ownerClaire & Felix de Luxembourg
- Vineyard Area: 50 ha
- Soil Type: Rocky limestone and clay soil
- Varieties Cultivated: Grenache and Cinsault
- Annual Production: 280,000 bottles
- Country: France
Château Les Crostes has achieved renown in AOC Côtes de Provence for their pale, mineral-driven and aromatic cuvées of rosé. Tucked into the hills, surrounded by forests outside the charming village of Lorgues, the area was first celebrated for its olive oil production during the time of the Romans, then later during the Middle Ages for its wine. During the Middle Ages, the estate was used for olive oil cultivation, however, and the chateau was built later in the 17th century. The frost of 1956 all but decimated the old olive trees, and the groves were left neglected for decades. It wasn’t until 1986, that the former owners planted 55 hectares of the land to vineyards and improved the facilities—slow, deliberate changes that infused the estate with new purpose. When new owners took over in 1998, they understood the potential of the land and sought to create prestigious cuvées of Côtes de Provence rosés, tasking Ted Garin to improve the vineyards and wines, and Linda Schaller-Gallet to direct sales. The two have worked tirelessly to elevate the standing of the Château by instituting sustainable farming practices in the vineyards and by rebuilding the cellars and winery.
Located in between Marseille and Cannes, about a 20-minute drive from the Mediterranean Sea, Lorgues’s terroir has been highly valued for millennia. Three thousand hours of sunshine per year facilitate an excellent ripening of the grapes, while the rocky limestone soils impart a profound minerality on the grapes. The vineyards are primarily planted to Syrah, Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cinsault, which are used for both reds and rosés—the latter of which are well regarded for their light color and refreshing acidity. Five percent of the vineyards are dedicated to Rolle and Sémillion, which are used for white wine production. In addition to optimal sun exposure, Ted’s pruning methods are designed to enhance ripeness with restraint, which he achieves by keeping yields extremely low at 40 hectoliters per hectare, 27 percent below the average in AOC Côtes de Provence. The grapes are all harvested manually and are brought into the winery in small crates to protect the grapes from getting crushed before reaching the winery.
The new winemaking facilities were designed to highlight the freshness and aromatics of the grapes. Upon arrival at the winery, the grapes are entirely de-stemmed, then crushed, left to macerate and then undergo separate vinifications. All wines are racked by gravity. The whites are pressed gently and left to settle at cold temperatures. Primary fermentation occurs in temperature-controlled, stainless steel tanks and malolactic is blocked so that the grapes retain their acidity. The rosés are composed of the free-run juice of Cinsault and Grenache; after the crush, the grapes fed by gravity into stainless steel tanks, where they undergo short macerations—the goal being to keep their signature pale color. The reds are composed of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Grenache. After crush and maceration, they are vinified in tank and then age in both foudres and barrels in the estate’s underground cellars for 12 months before release. The vibrancy, structure and aromatics of the final wines have consistently made them award-winners in the appellation.