Blog: Producer Newsletters
Natural Provence RoséJean-Christophe Comor (Les Terres Promises), Coteaux Varois en Provence
After a long career as a political advisor, teacher and author, Jean-Christophe Comor had enough, moved to Provence and embarked a new journey that nearly all French, no matter what their political beliefs, can appreciate…wine making.
That was in 2004. I met Jean-Christophe at Vin de Mes Amis, a natural wine fair in Montpellier, in 2012. Both Fabien Jouves from Mas del Perie and Bertrand Jousset knew him and his wines and urged me to set up a meeting. That was all it took. I fell in love with his culture, simplicity, sense of humor and the wines. He is a magnet at wine tastings. Everyone wants to taste his wines and talk to him. Such a great, zen guy.
If one wants to get away from Paris but stay within France’s borders, the Coteaux Varois en Provence is about as far away as you can get. Close to Bandol (Comor actually makes a little wine in this famous appellation), it is between the Côteaux d’Aix-en-Provence and Côtes de Provence. In 1993, it became an official AOC.
The microclimate is more extreme in the Coteaux Varois than the rest of the region with colder winters and hot summers. The heavily eroded hillsides are composed largely of limestone with gravel and flint.
Jean-Christophe knew this region was perfect for his new venture right away. The weather makes it easier to farm organically, which was his goal, and it is a little off the beaten path. The property is located in the village of La Roquebrussanne, 1300 feet above sea level, at the end of a long, steep road. He is near the La Saint Baume mountain and 22 miles from the Mediterranean and neighbors a goat cheese farm. Could it be more Provençal?
The problem was that he was almost starting from scratch. There were some vineyards in place but mostly a lot of trees and brush to clear. Having come from the political world of Paris, there was much to learn and quickly. Jean-Christophe knew that he wanted to farm organically and make his wines as naturally as possible so he looked to other ambassadors of these philosophies for inspiration and guidance: Catherine Breton in the Loire and Marcel Richaud in the Rhône, as well as other natural winemakers throughout France. His learning curve was directly proportional to his own efforts and hard work and based strictly on trial and error.
Jean-Christophe does not permit any chemicals in his vineyard. All harvesting is done by hand. Sorting is done in the vineyard, plot by plot. He works with many grapes including Ugni Rosé (a sub variety of Ugni Blanc), Carignan Blanc, Rolle, Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre and a lot of Carignan. In the cellar he uses natural fermentation and sulphur is kept to a minimum. He does not fine or filter his wines. Oak foudres and fiberglass tanks for are used for fermentation.
Jean-Christophe makes white, rosé and red wines. Right now we are importing the L’Apostrophe, a rosé that is picked and pressed for rosé only.2012 Domaine des Terres Promises “L’Apostrophe”
40% Cinsault, 35% Grenache, 25% Carignan
Made from 20 – 40 year old vines, Comor lightly presses the grapes right after harvest to ensure freshness and vitality. It has a beautiful pale pink hue, with strawberry, blackberry, spice and garrigue on the nose. The palate is all kinds of cherry – juicy, sour and even macerated. A little watermelon and citrus round things out flavorwise and continue through the long, crisp finish. The L’Apostrophe will work with your traditional picnic and Provençal fare, but can also support complex flavors in a more composed and elegant summer dish.
Suggested Retail Price: $16Cheers!Raphael, Cristin, Alejandro, JB, Jennifer, Kaci and Laurent