In the summer months the roads between the picturesque hilltop towns of Gassin and Ramatuelle and the golden beaches of Pampelonne below are jam packed with the steady flow of cars, their occupants all craning out of the windows to get the first glimpse of the sparkling Golf of St Tropez.
However, in October, the constant stream of traffic is due to another mode of transport: the slow-moving tractor, which makes dozens of aller et retours from the hundreds of hectares of fields of vines to the region’s vineyards, with its precious cargo of grapes.
For September and October are the months when the copious lines of vines which surround many of our villas to rent in Gassin are picked, and wine production can truly begin in earnest.
Provence is one of France’s most important wine producing regions with more than 150 million litres of wine produced in the Var alone, with more than 80 per cent of that being Rosé wine.
Arguably one of Provence’s best known – and certainly best loved – vineyards is Château Minuty, a stone’s throw from some of our exclusive houses to rent in Gassin.
Château Minuty has been producing some of the region’s most reputable wines since the business was set up by Gabriel Farnet, grandfather of current owners’ Jean-Etienne and Francois Matton, in 1936. Less than two decades later the chateau became one of 23 wineries to be classified as ‘Cru Classe des Cotes de Provence’.
Over the next couple of decades, under the careful tutelage of Farnet’s son Etienne Matton, the vineyard went from strength to strength and secured the reputation of being the number one selling Rosé in Cannes, Nice and St Tropez.
That success is now being mirrored by brothers’ Jean-Etienne and Francois, who have gone to great efforts to bring the vineyard into the 21st century without in anyway detracting from the quality of the wine.
Château Minuty’s famous Rosés are a blend of a majority of Grenache – known by those in the know as the superior varietal for rosé, and of Tibouren, a grape which is symbolic of the St Tropez peninsula.