Provence Wine Tasting
Guru wine critic Perestrello Geller goes Provence wine tasting in the Luberon, at Chateau La Canorgue, Bonnieux.
I’ve been drinking Chateau La Canorgue wines for many years now, starting long before the hoo-haa erupted about the film adaptation of Peter Mayle’s book A Good Year, for which the Chateau was used as a setting. It was the commitment to organic production in the 1970s which first attracted me to the wine. Back then Luberon wine production was to say the very least rudimentary and the emphasis was on the quantity of wine that could be produced. Chemicals abounded. Jean Pierre Margan at La Canorgue was different, he opted for quality. Ever since the vineyard has produced reds, whites, and pinks of distinction. They crop up on good wine lists at reasonable prices and I’m often tempted to order.
I was passing the Chateau the other day and ducked in to buy a couple of bottles. The view of Bonnieux seen across the rippled surface of an old basin was as splendid as I remembered. To my right the Chateau hid imperiously behind a high old wall, which was pierced by a fountain. Centuries old plane trees were just coming into leaf.
I continued to the tasting room. Since my previous visit the Margan family had significantly extended their range. A white, viognier, matured in acacia rather than oak barrels just had to be tasted. The depth of colour was remarkable. The wine was full, round and buttery. At the moment I’m enjoying a glass of it nearly every night with whatever blue cheese happens to be in the fridge. The taste sensation always brings a smile to my face.
Jean Pierre’s daughter Natalie was responsible for my next surprise. A light red named ‘Beret’ with a picture of a winking, beret-wearing frog on the label. She apparently created the label to tease her American friends from her time at college across the pond. The wine itself is no joke, at 5 euros a bottle it is one of the most reasonably priced drinkable reds I’ve come across in a long while.
At the time of the filming of a Good Year in 2006 the tasting room at La Canorgue, took on the air of a film museum, rather than a vineyard. There were pictures of Russell Crowe, Peter Mayle and Ridley Scott everywhere. These days the vineyard acknowledges its link to the film with a few tastefully packaged wine and dvd combos, and a ring binder of press cuttings to flick through. The focus though is back on the wine. As it should be, the La Canorgue, premium red, was one of the purest wines, I’ve tasted this year. Too often modern chemicals create a smell and flavour which is unkindly described as oily. Once this taste is on my palate, I can detect it in the smallest quantities even in high quality wines. I’m happy to say the La Canorgue premium red cleared my palate, which had been struggling to recover from a recent visit to a chemical obsessed cave co-operative in the Languedoc.
Tout Simplement Voignier acacia white – €14
Beret red blend – €5.70
La Canorgue, red prestige – €14
Tips from the Provence Guru – The Insiders’ Guide to Provence:
Thinking of renting a villa in the Bonnieux, tempted by a holiday rental in the Luberon? Then check out our selection of provence villa rentals near Chateau La Canorgue. Want to stay in the area for a couple of nights and looking for a Luberon hotel or a hotel in Bonnieux then the Guru recommends Auberge de L’Aigue Brun, just outside Bonnieux. Looking to go on a wine tasting tour of Provence, and keen to find some Luberon vineyards for a tasting close to Chateau La Canorgue, then check out a Provence wine tasting at Domaine Ruffinnato in Menerbes. Finally for lunch from Chateau La Canorgue, drop down into Apt and take the road to Casaneuve and enjoy the view at the Sanglier Parrasseux , one of the best Luberon restaurants.