Visit to Château Thuerry in Provence

Château Thuerry is located in Provence in southern France, more precisely in the Var department. In the "wine world", this area is primarily known for being one of the bright pink rosé key areas. Château Thuerry is located next to the Villecroze village, in an area of outstanding natural beauty, right on the line between Aix-en-Provence and Nice, but a half hour drive north of the highway.

The winery belongs to Jean-Louis Croquet who invested time and capital to make out of Chateau Thuerry what it is today - a quality reference for Provence Wines, whether we talk red-, white- or rosé wine.



                                                                                            Thuerry - the main building

When you arrive at Château Thuerry, you'll meet up with the elongated main building which originates from Roman times and which then later, in the 1100s, was built by the templar knights. Today, the old facade of the house is preserved, but the inside of the building has been completely renovated and serves as both office, shop and wine tasting room.

Under the historical building, a huge and very modern wine cellar with its production equipement has, with very good taste, been constructed in solid concrete. It is actually this "grand" wine cellar you first see dominating the winery when you, by car, approach the winery. The steel colored wine-making apparatus inside the thick concrete walls of the wine cellar are of most modern technology and gives to the place, a clinically clean and almost futuristic style.


                  Stair Fall to the wine cellar                                              Fermentation- and storage units in the wine cellar at Thuerry

The vineyard is situated at 400 meters above sea level which provides cool nights during the summer period. Warm days and fresh nights are good for grapes, it gives a longer maturation process that enhances the complexity of the finalized wines. Château Thuerry includes no less than 340 hectares of land, but "only" 45 hectares are planted with vines. Two unique things characterize the Chateau Thuerry; red is produced as much as rosé (45% of the total, each). The white wines on the other hand, represent only 10% of the total production. Secondly, Château Thuerry is located at the border of two well-known and renowned wine-appellations; Côtes-de-Provence and Coteaux Varois en Provence. To  further complicate, Thuerry also produces IGP-wines from Coteaux-de-Verdon which are not appellation wines, but which paradoxically are the most exclusive wines of the winery.

Several different varietals are used including the usual Provence varietals such as Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre and the typical Provençal white Rolle grape. On top of this, there is also the red Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot as well as the white grape varieties Ugni blanc and Sémillon.

Thuerry's line-up is logical and not very difficult to understand. Each range includes one red, one white and one rosé wine. The standard range from Côtes-de-Provence is called Le Château while the standard range from Coteaux Varois is called Les Abeillons. On top of this, the red Les Abeillons, unlike the Le Chateau, is aged in oak barrels. The exclusive range is named Exception and last but not least, there are two exclusive red - more or less experimental wines - produced in small volumes called Exception² respectively Les Abeillons².

The Le Chateau wines are aged in steel tanks and have therefore a natural fresh and fruity style, still with the power of the south. The red wine is juicy and soft. There is a good concentration and the southern sun restricts the acidity. The balance of the wine is very good. The white wine is made from Sémillon, Ugni Blanc and Rolle and is a perfect aperitif wine. It works together with seafood, although to my taste, it lacks of acidity. A wine I'd consider perfect together with a grilled fish or a Mediterranean seafood dish. The rosé wine has everything a Provence Rosé should have; beautiful light pink color, aromas of white flowers and ripe fruit. The taste is fresh but at the same round with a fantastic balance. Perfect for an aperitif, different kinds of fish dishes, pasta with pesto ... in other words it goes with hardly anything!

                                                                                                                                   Thuerry Le Chateau and Les Abeillons

Les Abeillons is the Coteaux Varois-wines corresponding to the Le Chateau range from Côtes de Provence. The red, unlike the red Le Chateau has been stored in oak barrels. The oak has, however, benn worked with finesse. Only 35% of the barrels are new. The oak is just utilized to create complexity without destroying the natural character of wine. Les Abeillons has aromas of black currants, cherries and blackberries, as well as spicy notes. The taste is soft and round with an elegant finale with hints of chocolate and vanilla. The white wine Les Abeillons is an alternative to Le Chateau and the rosé wine as well. The Rosé is somewhat drier (less sweet) in 2014 than in 2013 and differs perhaps less from Le Chateau than last year.                                      White Les Abeillons with oysters                            Red Les Abeillons grilled meat

The  3 wines of the premium Exception range are a all terrific - each one in its own way. But it's one among the three which really stands out as a unique wine without comparison. The rosé wine Exception has been stored in oak barrels and  (unlike most rosé wines which are to drink young) is made to improve and gain in complexity after a few years of aging. This is a real punch in the face to those who question the rosé wine's role as a high-quality wine, in the same way as red or white wine. The color is slightly darker than the 2 other rosés due to the oak storage. The scent is oaky with vanilla, fruity and if you ignore the color of this wine, it reminds of Meursault in Burgundy ... The palate will not betray the nose; it's round and buttery, once again, with an excellent balance. The wine is very fresh, but the southern sun gives undeniably a rounder and smoother character than the little greener white wines of Burgundy. A gastronomic rosé that can replace a white oak-stored Burgundy wine in all aspects. Please try with fried scallops in a buttery white wine sauce.

                                            Thuerry - Exception rosé
Abeillons² is made from 90% Syrah and 10% Grenache and it's not completely refuted when I ask if the purpose has been to beat the "Cru"-wines from northern Côte-du-Rhône... Fruit and spices with typical Syrah character at it's best. Once again a great ripeness with "matière" as the French say, despite the young age of the wine. Actually more interesting than many young, much greener Côtes-Rôties and Saint-Joseph, which we recently tried.

Exception² reminiscent of Bordeaux - or wrong - rather a very elegant wine from Provence. Exception² is made from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon (maybe the reason for comparing with Bordeaux) and is a really long storage wine with enough acidity and tannins to develop and soften in the coming years. A winter wine to enjoy together with a local Daube Provençale.                                                                                                                                                                                                           Red Le Chateau along with Les Abeillons²

That said, after the tasting of the whole Thuerry's range, you can once again ask yourself why to compare Provence wines with wines from other regions. The quality is nothing to question. The only reason for comparing would be the simple reason that wines from Provence have a lot of varieties with a broad palette of different types of wines. Provence has several different "terroirs" and is made of very different grape varieties, which makes it convenient to define the wine by comparing with more stereotypical wine varieties. When writing, you can unfortunately not just fill the glass and let the wine speak for itself! However, Provence wines don't need to be subdued compared with other districts. The wines are very good nowadays, some resemble wines from the major wine regions and in some case they are even better. The climate doesn't change very much over the years. The summer period is stable and the grapes ripen without any problems. Today, it is rare to have bad vintages. 2014 was for example a difficult year in many regions, but has been more or less painless in Provence and will for many winemakers be a very good vintage with a lot of wine! The Provence rosés are unbeatable, but the red and white wines are highly recommended to be explored in detail!

If you want to explore Chateau Thuerry more in detail, please click on the below link :
http://www.chateauthuerry.com/visite.html

 

17/03/2015 written by Henrik Tauson 0 comment(s)

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