When I think of Saint-Tropez I am put in mind of Gunter Sachs (playboy extraordinaire) cascading Brigitte Bardot with a hundred red roses, from a helicopter, as he hovered over her villa – during their courtship; artists like Signac, Matisse and Bonnard painting in the limpid light of the peninsula (as evinced by the Bonnard exhibition currently on display at Tate Modern); Mick Jagger & Bianca holding their nuptials there; as a playground for the jet set – Jack Nicholson, George Clooney, Leonardo di Caprio and, these days, Beyonce & Jay Z, Rihanna, Kate Moss, et al; Lana Del Ray’s “St Tropez Party Girl”; outrageous partying at legendary nightclub Caves du Roy; sunbathers on the famous stretches of sand at Pampelonne and Tahiti beaches. Oh, and “Sunset In St. Tropez” by Danielle Steel. HaHaHa! I stayed at Hotel Byblos on a Walt Disney ‘offsite’ (dontcha just love American media companies!?) when I used to work for the House of Mouse and was immediately smitten by Saint-Tropez!!!
I reminisced about this as I sipped chilled rosé from Château Minuty on the terrace of Le Pont De La Tour restaurant, by London’s Tower Bridge, last week. Château Minuty overlooks the Saint-Tropez peninsula and the wine estate has been there since the 1930’s. The cooling breeze from the Mediterranean sea plays its part in the cultivation of the vineyards which were planted by present patron, Francois Matton’s, grandfather. The grapes they grow there – Grenache, Tibouren, Rolle, Cinsault, Syrah, Semillon, Ugni Blanc, Mourvèdre, Viognier and Sauvignon Blanc – all contribute to the output of the six very individual wines that Minuty produce these days.
François Matton, paterfamilias of Château Minuty, was in London to launch the 2018 vintage of their best-selling rosé (M de Minuty) and reveal the new label and packaging designed by British artist Ruby Taylor. Ruby’s design picks up on a range of Saint-Tropez leitmotifs – crustacea, marine, beachwear, geographical… you get the picture. All combined in a vintage theme redolent of the defining era I describe above. It is a bold and striking design that will undoubtedly help Minuty stand out from the crowd in the Côtes de Provence rosé market. It is also a very beautiful composition and encapsulates the Minuty vibe perfectly. Chapeau Ruby!
So why should François be so ebullient about this wine? Well if, like me, you enjoy a glass of rosé as an apero or maybe to pair with a plateau de fruits de mers then this is a wine to covet. A lot! It is a blend of Cinsault, Grenache and Syrah and exhibits shades of the lightest of salmon pink that reminds me of the flesh of ripe white peaches. Which co-incidentally is one of the aromas that perfumes the bouquet, along with crushed redcurrants and orange zest. It is well poised and has fresh acidity. The experience and skill that François Matton and his winemaking team have at their fingertips is perfectly expressed in this wine and you can understand why, with this quality, Minuty has managed to hold its ground in the war of the rosés against strong competition from the likes of Miraval, Sainte Marguerite, Whispering Angel, Mirabeau, Ott, etc.
I hope to visit Château Minuty and chat to François again when I am down visiting friends on the Côte d’Azur this summer. In the meantime I will be replenishing my stocks of this delicious rosé from Roberson Wine http://www.robersonwine.com
With thanks to Rosamund Barton at R&R Drinkers for inviting Fuseblower along and to Olga Gay (General Manager) at Le Pont De La Tour for her indefatigable charm!
- Photographs courtesy of Steve Miller