Château Minuty – A Winery Profile

Does Château Minuty Make the World’s Best Rosé?

This feature was commissioned by Chateau Minuty.

That was one of the questions on my mind as I sat down with François Matton, one of the co-owners of Château Minuty, for lunch at a restaurant in Port Credit in July. I had visited his estate some 30 years ago when on vacation on the Côte d’Azur staying in Saint Tropez. The chateau is just around the corner from this famous French seaside resort. At the time, I remember being impressed with their rosé wines but, since they were not sold in Ontario, I had not kept up with their growth into international markets and their rising fame.

Chateau Minuty

François and his brother, Jean-Etienne, took charge of the family estate in 1994. For François’ part, he is responsible for the management of the vineyards and the development of sales abroad. Minuty wines are now present in more than 95 countries around the world, including Canada, and we are about to see the first on the shelves in Ontario. He is proud of his contribution promoting the Rosé de Provence wines, as he builds on Château Minuty’s 80 years of history.

François and Jean-Etienne Matton

François and Jean-Etienne Matton

Rosé is definitely the focus of the winery since it represents around 85% of their production. Grenache also makes up a large percentage of the vines and their finest wines are made almost totally from this grape.

The estate produces four rosé wines. Let’s look at them all starting with the least expensive. All the tasting notes are from July 2018.

Limited Edition M De Minuty Rosé 2017

M Minuty 2017, Côtes De Provence, France $26.95

This wine, part of the September 29th VINTAGES release, is a limited-edition release in a bottle designed by Ashley Mary. It is made from grapes sourced from vineyards close to the estate under long term contract. It is 50% grenache, 30% cinsault and 20% syrah.

John Szabo – A fine and flavourful rosé here, with above average intensity and concentration, and great acid-fruit balance on the palate. I like the gently creamy texture and the very good length. A fine, premium rosé, for either current enjoyment or even short-term cellaring.
Michael Godel – The aromatics are particularly fruity but also introduce a lactic-creamy wine. Faint strawberry and even more subtle notes of rhubarb and mild chèvre give way to custardy apple and a briny-salty-umami flavour that imagines a creamy spoonful of sea urchin. I can’t think of a more appropriate rosé for sushi than this Minuty right here. Fresh fish and seasoned rice would welcome the attention. Drink 2018-2020.

Minuty Prestige 2017

Minuty Prestige 2017, Côtes De Provence, France $35.95

This wine is available on private order from the agent (Mark Anthony Wines & Spirits). It is made with grapes 60% of which are sourced from vineyards close to the estate under long term contract and the remainder coming from the estate. Grenache, cinsault, and syrah are joined in the blend by tibouren, a red variety indigenous to the area.

David Lawrason – This is a pale, firm, dry and nicely balanced Provençal rosé with gentle but bright aromas of sour cherry, orange, peach and vague dried herbs and almost evergreen notes. It is medium weight, firm and a bit stony on the palate – nicely even and focused with very good to excellent length.
Steve Thurlow – This rosé is pale, watery pink with delicate aromas of white cherry fruit, hints of white peach and lemon and some mild herbal notes. It is mid-weight, very rich and creamy on the palate with a good depth of flavour and very good length. The fruit persists well on the finish and it is very even with good focus and very good to excellent length. Don’t chill too much and try with delicate seafood dishes.

Château Minuty Rose Et Or 2017

Château Minuty Rosé Et Or 2017, Côtes De Provence, France $50

This wine is available on private order from the agent. It is made entirely from grapes on the estate and almost completely from grenache with a splash of tibouren.

John Szabo – An ambitiously crafted rosé with some ageing potential in mind, I’d speculate, given the reductive profile on offer off the top. You’ll have to wade through the grapefruity-sulphide notes to reach the rest of the wine, marked by yeasty-creamy lees and ripe red berry and more citrus fruit flavours. The acid balance is fine, and concentration and length are certainly impressive. Be sure to tuck it in the cellar another year or two at least to experience this wine as it was intended to be enjoyed.
David Lawrason – This is very pale, typical Provençal hued rosé with light salmon and copper tones. The nose is a bit waylaid by papery sulphur notes, but there is some strawberry, orange and subtle oyster shell minerality. The palate is the main event here, quite rich and dry with big flavour intensity, warmth and excellent length. A bit herbal on the finish, with some bitterness.

