Château Simone, the paradise of the AOC white palette
Facing the mythical Sainte-Victoire, it sits at the heart of a garden of Eden made up of hillsides, river and wooded hills. Château Simone's towers rise to the top of majestic staircases that announce the colour: here, refinement is the order of the day, as well as exception. The estate belongs to those jewels of Provence that produce high quality wines sought after by all enlightened wine lovers. Château Simone has thus made a speciality of the palette, an AOC whose creation it initiated. The white wine has given it its letters of nobility; the reds and rosés have nothing to envy the best wines of the southern Rhône Valley.
History of Château Simone
The monks of the Grands Carmes order are at the origin of the estate. As early as the 16th century, they had cellars dug into the hillside, which were later extended and tiered on different levels to house the wine. This is at the heart of the history of this corner of Provence. A stone's throw from Aix-en-Provence, in a natural cirque bathed by the Arve River, the vines, and in particular the clairette, have found their favourite terrain.
The former bastide of the Grands Carmes d'Aix is the current Château Simone, taken over by the Rougier family in 1830. Despite the phylloxera crisis, the family has never stopped cultivating vines and producing quality wines. The Rougiers have always been aware of the advantages of this Provençal land: a northern exposure that favours the gradual ripening of the grapes, the coolness of the river, hillsides sheltered from the wind and the heat, shallow clay-limestone soils... Few wine estates in Provence can boast so many conditions favourable to the vines
In order to protect the wines of the estate, Jean Rougier asked to have Château Simone classified as an AOC. With the collaboration of Château Crémade, it was finally the wines that were distinguished by an appellation in 1948. They took the name of the hamlet that lies between the two estates: Palette.
Presentation of the Château Simone vineyard and the Palette AOC
Château Simone and its twenty hectares of vines, some of which are more than a hundred years old, are located in Meyreuil, near Aix-en-Provence, in the Bouches-du-Rhône region. It produces AOC palette wines, a tiny Provencal appellation of about 50 hectares produced in Aix-en-Provence, Le Tholonet and Meyreuil. Four châteaux offer wines under the Palette AOC: Château Simone, as well as Château Crémade, Château de Meyreuil and Château Henri Bonnaud.
The vineyard of Château Simone favours the clairette grape variety with 80% of the vineyard. A whole mosaic of grape varieties is then used to create white, red and rosé palettes. In white, clairette is accompanied mainly by white grenache, white ugni, bourboulenc and white muscat. For reds and rosés, Grenache, Mourvèdre and Cinsault dominate the blends, complemented by Syrah, Carignan and Muscats..
The quality of Château Simone's wines is due not only to the quality of the soils and the climate, but also to a centuries-old know-how that is constantly being improved. The grapes are harvested by hand, several selections are made in order to harvest only ripe grapes, and chemical weed killers and fertilisers are forbidden.
Château Simone wines: characteristics and tasting advice
The white AOC palette wines represent 40% of Château Simone's production. Dense and well-balanced, these wines are among the remarkable references of Provence, all the more so as they benefit from an exceptional ageing potential: 5-10 years, even more for the best vintages. They have a golden colour which, with the years, evolves towards shades of old gold. Their delicate and complex bouquet is adorned with floral, fruity and delicately woody notes. A white Château Simone is excellent with fish dishes and with shellfish and seafood: bouillabaisse, langoustine ravioli, salmon... It also goes well with creamy poultry, small vegetables stuffed with Provençal sauce, courgette flower fritters... and all goat's cheeses, starting with banon.
Behind a deep ruby colour, a red Château Simone also reveals a powerful aromatic bouquet, this time spicy and animal, in which notes of black fruit and undergrowth are also mixed. Tannic and powerful, these AOC red palettes are a natural accompaniment to all Provençal daube meats: wild boar, venison, beef, etc. These wines can be aged for 10 years, and even longer in good years.
Finally, for a refreshing summer, a rosé palette from Château Simone is ideal. Its deep pink colour with amber reflections seduces the eye, while its floral nose and undergrowth aromas announce finesse and body. These wines are recommended with charcuterie, exotic dishes, cheeses... They can be aged for 2 to 4 years in the cellar.