The port city of Marseille is not only the capital of its region, Provence, but the cultural center for all of southern France and second only to Paris in term of size. But like many ancient sea-faring cities (Marseille’s roots are Greek, making it the oldest city in France) Marseille looks outward to the vast foamy blue brine before it, which means even just a few miles outside of town the trees thicken rapidly and the land begins to rise.
By the time you reach Pierrevert, you have officially arrived in the Provencal hinterlands: pointed green hills, dry chalky soil, and because of a unique situation and the prevailing winds, a subtle cooling alpine influence as well. Notwithstanding this, Pierrevert’s (only elevated to A.O.C. status in 1998) vineyards are planted to all of the typical Provencal grape varieties, with reds made primarily from Grenache Noir and Syrah with Carignan and Cinsault as support. White wines are dominated by Grenache Blanc and Vermentino (which is often called Rolle in other parts of southern France but here they use the Italian name) with the balance made up of Clairette, Roussanne, and Ugni Blanc.
This cuvee is made up of Grenache Blanc, Vermentino, and Roussanne, and to keep it punchy and crisp, it sees no malolactic fermentation. Let me also say that this wine holds perfectly to my postulate that northern Mediterranean whites are best served a bit on the warmer side. Chill them too deeply and they become very shy…
The menu was composed of an appetizer of baby artichokes braised with herbs and yellow pepper, and a main course of turbot fillets stuffed with a prawn, in a simple lemon, wine, and chive cream sauce with steamed haricot verts on the side.
Domaine La Blaque Pierrevert Blanc 2010
Slightly coppery pale straw color. Very charmingly rustic nose of green melon, dried white flowers, anise, lime, zabaglione, and ripe yellow figs. The medium-full body is punchy with a very clean mineral salty spine on which hang slightly “painterly” flavors of tart pear, beeswax, tarragon, vanilla bean, lemon zest, and fresh pineapple chunks. Long and rich bitter almond finish.