Château Minuty 281 2017

Château Minuty 281 2017, Côtes De Provence, France $85

There is a small plot of grenache that was planted on the estate in 1938 which consistently produces the best wine. Initially it was thought this was due to its exposure, or altitude, or the mica rich schist soils, or maybe a combination of all. However, they are now convinced that it is a special clone since cuttings taken from these vines, when planted elsewhere on the estate, also deliver superior wines.

There is no record of where the vines came from so gradually this special clone is being propagated to potentially increase the quantity of 281 that can be produced. Save it to say it is only the best grapes from the estate that go into this wine and they are from plots on the estate that are on average 25 years old. Curiously, 281 is the Pantone code for the blue used on the bottle. It is available on private order from the agent.

Steve Thurlow – This is a superb rosé for its structure, complexity, depth of flavour, and fragrance. The very appealing lifted nose of ripe peach, white cherry, strawberry, and grapefruit leads to a similarly flavoured palate. The mouthfeel is lovely, creamy rich and full of flavour with a fine balance and firm acidity under all the fruit. Excellent length. One of the best rosés I can remember tasting. Tasted July 2018.
John Szabo – Flinty, petrol-tinged, remarkably complex; forget the commercial rosé paradigm altogether here and read this as fine wine, pure and simple. It offers all of the Hallmarks of quality: complexity, intensity, and balance, in addition to a gently creamy texture and excellent length. One gets the sense of both an exceptional piece of land, the right vine varieties, and impeccable winemaking. There’s no recourse to obvious oak to justify the high price, but rather a commitment to farming that I imagine makes the difference. In any case, bravo to Minuty for raising the bar so high.
David Lawrason – This is undoubtedly a very expensive rosé, so I would go looking for ultimate balance and depth. This sure gets to toward that ideal. The paleness sets you up for subtlety and gentleness, but there is impressive flavour intensity on the palate. Loads of strawberry, grapefruit, gentle peppery spice, plus some onionskin character with excellent follow through. Nicely firm, with fine mouth-watering acidity, rich and long. Quite mineral in fact. It is 100% grenache.
Michael Godel – This is a pale and flinty rosé with a very pretty smell of ripe peach. Without a doubt less sulphured and lactic as compared to the other three in the portfolio but also the one with the most red wine like structure in its bones. There’s even a peppery pique to the peach that reappears on the palate so I would not have been shocked if some syrah took a role in this cuvée. That said, it’s the special clone of grenache that does the trick. This is highly composed rosé with precision and focus. Happy to drink it anytime, especially when someone else wants to lay out $85 to do so. Drink 2018-2022.

So as you can see we were all very impressed by the quality of these rosé wines. So what is the secret to their success?

Clearly the unique clone of grenache and the vineyard site is a major factor. However, painstaking care during the harvest and winemaking must also enhance what nature delivers. For 281, the grapes are hand-harvested and then carefully selected for quality before they are cooled and inert gas is injected. It is the free-run juices that are then fermented at the very low temperature of 14°C. Thus, slowly making the wine while keeping the aromas and flavours trapped.

From our scores and unanimous opinion you can tell that Château Minuty 281 Rosé de Provence 2017 must be one of the best rose wines in the world. For my part, it is the best rosé I can remember tasting ever. So, let’s hope one day it will be readily available in Ontario.

You will be able to find the M Minuty 2017, Côtes De Provence, France $26.95 in its special bottle in VINTAGES stores from September 29th. The other three wines can be sourced from the agent Mark Anthony Wines and Spirits. Contact Joey Krueger at [email protected] for more information.

This feature was commissioned by Chateau Minuty. As a regular feature, WineAlign tastes wines submitted by a single winery. Our critics independently, as always, taste, review and rate the wines – good, bad and indifferent, and those reviews are posted to WineAlign. We then independently recommend wines to appear in the winery profile. Wineries pay for this service. Ads for some wines may appear at the same time, but the decision on which wines to put forward in our report, and its content, is entirely up to WineAlign.