Domaine de Fontlade
Part 3, in Selling Pleasure: the incredible success story of Provence rosé, with visits to some key producers


'There's a big theological debate about the difference between Coteaux de Varois en Provence and Coteaux de Provence,' says Véronique Goupy (pictured below) of Domaine de Fontlade, which is located in the former appellation. 'We are 350 m above sea level, inland from the ocean, so we have cool nights. The Coteaux de Provence appellation is close to the sea so the temperature never goes down. So Coteaux de Varois en Provence gets a lot of freshness and keeps acidity.’ Goupy's domaine makes both, but the different vineyard plots are separated just by a road, so the difference isn't significant in this case.

This is an interesting visit. Goupy is smart and engaging, but the domaine has a slightly old-fashioned feel to it. The winery is a bit ramshackle. Despite this, the wines are consistently very good, among the best we tasted on our trip.

The advent of cold fermentation has changed the taste of Provence rosé,’ says Goupy. 'We are now able to have much lower levels of sulfites.’ She says that Provence rosé is a very technical wine. 'The fashion now is to have very pale rosés, but the aroma is in the skin. If you don't macerate enough you have no aroma and no colour.' She has help from consultant winemaker Bernadette Tourrel, who has 15 clients in the region. ‘She is technically precise and doesn't take no for an answer. People are very respectful of her.' 

Wild boar are a problem. 'Boars are proliferating here,' says Goupy. 'They eat the grapes. They start with Syrah because it is sweet. They don't care about electric fences' Is shooting the answer? 'The permit is very expensive and young people would rather shoot on video games than getting up at 4 am.'

There's more to Provence than just rosé, she emphasizes. 'Varois is a terroir for whites and reds too.' Overall, there are 40 hectares of vines here spread over two sites.


Fontlade Aurelia Prima Blanc 2013 Côtes de Provence, France
Recycled oak barrels, battonage. Textured and dense with nice acidity and lovely nutty, herby notes. Deliciously mineral with precise citrus and pear fruit. Smooth and quite complex. 91/100

Fontlade Rosé 2013 Coteaux Varios en Provence, France
Grenache and Cinsault from 250-300 m altitude. Pale pink with a hint of orange. Lively, fresh with bright cherry and herb notes. Lovely presence and texture. Lively personality and good length. 90/100

Fontlade Aurelia Prima Rosé 2013 Côtes de Provence, France
Syrah and Grenache. Pale pink with some orange notes. Fresh with a hint of herbiness. Good acidity with cranberry and cherry notes. Nice freshness and a bit of pepper. Vinous. 90/100

Fontlade Ermie du Mainier Vieilles Vignes 2011 Côtes de Provence, France
This red is 60% Syrah, 30% Grenache, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. Nice structure here. Juicy and focused with a lovely savoury edge to the direct plum, cherry and blackberry fruit. Stylish with a savoury personality. 92/100 

Fontlade Cuvee Saint-Ovinis 2007 Coteaux Varais en Provence, France
Spicy and warm with chalky, gravelly notes alongside the black fruits. This has matured nicely and is mellow with nice savoury spiciness. 91/100

Jas d'Esclans
Domaine de Fontlade
Château Pigoudet
Château Gassier
Les Maîtres Vignerons de la Côtes de Provence Vidaubannaise
Les Maîtres Vignerons de la Presqu'île de Saint Tropez


Back to top