Located in the commune of Meyreuil and just four kilometres from Aix en Provence, the old bastide of the Grands Carmes d’Aix monks, now the Chateau Simone, has been in the hands of the Rougier family since 1830. Old documents bear witness to the fact that vines have been cultivated here from time immemorial. The historic reputation of its wines has made Chateau Simone a prime example of the Provencal terroir. It is part of the Palette AOC – limited to 111 acres- which benefit from the limestone soils surrounding the base of the Ste.-Victoire mountain.
Chateau Simone is a 300-acre domaine that has been in the Rougier family for generations. It has 57 acres of vines (just more than half the entire AOC) that sit amid the nooks and crannies of pine-covered hillsides, featuring north-facing terraces that ripen slowly and late despite basking in the Provencal sun.
Production from the estate totals about 8,300 cases annually, with 10 percent going to the U.S. Half the production is white, 40 percent red and the rest rosé.
White grapes planted on the site are primarily Clairette, including some 100-year-old vines, along with Bourboulenc, Ugni Blanc, Grenache Blanc and Muscat, with reds comprised of primarily Grenache, Mourvèdre and Syrah, along with Cabernet Sauvignon, Tibouren and other local varieties.
The average age of the estate’s vines is high-60 years old-thanks in part to Rougier’s grandfather, who replanted much of the estate after he took over prior to World War II, as well as Rougier’s practice of replanting vine by vine, as needed, rather than waiting for parcels to die out and replacing en masse.Their renown spread and the bottles, with the elegant classical presentation on the original label, found their way to the most prestigious tables and those of the finest gourmets. Its location on the north-facing slopes of the Montaiguet massif in a natural bowl-shaped formation protected from the winds and crossed by the Arc river give it a special microclimate. It is influenced by the biodiversity of the nearby forest, the humidity coming from the river with its mass of greenery, its exposure and the fact that the force of the winds is broken. The soil consists essentially of limestone scree formed in lakes in the Tertiary Era combined with clays, pebbles and grave.
The grapes are harvested and sorted manually. They are then transported to the cellar in small 40-kg bins. They are sorted a second time before being crushed. The fermentation processes are classic and traditional, using native yeasts. Every effort is made to preserve the integrity and structure of the crop.