My foray into Provence rosé began when we moved to Cotignac. I just didn’t like the other stuff I drank elsewhere and religiously stuck to my reds. Then as luck would have it, our paintbrushes strayed into the wine boutique of Mirabeau, where we learned of this delicious pink nectar.
When WSET-qualified wine journalist Nuria, who was working with us this summer, mentioned she had an interview at Château Léoube, I promptly invited myself and Shelley, another WSET-qualified wine buyer from London, to go along. Luckily Jerome Pernot was happy to have some tagalongs!
Not sure if you’ve been to their neck of the woods, but the road to Léoube has to be one of the most beautiful in Provence. My smile got even bigger when I noticed their white Landy parked outside. We opened enormous doors to their tasting room and boutique; very chique. Then to our enormous surprise, he suggested a ‘safari’ around the estate. Hello? African babes in a landy in the gorgeous hillside hugging the Côte d’Azur? Shelley and I were in!! Nuria not so keen on the offroading bit. Jerome effortlessly navigated steep inclines while sharing his passion for the estate.
The story in incredible. A widow couldn’t afford to keep the château and the winery running, and eventually sold it to Lord and Lady Bamford, who have invested a huge amount into Château Léoube, making sure it complies with their environmentally-friendly and sustainable vision; right down to employing locals to do the work. Their land management is awe-inspiring. Instead of the usual 5-year turnover period of removing old vines to using grapes from new vines, their turnover is 10 years. Grapes are handpicked according to biodynamic rhythms. Blending takes place before maceration and fermentation. The wine maker is of incredible wine heritage and expertise. The winery is impeccably neat, and everyone greeted us with warm smiles. I love picking up on good working relationships, it says a lot about the place.
Jerome offered us a wine tasting in their gorgeous boutique. Friendly clients returned to replenish their stock. The wine prices are above average, but understandable taking everything into account. It’s a special wine made with very special care. Their production is also limited to 350K bottles a year. I opted for the Secret de Léoube rosé and Léoube Collector red. The latter also in part because Marcel and I had unknowingly walked alongside the vineyards on the beach during our picnic for my birthday in March. We were oohing and aahing without any idea who’s grapes these were.
We were then escorted to Café de Léoube; recently opened on the Plage du Pellegrin, and enjoyed a salad Niçoise with a glass of rosé. Yum, yum, yum. And were saying what a great find it was. In fact, I returned a few days later with our family from Canada and South Africa.
What a fabulous experience. All I can say is, “Merci Jerome! For your time, for sharing your passion, and for letting us know about this wonderful place and the people that run it.”