Chateau Simone

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This historic estate, situated in the hills just south of Aix-en-Provence, has been in the hands of the Rougier family for two centuries and holds a virtual monopoly on the appellation of Palette. I have admired the wines of Château Simone and have followed the evolution of this domaine over the years. Now, many years after my initial introduction (1981) to the Rougiers, we have been asked to marry our work to theirs. It is our privilege to do so.

Château Simone encompasses twenty hectares of vineyards that sit on limestone soils at elevations between 500 and 750 feet above sea level on the slopes of Montaiguet. The special microclimate of this appellation is influenced by the encircling pine forests, the mass of Mont Sainte-Victoire, and the Arc River. The vineyards were reconstituted after the invasion of phylloxera and many vines are over a century old. The Rougiers maintain the particular vinification methods developed and cherished over many decades. For those of you who are not familiar with these wines, whether rouge, blanc or rosé, we believe you will find them to be compelling and unique.

All of the grapes are hand harvested, destemmed, lightly pressed and fermented for 15 to 20 days in small wooden vats with only wild yeast, then put into small foudre to rest on the lees. The white is predominantly Clairette, with small amounts of Grenache Blanc and Ugni Blanc, and a dash of Bourboulenc, Muscat Blanc, Picpoul, Furmint and Sémillon. Fermentation takes place at a relatively warm 68 degrees and aged for one year in 20–30 hl casks then one year in older barrels. The red from Simone is an elegant yet well-constituted wine of great depth. It is primarily composed of Grenache and Mourvèdre but its special character reflects the presence of a mélange other grape varieties, albeit in small proportion, including Cinsault, Syrah, Carignan, Cabernet Sauvignon, Castet, Manosquin, Théoulier, Tibouren, Picpoul Noir and Muscat de Hambourg. (The rosé is the exact same blend) Bottled after 18–24 months of aging in foudres and one year or more in aged barrique, it is assembled without filtration. The wine is a classic that deserves to be aged in order to best appreciate its many nuances: plum, pine resin, cinnamon, truffle and spice among other sensations. We invite you to share our pleasure.

chateau-simone-rose Chateau Simone Palette Rosé: The Château Simone Rosé is a wine that belies the notion that rosés are simple wines to be drunk up young. We have indulged ourselves with 10-year old Château Simone Rosé and have marveled at the tenacity, vibrancy and complexity of this very serious wine. The blend is identical to the rouge: 45% Grenache, 30% Mourvèdre, 5% Cinsault, 20% Syrah, Castet, Manosquin, Carignan, Muscat Noir & Blanc. Aged in barrel, it is powerful and age-worthy with a steely character and a grey-tinted aura to the faded rose-petal robe. We import, on average, 1500 bottles per annum for the US market.
chateau-simone-blanc Chateau Simone Palette Blanc: The white from Simone is a truly unique creation based primarily on Clairette that is supplemented with Grenache Blanc, Bourboulenc, Ugni Blanc and a touch of Muscat Blanc. The white, brisk in its youth, animated by a bouquet of pine-resin, evolves slowly into a sensual masterpiece with its lingering finish built on a mass of minerality. This is a remarkably age-worthy wine with the potential to give ever-more pleasure over a span two decades or more. We have the pleasure of purchasing 2400 bottles per vintage for the US market.
chateau-simone-rouge Chateau Simone Palette Rouge: Those of you who know Simone realize that the red, a tenacious but ultimately elegant wine, is an equal, rather than dominant, partner to the striking rosé and the sublime white. Like the rosé, it is a blend primarily of Grenache, Mourvèdre and Cinsault but there are pockets of old-growth vines of Syrah, Manosquin, Castet, Carignan, Cabernet Sauvignon and Muscat Noir that season the vineyards and add to the stunning complexity of these wines. The influence of Mont Sainte Victoire, its surface covered in rich pine forest, is apparent in the flavors and aromas of the red wine of Simone. Annually, there are 2400 bottles available for the US market.

Summary of Grower Visits – Part VI

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.

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Simone Grands Carmes Blanc 2014

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.

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New Releases from Chateau Simone: January 2018

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 […]

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Chateau Simone Rosé Wrap-up

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 […]

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Simone Blanc and Rouge

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 […]

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