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‘Conviviality and generosity’ of Provence guide Maison Saint Aix

Eric Kurver, owner and winemaker at Maison Saint Aix, explains how the Provence way of life led him to make a single, emblematic cuvée.

“In the heart of Provence, time seems to pause,” explains Eric Kurver, owner and winemaker at Maison Saint Aix. For him, the region is defined by its almost perpetual sunshine (300 days a year), which fosters connections both with nature and the community. It is an idyllic landscape and climate, which Kurver believes naturally leads to conviviality.

“During the day, you can wander through Aix-en-Provence’s labyrinthine streets, admire the fountains, and embrace the sunshine. But, as evening approaches, the city awakens with bustling wine bars, lively alleys filled with students, restaurant-filled squares, and the melodies of street music,” explains the winemaker.

It is unsurprising, then, that Provence is a hotspot for tourism as well as wine: its captivating landscapes and vibrant lifestyle have made it one of France’s most visited regions. Alongside the charms of the azure Mediterranean and fragrant lavender fields, Kurver believes the region’s ‘joie de vivre’ brings in visitors. Who could resist the gentle clink of petanque balls and, of course, the tradition of opening the first bottle of rosé at lunch?

Provence in a glass

Conveying the region’s charm through wine is key to Maison Saint Aix’s mission. The region and its appellation, Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence, have gained a particular reputation for premium rosé production – now a standard-bearer for a dry, pale and aromatic style. The local pride in the style is why Maison Saint Aix carries the name of the region’s capital, Aix-en-Provence.\

Even within the sun-drenched region, Maison Saint Aix has an enviable position. Situated at 420 metres above sea level – Kurver believes it is “ideal” – and with mineral-rich soils, the estate benefits from warm, sunny days and cool nights. With 75 hectares of vineyards, Maison Saint Aix stands as one of the largest domaines in the Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence appellation. Its 60-year-old Grenache vines form the backbone of the wine, while Syrah and Cinsault grapes complete the rosé blend.

Since Kurver took over in 2009, the 140-year-old winery has dedicated itself to producing one wine and one brand – AIX Rosé. The signature creation is intended as a premium expression of Provence rosé, led by the estate’s terroir and well-concentrated, freshly acidic fruit.

Having only one cuvée means that AIX Rosé is a versatile wine, made both for everyday luxury and celebrations. Yet, as part of Provence’s easy-going, sunny, outdoor lifestyle, the idea of opening the same bottle at both a casual catch-up and a special occasion has its appeal. “Conviviality and generosity embody our lifestyle,” reasons Kurver. “That shapes how we wish AIX to be perceived.”

AIX Rosé

  • Producer: Maison Saint Aix
  • Grape Varieties: Grenache, Syrah and Cinsault
  • ABV: 13%
  • Vintage: 2023
  • Approx. retail price: 20

A benchmark mid-priced Provençal rosé with its pretty poached salmon appearance and inviting aromas of red berry and peach, followed by notes of white cherry and wild strawberry on the palate, complemented by a touch of bitter lemon and pear drop too. Dry and refreshing, but with ripe characters at its core, this is a beautifully balanced drop, with a soft feel, but also a lingering, zesty edge to make you salivate and keep on sipping. (Patrick Schmitt MW)

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