Les Alpilles Blanc
1/3 Marsanne, 1/3 Roussanne, 1/3 Grenache Blanc.
The grapes are hand-picked early September. 75% of the wine is vinified separately and aged in barrels. The remainder is vatted in 675-litre amphoras. Fermentation with indigenous yeasts, no added sulfites. Aged for 9 months on fine lees, then fined with clay and filtered. Green olive and citrus on the nose, with a hint of tropical fruit. In the mouth, a touch of pineapple, full body, dry and lively, with a long finish. 14.5% alcohol.
About the Producer
Château d’Estoublon, in Les Baux, is one of Provence’s most striking properties. It is located in the heart of Provence on the outskirts of Fontvieille, and on the south-facing slopes of the Alpilles. It covers almost 200ha, of which 86ha are planted with olive trees and 19ha with vines. The vines are under Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée Vallée des Baux-de-Provence since 1995, the date of the creation of this AOC. Since 2012, the AOC appellation has been moving towards Appellation d’Origine Protégée (AOP). Owned for almost two decades by Valérie and Rémy Reboul, the estate is since February 2020 in the hands of Stéphane Courbit. This French businessman is involved in several businesses, one of them being luxury hospitality.
Vineyards: between 1999 and 2003, old vines were pulled and new vines planted using selection massale, under the guidance of Eloi Dürrbach from Domaine de Trevallon. A new vineyard is in the process of being planted with white varieties, in the AOP Baux-de-Provence. The grapes were exclusively hand harvested until 2015. In 2016, Estoublon experimented with mechanical harvest, with good results.
Wine cellar: with a surface area of 6500sf, and following complete renovation in 2000, the cellar houses 80-hectolitre foudres for vinification and 32-hectolitre oak casks in which the wine is aged, as well as various other casks and barrels. Since 2006, the range of containers has been completed by natural concrete amphorae: with a capacity of 675 litres, these oval tanks made of natural concrete have been molded without the use of any binders or synthetic additives. They are made from selected clay, silica and sand carefully washed in spring water, and thus containing no chlorine, in accordance with the specifications governing organic wine making. Weighing a total of 1,200 kg, they contain no metal reinforcement, thereby avoiding any Faraday cage effect (i.e. magnetic fields). Their perfect oval shape is based on the “golden mean” or “divine proportion” (1.618), a number used since ancient times by architects, painters and artists to create perfectly proportioned works. The amphorae favors expression of the soil and of the fruit. Low-temperature fermentation (with indigenous yeasts) ensures wines with precision and minerality. Natural micro-oxygenation of the wines occurs thanks to the micro-pore structure of the amphorae, thereby minimizing unwanted reduction. The perfect fluid mechanics ensure that fine deposits are suspended (natural stirring of the sediments). Amphorae are used in the creation Château d'Estoublon's wines as a tribute to gentle and non-interventionist winemaking methods.
The vineyards: A key feature of the vineyards in the Vallée des Baux is the diversity of soil types: 3/5 coarse-grained gravel, 1/5 silt, 1/5 clay. Château d’Estoublon has deep, well-drained clay-based soil in the low-lying plots and limestone soil in the vineyards at the edge of the mountain. With help from Claude Bourguignon to identify the best parcels, the vineyard of Estoublon are being moved gradually towards the Alpilles, and thus towards limestone soil. There is very little active limestone here compared to the rest of the appellation. The vineyards are minimally irrigated, only to assist the vines until phenolic maturity. Climate change makes it a necessity: since 2005, it rarely rains in August.
The red wines are made from Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre – the 3 varieties that form the backbone of the Château d’Estoublon vintages – as well as a touch of Cabernet Sauvignon (less than 10%). The whites are blends of Marsanne, Roussanne and Grenache. The winemaker, Anaïs Maillet, was brought on board in February 2020.
In addition to its wines, Château d’Estoublon produces since 2012 gastronomic olive oils that are recognized worldwide and have their own bottling facility. They are made from several varieties: Grossane, Bouteillan, Béruguette, Picholine and Salonenque.
Farming: organic since 1999. Certified Ecocert.