At Chateau la Mascaronne, traditional techniques are combined with technological innovation to create a range of beautiful rosés. They’ve received frequent awards for the quality of their wines and have a growing international reputation. Marketing manager Stephen Goodchild tells us a bit more.
Tell us a bit about the history of your label.
La Mascaronne was acquired in 1999 by Indiana-born Tom Bove, who was then resident at the historic Chateau Miraval. After the sale of Miraval to the Pitt-Jolies, Tom embarked on an ambitious program of remodeling the rocky and hilly vineyards. Boulders were excavated and stones crushed – all to enhance the very special and differentiated terroir of this Domaine – before replanting. With organic production, a newly equipped cellar and barrel-ageing room, La Mascaronne enjoys a growing international reputation for its Quat’saisons Rosé and for its small-production Guy da Nine Rosé, fermented in Bordeaux barrels.
What’s your underlying philosophy as wine-makers?
The entire team at La Mascaronne is committed to the quest for quality in each stage of wine production.
Following organic production methods no pesticides or chemical products are deployed and yields are restricted to a maximum of 35HL/HA. At harvest, we take risks with the weather to ensure grapes are picked at optimal maturity. Our regular local pickers carefully pick the grapes by hand in the early morning.
What happens next in your wine-making process?
The grapes are then collected in small containers of 35kg and transferred rapidly to the cellar. Here a team of women sort carefully through the grapes, discarding anything that would be detrimental to the quality (such as leaves, wood, under ripe/overripe grapes). We have two pneumatic presses, which we use to process the grapes rapidly, minimizing oxidization. We use new French oak barrels for ageing the wines.
We also believe in regular tasting, so we meet with our oenologues on a monthly basis to taste and review the evolution of our wines in the barrel. We bottle the wines on-site at the Domaine using our own bottling line, before storing the bottles in a temperature-controlled stockroom.
How would you sum up your best wine in three words?
Delivers the promise
In your opinion, what makes Provençal rosé special?
Provence rosé captures in a glass the extraordinary quality of life in Provence. Leading US wine critic Robert Parker said that Provence possesses the best climate for viticulture in France. Provence has recently seen massive investment in vineyards, wine-making techniques and innovation. When you combine this with the huge variety of wine styles produced, Provence is the standard bearer for top quality dry rosé.
Why do you think rosé wine has increased in popularity in recent years?
Rosé found a ready market with young wine drinkers venturing into their first experiences with wine. Pink is pretty in the glass and approachable, often not too expensive and usually delicious. It pairs easily with food – especially with Thai and other ethnic cuisines whose popularity is similarly fast-growing – and at the dinner table it bridges the gap between red and white.
It has also become fashionable to drink Rosé, evoking the sun–drenched carefree lifestyle of St Tropez and the Cote d’Azur. Now no longer restricted to summer drinking, rosé is enjoyed in all Quat’saisons! And, considering that it’s a drink that was once perceived as the preserve of ladies only, the trending message is that “real men drink rosé” too.
Not including your own, what are your three favorite Provence rosés?
Château Mira Luna, Fleur de L’Amaurigue and Château L’Afrique
Photo Credit: provencewineusa.com and Vin de Terre