Rosé wine is undoubtedly the tipple of choice for those on holiday in Saint Tropez, with every bar, restaurant, supermarket and wine cellar offering a huge choice of ‘pink’ wine, most of which comes from local vineyards.
Surrounding many of our luxury villas to rent in Saint Tropez are hectares upon hectares of vineyards producing nearly half of all rosé wine consumed in France. One such vineyard is Château Minuty, on the Route de la Berle near the picturesque village of Gassin, which has been producing Minuty Rosé for three generations.
St Tropez House speaks with these top St Tropez rosé producers to uncover the history of this extremely popular label.
STH: When was rosé wine first produced in St Tropez?
CM: It was 26 centuries ago, when the Greeks founded a colony in Marseille that the first vines and wine-growing culture were introduced in Provence. The wines made in those days had a light colour, similar to rosés, because the maceration of juices with grape skins was either unknown or only practiced on a limited basis. Provence is therefore the oldest wine-growing region in France, and the first wines to be made were rosés.
STH: Why does St Tropez lend itself to making rosé wine?
CM: Provence’s climate, soils and grape varieties are all perfectly suited for rosé winemaking. Provence is France’s leading region, representing 40% of domestic production and 5.6% of worldwide production of rosé wines. It is also the only production area specialised in this type of product, as rosé wines represent 87% of production in Provence (9% red and 4% white). The entire winemakers’ work is focused on rosé wines production, meanwhile, in the other French regions of production (Bordeaux …), rosé wines are considered as byproducts of red wines.
STH: What’s the secret behind the success of St Tropez rosé?
CM: Rosé is more than just a passing trend. It has become an integral part of French society as consumer trends have changed and new life styles have emerged: meals that are less structured, the increasing popularity of ethnic cuisine from around the world, greater simplicity, new encounters, good times and instant gratification. When drinking rosé, the consumer discovers a different approach to wine – easier access, without all the constraints and traditional formalities. It is a wine that symbolises greater freedom.
STH: Tell us more about Château Minuty
CM: Château Minuty is a family estate managed today by François and Jean-Etienne Matton, the third generation of the family. Today, Château Minuty is the foremost producer of Côtes de Provence Rosé wine. Its vineyards occupy 110 hectares comprising two sites: 75 ha in the villages of Gassin and Ramatuelle on the Saint-Tropez peninsula; and 35 ha in Vidauban in the Centre Var.
STH: Which are the most popular Minuty rosé wines?
CM: Our latest creation is Château Minuty 281 which we started for the Cannes Film Festival in May 2015. This wine is made with a single variety of Grenache grape especially adapted to our soil and our climate. The production is limited to 15,000 bottles per year and this wine was reserved for the French Riviera this year and will be proposed to foreign countries next year with small allocations per country.
Château Minuty OR was created in 2009. It is made with the best lands of Grenache from the Château (95% of Grenache in the blend) and it is representative of what could be the Grenache expression on our estate. Depending on the harvest, the yearly production is more or less of 250,000 bottles. This wine is our flagship all around the world and should be reserved for the best valuable places such as Michelin-starred restaurants, high level beach clubs etc.
M de MINUTY is made with100 % purchased grapes and is our best seller all around the world. M de MINUTY rosé is exactly what you expect of a Provence rosé wine: it is light coloured, fresh, fruity and easy to drink. The yearly production is 2 million of bottles.
Discover Château Minuty for yourself and book on to the wine tasting course at Château Minuty in Gassin.