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A blend of Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault, Carignan, and Vermentino.
The History of the Chateau de Roquefort:
In Greek-Celtic times Roquefort was a rearguard fortification for the seaport towns of Marseille and Cassis. When the Romans took it over, they named it « Rocca fortis ».
During the Middle Ages, the Roquefort land was owned by the barony of Aubagne, which in turn belonged to the princes of Les Baux de Provence.
With no heir to inherit this vast fortune, in 1425 it went to the Crown of Provence. An agreement took place in 1470 between King René de Provence and the bishops of Marseille, who took possession of the barony of Aubagne.
Bishop Pierre de Raguenau then gave the land to Pierre du Beausset in 1568. His descendants owned it until it was bought in 1812 by the Earl of Gardanne, a general in the army and an ancestor of the de Villeneuve family who are the present owners.
Roquefort’s history tells us a lot about its economy during those times. To this day viticulture and the production of wine remains its principal activity whereas in the past forestry, silkworm production and agriculture were all important.
The cellar was built in 1734 and once housed 46 casks containing 1398 hectoliters.
In 1995 the cellar underwent a complete modernization and now boasts the latest in vinification systems, including tanks on three levels.
The Vineyard and its Grape Varieties:
The 25 hectares of this vineyard are carefully tended and the owner’s main concern is that of the quality of the wine produced here. The grape varieties are mainly those traditionally planted in Provence : Grenache noir, Syrah, Cinsault, Mourvèdre, Carignan, Clairette, Rolle (Vermentino) and Ugni blanc. The soil is a blend of stony clay and chalk.
One third of the vines planted are over 40 years old, with another third between 15 and 40 years and the remainder planted over the past 15 years.
Two hectares were planted in 1995 as well as three in 1999 / 2000, three more are scheduled for 2005…
The vineyard is situated at an altitude of 350-400 meters and is well protected by surrounding cliffs. The landscape consists of hills and plateaux which form the Massif of Sainte Baume, which rises to 1042 meters a few miles away towards Aubagne and Gèmenos.
The proximity of the sea ensures a fine micro-climate, thus protecting the property from hail damage and too much damp heat.
To sum up, the traditional soil culture and methods of vinification make for fine, often rare wines in the Côtes de Provence Appellation.