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Chateau de Saint Martin Cote de Provence Grand Reserve 2014
1st occupation – 100 to 30/20 B.C.: The first habitat is primitive. It belonged to indigenous people living in group sand coexisting with the close oppidum on the hill. Elements of handcrafts were found what is very seldom the case in that style of habitat. However, the press discovered there is the most ancient one of the Var.
2nd occupation – 30/20 BC. to 80/90 AD. A farm is erected, probably due to Roman colonization because of the material used, like lime and tile, which were unknown to primitive tribes. One can assume that a "colonial" complex – an antique farmhouse – was built by a veteran of the eighth Legion (Augusta), coming from the forum julii (Fréjus).
3rd occupation – 80/90AD. This third phase sees the construction of a very important villa, with a big part reserved to residency, a water basin of 7.5 X 2.5 with gardens around, a portico, thermal baths and richly decorated structures. Some rooms of the villa were richly decorated, with quite a number of different marbles.
4th occupation – 150 AD. to 500 AD. The residential area is now transformed into a farming zone. Three wine-making installations and a hydraulic mill (with an horizontal wheel) for olives modify the aspect of the villa. Saint Martin is the only example of the whole Var to have had a continuous agricultural wine and olive vocation over such a long period. All plants around are abandoned at the same time as this villa increases.
5th occupation – 500 AD to 600 AD. Olive and wine-making activities reduce to leave place for a more rural way of living turned towards cattle breeding (sheeps).
The 10th to the 18th century the domain belonged to an old priory of Lerins monks. In 1740, Marquis de Villeneuve Bargemon bought the domain and built the castle to offer it as a wedding present to his daughter Marie Anne marrying the Count de Juigné.
Over centuries, the estate has nearly always been passed on from mother to daughter, each giving its own femiine touch to the making of their Grand Crus.
More than just a European vacation hotspot and the rosé capital of the world, Provence is a coastal, southeastern French appellation increasingly producing interesting wines of all colors. The warm, breezy Mediterranean climate is ideal for grape growing and the diverse terrain and soil types allow for a variety of wine styles within the region. Adjacent to the Rhône Valley, Provence shares some characteristics with its northwestern neighbor—namely, the fierce Mistral wind and the plentiful wild herbs (such as rosemary, lavender, juniper and thyme) often referred to as ‘garrigue.’ The largest appellation here is Côtes de Provence, followed by Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence.
Provence is internationally acclaimed for its dry, refreshing, pale-hued rosé wines, which make up the vast majority of the region’s production. These are typically blends, often dominated by Mourvèdre and supplemented by Grenache, Cinsault, Tibouren, and other varieties.
A small amount of full-bodied, herbal white wine is made here—particularly from the Cassis appellation, from Clairette and Marsanne. Other white varieties used throughout Provence include Roussane, Sémillon, Vermentino (known locally as Rolle) and Ugni blanc.
Perhaps the most interesting wines of the region, however, are the red wines of Bandol. Predominantly Mourvèdre, these are powerful, structured, and ageworthy wines with lush berry fruit and savory characteristics of earth and spice.
With hundreds of red grape varieties to choose from, winemakers have the freedom to create a virtually endless assortment of blended wines. In many European regions, strict laws are in place determining the set of varieties that may be used, but in the New World, experimentation is permitted and encouraged. Blending can be utilized to enhance balance or create complexity, lending different layers of flavors and aromas. For example, a variety that creates a fruity and full-bodied wine would do well combined with one that is naturally high in acidity and tannins. Sometimes small amounts of a particular variety are added to boost color or aromatics. Blending can take place before or after fermentation, with the latter, more popular option giving more control to the winemaker over the final qualities of the wine.