While I was doing a tasting at my local wine shop The Fine Wine Shop in Livonia, Michigan, I had a chance to try three wines from the same estate in a region that I have only written about four times in almost ten years, so it is usually below my radar, for no apparent reason other than it doesn’t get much attention from the distributors. I am talking about Provence, in the south-eastern part of France, and in particular Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence, the second largest appellation of the region. Originally the region was known as Coteaux du Roy Rene (Rene D’Anjou, a 15th Century King of France who was very partial to wines), in 1956 it was granted VDQS status and in 1985, it was granted AOC status. The long dry summers make it ideal for vineyards, and the entire region is basically limestone.
Chateau de Calavon Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence 2013 is located in the center of the region in Lambesc, and the Audibert family has been making wine there for five generations. The estate is sixty hectares and was originally cultivated as vineyards by the Prices of Orange, broken up during the French Revolution, and slowly reconstructed. The vineyards are basically small terraced plots that were configured about three centuries ago. The estate has been certified Organic Agriculture since 2013 (Ecocert). The wine is a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. The fruit is basically hand-harvested and goes through a long maceration in concrete tanks, and then is matured in a mix of Stainless Steel and wooden barrels for a minimum of two years. The wine had a nice deep garnet color with a great nose offering black fruits, pepper and spices. It was a nice full wine offering dark fruits and it was ready to be enjoyed with a nice medium count of terroir to finish off the experience.
Chateau de Calavon “La Reserve” Coteaux D’Aix-en-Provence 2012 is a blend of Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache. The vines are cultivated to have a low yield with a long growing season. After a long maceration, the individual juices are selected, and blended in French Oak for one year. They feel that this wine needs at least four years in the bottle to fully appreciate the potential of the wine, and this wine is made for cellaring. Considering that this wine is already ten years of age, the garnet color was intense with notes of dark fruit and terrain. The wine was fruit forward and jammy, and the tannins were very elegant and a nice long count for a finish of terroir. A great wine for a big red meat or game dinner.
Chateau de Calavon “Tradition de Calavon” Rouge 2015 was the third wine from the estate. The nearby village of Lambesc, hosted the General Assembly of the Villages of Provence and was known as “The Little Venice of Aix,” and has an historical and economic reputation. There were no production notes to glean about this wine, but it is a blend of Grenache and Carignan, which they refer to as “the forgotten grape of Provence.” A pretty garnet colored wine with notes dark fruit and terrain. A rather jammy wine with some spiciness, very silky and supple with a medium finish of terroir. A different wine from the other two that I had.