Domaines Ott Clos Mireille Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs 2013
Domaines Ott was founded in 1912 by Alsatian engineer Marcel Ott. Today, the wineries are owned and managed by Champagne Louis Roederer, producing some of the world’s most prestigious wines. These wines are made at three distinctively different estates: Chateau Romassan (Bandol), Clos Mireille and Chateau de Selle (both Côtes de Provence).
Located in the Côtes de Provence appellation, Chateau de Selle, the 18th century home of the Counts de Provence, was the first property acquired by the Ott family in 1912. The winery is perched high on a plateau, enjoying abundant sunshine and an arid soil.
Clos Mireille was acquired by the Ott family in 1935. The estate’s picturesque seafront location is known for its mix of shale and clay soils; the schistous soil dates back some 340 million years. The microclimate and the sea spray provide highly favorable conditions for both the rosé and the white wines. Chateau Romassan was acquired in 1956 and lies at the foot of the village of Le Castellet in the heart of the Bandol appellation. The property was entirely remodeled and re-planted over a 30-year period. The estate’s country house dates back to the 18th century and its cellars have superbly vaulted ceilings.
It was Provence that inspired the iconic bottle shape for René Ott. Using the landscape and Roman amphoras as inspiration, René carved a timeless design that embodied his vision.
Cotes de Provence is an extensive but valuable appellation that includes vineyards bordering the main Provence appellations and extending all the way east to the border of Italy. Its sites vary from subalpine hills, which receive the cooling effects of the mountains to the north, to the coastal St-Tropez, a warm Mediterranean wine-producing region.
Here there is a new focus on quality rosé, as it defines four fifths of the region’s wines. Following in the rosé footsteps, a lot of new effort is going into the region’s red production. A new generation has turned its focus on high quality Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault and Carignan. Cotes de Provence white wines, which represent a miniscule part of the region as far as volume, are nonetheless worthy of consideration and can include any combination of Clairette, Semillon, Ugni Blanc and Vermentino.
With hundreds of white 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 soft and full-bodied wine would do well combined with one that is more fragrant and naturally high in acidity. 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.