Château Léoube releases ‘Super Rosé’

Château Léoube has released its answer to Italy’s Super Tuscans – a “Super Rose” wine produced in Lalonde – staking its claim on the premium rosé market.

LeoubeRose75Based in the Côtes de Provence and owned by Sir Anthony Bamford, chairman of JCB limited, Léoube hosted a tasting of its latest Lalonde monopole rosé in London on Tuesday.

Made from an equal blend of Cinsault and Grenache, Lalonde marks the pinnacle of Léoube’s portfolio with winemaker Romain Ott taking 10 years to perfect it.

Insisting that Léoube is not interested in making “competition wines”, Ott said the motivation behind Lalonde was experimental.

Speaking to db, he said: “We wanted to see what we could do in the future because its important for us to see how our wines might evolve”, he said. “We started in 2005 with this. The evolution and improvement of quality has to be step by step.”

Grapes for Lalonde are hand harvested and undergo light, almost “non-existent” pressing to produce a very pale rosé using only free run juice. Only 1,500 bottles of Lalonde have been produced, priced at €38 a bottle.

Rosé might have endured a bad rap in the past but Jerome Pernot, of Château Léoube, believes attitudes toward the category are changing, with many examples considered fine wines.

“Over the last 20 years we were selling rosé, bad rose, everywhere and the consumer’s reception was that it is sweet, it gives you a headache and it doesn’t go with food”, said Pernot. “That’s the consumer vision that we are changing by communicating that rosé is not just that, but a fine wine. Sometimes it is better to spend £10 to £15 on a really good bottle of wine than a fiver on a bottle that is going to give you a headache.”

Herve FABRE

Chateau Léoube in Provence

Supporting the category’s upmarket push, earlier this year Riedl launched a glass specifically designed for drinking rosé. While in London rosé is showing real signs of opportunity to push into higher price points, as the category wins over Champagne drinkers.

Justifying Lalonde’s status as a “Super Rosé”, Pernot said: “We have been able to select some of the very best old vines from the estate to produce a “Super” Rosé. It means we are looking at getting to the extreme, the natural flavour from nature into this wine, without adding or removing anything at any step of the viticulture and vinification. It gives an elegant wine with deep flavours, playing with all our senses.”

Léoube’s self-titled “Super Provence” Collector red meanwhile is made from Cabernet Franc – a variety not typically planted in Provence – but which is used to produce Italy’s Super Tuscans, along with Cabernet Sauvignon.

Romain and his father Jean-Jacques Ott, who used to own Domaine Ott, set about planting Cabernet Franc 10 years ago with an ambition to create a “Super Provence” wine.

“They thought we have the same grapes planted and the same kind of climate as the Super Tuscans, why can’t we make a Super Provence?,” said Pernot. “It’s not a marketing gimmick – it took us 10 years to really get into understanding what wines work at Léoube to produce these beautiful wines.”

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