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Few Provencal red wines possess the elegance, power and purity of the 2011 Château Margüi Côteaux Varois Rouge. From the moment the wine is poured, it begins to work its magic. First, the wine’s brilliant ruby and purple edged robe attracts the eye. It then ably follows up with a second command performance: a beguiling bouquet of floral scents, framed by underlying oak tones and hints of exotic spices. The wine’s pleasing olfactory carries through on the palate, too, filling the mouth with an explosion of cherry fruit, spice and tannin. The latter lends structure to the wine and reminds us that the 2011 Château Margüi Côteaux Varois remains a mere youth, and it has a long, illustrious life ahead of it. Although already silky smooth in the center and quite enjoyable now, this wine will almost certainly continue to mature in bottle for years to come. For optimum enjoyment we suggest serving this Gold Medal Recipient (at the prestigious Macon Fair) at cool room temperature after an hour or more of aeration.
Steak rubbed with olive oil, garlic and Provencal herbs before being seared and grilled to perfection with all of its juices gets our first nod to serve with a bottle of the youthful 2011 Château Margüi Côteaux Varois Rouge. Lamb, in almost any form, provides a splendid accompaniment to any fine Provencal red wine as well. However, Château Margüi’s Côteaux Varois Rouge can truly run the food gauntlet, pairing admirably with dishes as varied as Vegetable Lasagna, Lobster Ravioli, and Gnocchi stuffed with braised veal, porcini mushrooms, and a hint of Pecorino cheese. A simple Rosemary Roasted Chicken served with mashed potatoes, butternut squash, and ratatouille provides another fine accompaniment. But you need not stop there, as Château Margüi’s Côteaux Varois Rouge will complement almost any meat, game, or grilled vegetable combination.
Provence has the ability to capture the heart as well as the palate. It is for me and many others, including the proprietors of Château Margüi, the most beautiful and glorious wine country of France. As Renoir and the Impressionists found a way to capture the brilliant light of Provence and paint it on canvas, Philippe Guillanton has discovered how to pour the beauty and luminosity of Provence into a glass of Château Margüi wine.
Philippe Guillanton worked as an agent for Yahoo, where he essentially opened Europe to Yahoo. In the process, he made quite a bit of money. As Philippe tells it, his wife wanted a home where she could create a beautiful formal garden. While searching, Philippe and Marie came upon Château Margüi, an old manor house on a picturesque wooded hilltop near the village of Châteauvert in the Côteaux Varois of north-central Provence. The region is famous for its spectacular hills, cliffs and grottos. It also serves as a renowned paradise for hikers and climbers, and of course great wine. Long a haven for artists and artisans, Châteauvert is an idyllic little village that prides itself on being a completely “green” village: everything in the village is organic, including Château Margüi.
The purchase of Château Margüi is the classic little old lady story: the manor was inhabited by an elderly lady who could no longer care for the property and realized she must sell it. The estate was completely run down, the vineyards and olive groves had been abandoned, and the house was falling apart. Perfect!
Philippe and his wife Marie bought the property and immediately began restoration. Philippe’s first success was with white wine, which is something of an anomaly in Provence. Very little white wine is made there, with white wines comprising less than 10% of the region’s total production. However, Philippe’s white wine was well a cut above and an instant success. It quickly became sought after by the top restaurants and wine shops on the French Riviera. He soon found himself making deliveries to the restaurants of Alain Ducasse and others in Nice and St. Tropez. His next successes came in the form of an ethereal Rosé and full-bodied, yet elegant Rouge. The production is all certified organic at Château Margüi. Philippe has now moved beyond organic to even stricter biodynamic methods of viticulture, which means the already small 5,000 case production at this great estate is not likely to grow. Only 1,000 cases of the Château Margüi Côteaux Varois Rouge are produced each year and the estate’s red appears in only a few fine establishments in the U.S. In addition to fashioning fine wines, Château Margüi produces a first class Extra Virgin olive oil from their own olives.
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