Monday, April 20, 2009

French Rose Wine from Provence, Chateau Romanin and La Cave du Mas de Longchamp

Rose wines of Provence



Provence is the birthplace of fresh and fruity rose wines. Vines have existed there since the fourth century BC but it was the Greeks and Romans who introduced grape growing techniques to the area. The original wines were similar to today’s roses that have come to symbolize Provence. Rose is an easy going wine served as an aperitif in France but equally at home with a typical Mediterranean meal. Half of the rose wine made in France comes from Provence and eighty percent of the wine made in Provence is rose.



Many times we would be sitting on our stone terrace enjoying a glass of rose in the spring of 2007 and look up to see white gliders doing ballets in the clear almost cloudless skies overhead. Intrigued with the thoughts of gliding high above the Alpilles in France, my husband inquired as to where he might rent one since he is a private pilot and we had our own plane for many years. We were told that there was a gliding club aerodome nearby on the grounds of the vineyards at Chateau Romanin.

Chateau Romanin

Underground cathedral at Chateau Romanin


Chateau Romanin is a wine growing estate with an old castle from the Middle Ages with 58 hectares of vines located in a gap that forms into a “V” on the northern slope between Saint-Remy-de-Provence and the charming tiny village of Eygalieres. This “V” creates natural updrafts allowing easy takeoffs in gliders as well as protecting the vines from disease and frost. The vineyards are spread around the aerodrome.



One look at the tiny gliders with one small seat in front for the pilot and another in the back for the passenger told him he was likely to experience claustrophobia, so we came up with a new plan and proceeded to tour the winery and enjoy the degustation (free tasting) offered by the lovely French mademoiselle. Although tastings are generally free in France, it’s expected that you will buy a couple of bottles.






More vineyards in the springtime in the Alpilles region of Provence





La Cave du Mas de Longchamp’s local Vin de Pays rose wine

For years we had heard stories about people taking an empty wine bottle to a winery in France and getting it filled with a Vin de Pays (local wine) and longed to have the same experience. Our caretaker suggested we try La Cave du Mas de Longchamps in nearby Molleges. We were delighted to discover that we could purchase their fruity rose for 1.65 Euros a liter and fill our own jug.

Madame Benoit, the owner’s wife, filling our plastic jug




My husband Meakin giving it a try



31 comments:

  1. Oh Sam what a glorious trip! How wild would that be to be able to fill up your jug in your town like in Provence. The Southern Baptist around here would have fits! I am really enjoying your travels. Thanks!

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  2. What a fabulous trip. I love visiting wineries. There are a lot here in the Hudson Valley and upstate New York so we are lucky enough to be able to visit them often. You are so lucky to have visited wineries in France.

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  3. I'm enjoying this virtual travel!

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  4. what a fabulous trip. Enjoyed the read. I generally have a soft spot for anything Provencal :D

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  5. What a treat to look at your pictures. Sounds like a wonderful trip. Thanks for sharing.

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  6. Thank you so much for sharing your photos. They are beautiful !!What a remarkable trip!

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  7. Sam, this must have been a wonderful holiday for you. Thank you for sharing it with us. Your words make it real.

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  8. I am thoroughly jealous! Looks like you had a great time!

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  9. My husband would love this region! He so enjoys learning about wine - we have visited wineries in nearly every state we've lived in, including western NC, Georgia, Michigan and even here in Minnesota and Wisconsin. But we have not yet been fortunate enough to visit anywhere in continental Europe. How marvelous it would be!

    Your photos are beautiful, especially of those clear blue skies. But I don't blame your husband for deciding to pass on the gliders! So then, how did you enjoy the the rose from La Cave du Mas de Longchamp? Did you pair it with any particular foods? Details, details! 8-D

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  10. Beautiful photos and great recap of this trip! I would love to go back to Provence and do wine tasting there!

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  11. What beautiful photos - the last time I was in provence (lo, those many years ago) I was an impoverished student living on $5 a day. Oh to return and visit vineyards. Tahnks for letting me visit vicariously through your blog.

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  12. I really enjoy looking at these beautiful pictures, thanks for sharing :)

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  13. This is my favorite of the posts so far...probably because I love looking at vineyard (your photos are gorgeous) and I love wine and I love hearing your stories about vineyards and wine. How awesome that you can take your own jug to have filled with local wine. When, oh when will I get to France?

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  14. A whole jug full of wine,,,oh my word, that is unbelievable!!!! Your photos are stirring up the travel bug in me!!!

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  15. What gorgeous photos! I wish I could make the trip right now, but of course summer, or the grape harvest, would be the ideal time!

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  16. Sam,
    Thank you for sharing these beautiful photos and giving the history of grapes. This was a spendid journey and makes me want to visit this country.

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  17. YES! It starting to become that time of year! It was 90 degrees F today in LA! I was just thinking about doing something for a rose! (I am too lazy to add the accent aigu) now I know I will. Thanks!! GREG

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  18. You look like you both had such a fabulous time in France and on visits like to these vineyards. Your descriptions are fantastic and make me wonder why we don't do this more often?

    And I love rosé wines!

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  19. I have a confession to make: I know nothing about wine. Sad, but true. Loved the lesson!

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  20. You make me feel like I'm there. Thank you.

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  21. what a place, thanks for the tour... :)

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  22. What amazing pictures!! Really, I just sit here staring at them feel totally transported!!

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  23. Oh, I wish I had been along on this trip! What an experience this must have been. Really enjoyed reading this today~cheers

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  24. What a wonderful trip! I don't blame your husband - I wouldn't go in the gliders either.

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  25. I love your France posts! I think I must have said that already...But this post is well timed for me. I am going to be pairing a rose with a roast pork with braised rhubarb and celery. I'm sill working on the flavors...but this was inspiring! GREG

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  26. Ooooh,....Sam! Well written, my foodie friend!
    Lovely story & beautiful pictures too!

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  27. Thanks for sharing more of your time in France with us. I love to take these armchair travels.

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  28. Stop by Linderhof, I have something for you.

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  29. Nice, we love to travel to vineyards and France is on our list! So many, so little time, but your sharing made me feel as though I was your shadow :)

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  30. I love rose wine and will have to do a tour of the Provence the French region that is leading the growth of pink wines. Great trip!

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  31. Simply wow! Those outdoor pictures of the vineyard just makes me want to go to my local posh park, crack open a delcious wine and sit in the sun until the bottle is finished and I am sober again..... must get out!

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I enjoy reading each and every comment. I appreciate your taking the time to visit my blog and I hope you'll return again soon.
Sam