Legendary Rhône wine estate, Maison M. Chapoutier recently announced acquisition of the Provençal domaine, Château des Ferrages.
Château des Ferrages
Château des Ferrages is located between Aix-en-Provence and Saint-Maximin near the commune of Pourcieux. The domaine produces Côtes-de-Provence AOP and Côtes-de-Provence Saint-Victoire AOP wines, primarily rosé as well as a small quantities of reds and whites. Jose Garcia is the owner and winemaker of this 30-hectare (71 acres) estate that has been family run for three generations, making wine since 1980. The estate is regularly awarded medals from Courtiers Assermentés de France, Concours Général Agricole Paris, and Concours des Vignerons Indépendants de France.
Château des Ferrages vineyards are characterized by limestone terroir. The winery includes a full service bottling and labeling function with a capacity to process 3,500 hectoliters. The facility is currently operating at less than half capacity with production of 1,400 hectoliters. This potential could be seen as an opportunity by Chapoutier to expand their profile into new distinct terroirs and to increase wine output in the favorable rosé market.
Maison M. Chapoutier
Chapoutier is a winemaking powerhouse that is known for their biodynamique practices, wide variety of wines, and unfailing attention to capturing terroir. Maison M. Chapoutier has made wine for over 200 years and now, under the direction of Michel Chapoutier, owns vineyards in France (in Alsace, Rhône Valley and Roussillon), Portugal, and Australia and produces an extensive number of wines, particularly in the Rhône Valley. In the Rhône Valley, Chapoutier produces wine from over 20 AOPs, spanning from the acclaimed Côte-Rotie in the north to Tavel in the south.
Currently, Chapoutier produces several rosés, including a Tavel, Beaureviour, made of 100% Grenache as well as a Côtes du Luberon, La Ciboise, which is a Grenache and Cinsault blend. The widely distributed Côtes-du-Rhône, Belleruche, is a consumer favorite.
Both Chapoutier and Ferrages maintain international distribution, but the much-larger Chapoutier enjoys an exceedingly more robust presence around the world, due to their diverse production profile, considerable annual output, and high-scoring wines. Despite this significant global share, until the purchase of Château des Ferrages, Chapoutier did not produce Côtes-de-Provence AOP and Côtes-de-Provence Saint-Victoire AOP wine.
Why Provence for Rosé?
It seems likely that Chapoutier will take advantage of the additional production capacity of their new acquisition. It is expected that rosé will be the prime offering as the demand for Provençal rosé continues to climb. Given the Chapoutier respect for terroir, it’s not surprising that the estate found the Provence location compelling.
Provence is the worldwide epicenter for quality, traditional rosé. The Center for Rosé Research (Centre de Recherche et d’Expérimentation sur le Vin Rosé) was established in Provence in 1999. It remains the world’s only research institute dedicated to rosé wine. According to Vins de Provence, “In 2014 Provence rosé wine exports to the United States climbed 29%. In the same year, U.S. retail sales of imported rosé wines grew by 41% on volume, extending a multi-year trend.”