Find out who won the regional trophy for over £10. And the winner is...
Ch la Gordonne, La Chapelle Gordonne, Côtes du Provence, 2010
Provence has more than its fair share of richly endowed historic estates – and La Gordonne is one of the finest, though for historic reasons one of the least well-known (it was selling all its wine in bulk, for example, at the time of the 1955 classification of Provençal crus).
There’s no less than 300 ha of vines here on the schist slopes above Pierrefeu in the Massif des Maures: magnificent vineyards said to have been first cultivated by the Romans, and certainly in Carthusian hands by the thirteenth century.
And then … it was all lost in a drawer. Or that’s what owner Paul Vranken of Vranken-Pommery claims. “In effect, I found La Gordonne lying in one of the Listel drawers when I bought the business around 30 years ago.”
Pink wine and salt specialists Listel had acquired it from another salt-producing company in 1970. “I was immediately seduced,” continues Vranken, “by this nugget which had been loitering more or less in the shadows, despite producing a million-and-a-half bottles a year.
The site is an exceptional one: a kind of amphitheatre of schist, with a very special microclimate. It produces great wines, too.”
There is, in fact, a happy symbiosis between Champagne production and rosé production: very gentle pressing is the key process for both (Other key Provence estates are owned by Roederer and Bruno Paillard).
Vranken has installed Champagne presses at La Gordonne as well as cutting-edge temperature-controlled fermentation tanks, and the estate is busy identifying its best parcels in order to improve selectivity further.
Our Trophy is an impressive achievement — but the best may yet be to come.
Written by Gerard Basset MW