Provence Wine – Chateau La Coste
Perestrello Geller goes in hunt of more great Provence wine, at Chateau Lacoste
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My Aston Martin tends to make people think I have a grandiose opinion of myself. But I might have met my match in the McKillen family. When Paddy bought Chateau La Coste at the beginning of 2004 the first thing he did was install a new modernist cave: two giant silver hangars that scream look at us. Like them or loathe them you can’t miss them. Which is more than can be said for the old Chateau now almost invisible from the road, sandwiched as it is between the aforementioned hangars and a concrete art centre. The first impression is one of despair that such architectural eccentricity should have been allowed.
Visitors park in an underground concrete car park that could service a small airport. Entire walls are made of glass, and fragments of this or that material spear the sky. It’s all very 1970s James Bond super-villain. Think Sean Connery, Bambi and Thumper in Diamonds are Forever.
All that is missing is a shark pool and an elevator with a false floor. I took the stairs just in case. Emerging at ground level I saw a gleaming silver pod nestling in between the trees, looking for all the world like an alien spacecraft. Nearby a Lord of the Rings sized spider skated across a man-made lake of water.
I couldn’t help myself, I was beginning to like the place. Some things are just so weird they are right.
The tasting room is located away from all this modernist nonsense, in the aforementioned old farmhouse building. Inside though the megalomaniacs have been at work again. Computers are out, I-pads with wireless key boards, in. Staff dress in black and no doubt carry the secret formulas for the Chateau’s grand cuves on their USB keys which are concealed in corks. If you are having a Bond moment one of these can be yours for €15.
Onto the provence wine. It’s very good. Highlights include, their premium cuvee white, a fragrant easy drinking summer wine, ideal for an aperitif, and 2010 Grand Blanc oaked white, which is drinking superbly now and currently on offer at a 20% discount. Full and mellow there are notes of candied and grilled citrus fruits. By contrast the 2010 Grand rouge displays plenty of fruit and aromatic spices but is still a little too tannic. For me it could do with another couple of years in the bottle. Both at their current discounted rates are priced around €20. Rosés are light and translucent but with the top end bottle selling at just over €22 a little on the expensive side.
The domaine also has two restaurants, a café just outside the wine tasting rooms and a more serious offering where the art and architecture route starts. I’ve been to vineyards before that have toyed with the idea of setting up walks through the vines. They’ve all lacked the ambition of Chateau La Coste. Here’s a place where you can walk through the Provencal countryside, enjoy high-brow installation art, have some lunch, taste some provence wine, and even hang around for evening performance at the theatre.
Silver hangars or no silver hangars I quite simply love the place. Visit now, you are likely to be enchanted. Thank you Paddy McKillen I take it all back.
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