit (and, remember my first visit with the Rougier family was in 1981) I remain impressed by the impeccable grounds, the perfectly maintained cellar and ultimately the consistently excellent and idiosyncratic wines.
Kerry and I revisited this wine over the weekend, opening and drinking most of the bottle yesterday with an udon-based vegetable broth; then, again, tonight to observe the wine’s evolution. It is, actually, spectacularly good, a wine loaded with character, strongly lanolin, petroleum-laced, amidst the background menthol-pine aromatics and flavors.
With its dazzling geological diversity, its ideal latitudinal situation, and its long, proud winegrowing history, France is an embarrassment of vinous riches. It is no accident that it was the French themselves who coined the term terroir—the magical union of soil, climate, grape variety, and knowing human touch which produces that elusive but undeniable sense […]
As befits such a singular estate, Chateau Simone’s Palette Rosé transcends the category itself. Whereas, nearly every other rosé entering the market this upcoming season is from the just-harvested 2016 growing season, we will be premiering Simone’s 2015. And those who know the wine know that it can age and improve effortlessly for a decade […]
First, experience shows that the “oiliness” that is so typical of top quality Simone Blanc develops slowly and intensifies as the wine ages; texturally the mineral drive one divines in the youthful stages and which makes for a more linear sensation recedes as the density of the wine increases, a development which, in turn, yields […]
In a just world, Chateau Simone would be as renowned and coveted by Americans as the greatest Bordeaux and Burgundy are. As it stands, the wines from this singular estate in Provence remain something of an insider’s secret in the United States—hugely respected and beloved by those in the know, but known by far too […]
I had the good fortune to taste the full range with the Rougiers in Chicago in November (including from my cellar, 2000, 1999, 1969 and 1961 white and 2000 and 1961 red). Recall what the Rougiers said, that for the first five years in bottle their wines are on the fruit; for the next five […]
Enjoying this wine immensely this evening. Best when opened an hour in advance. Ultimately drinks “suave” … oily, sensuous texture, pine – quinine – chamomile flavors, great length, so very sophisticated, perhaps the finest white wine from the south of France. NIR