Domaines Ott: Stars of the summer

When it comes to Provençal oenology, Domaines Ott wines are the brightest stars in the sky.

The soil of Provence produces a rare palette of flavours: explosive, straightforward, brilliant, mature, fruity, intense, fresh, crisp, salty, balanced, full-bodied, tempting. Étoile – the cuvée rosé from Ott – brings together the best of Ott’s three domaines (estates), capturing the very essence of the identity that shapes the terroir of this region. It imbues the fragrance and endless horizon of the Provençal countryside. It is an interpretation that expresses the winemakers’ respect for the land and how it changes. It is a composition born of passion – influential and nuanced. Étoile pays tribute to tradition and the future alike with originality, spontaneity and an experimental spirit. All that matters is the present.

The company’s history began with Marcel Ott, an ambitious agronomist from Alsace who made his way to Provence in the late 19th century with a single-minded focus on his goal: to craft the very best wines in this region. After founding his company in 1896, he was able to purchase three unusual vineyards, all with very different qualities to one another, which today make up Domaines Ott: Château de Selle, Clos Mireille and Château Romassan. The pest phylloxera, which decimates grapevines, had already wrought its havoc there, but Ott glimpsed the potential that the properties still offered. Thanks to a great deal of hard work, passion, and effort, Ott restored the vineyards to their former glory. Each of the three estates has its own unique charm and personality that inspires vintners to create outstanding wines which embody the sun-drenched Provence region, bounded by ocean on one side and mountains on the other. Today, cousins Christian and Jean-François Ott maintain the award-winning vineyards established by their ancestors in this region with a long and rich tradition of wine-making. Domaines Ott was taken over by Groupe Louis Roederer in 2004. This family-run conglomerate is famous for its excellent Champagnes, but its range also features the finest wines produced in the south of France.

It all started with the purchase of Château de Selle – and the company’s success has only grown since then. A tour of the various Domaines Ott is the perfect way to get to know the fantastic quality of these wines. The Ott headquarters, Clos Mireille (AOC Côtes de Provence), is located in La Londe Les Maures, on the coast to the east of Hyères. It’s where the rosé and blanc de blancs are created, wines whose personalities are imbued with their origins amidst the sea and the sun. The rosé produced at Château Romassan (AOC Bandol), on the other hand, will surprise you with its full-bodied power and spicy, fruity elegance, while the vineyard’s red will thrill you with its intense bouquet and flawless harmony. The tour ends at the high-altitude slopes of Château de Selle (AOC Côtes de Provence), situated in the heartland of the region, where a glass of fresh and citrusy rosé will finish off your experience with a bang. Enjoy the interplay of colours in your glass, from soft pink to vibrant pale yellow or deeply saturated crimson, as the light catches glimmers of gold, orange, vermilion, greenish silver and shades of violet, pomegranate and ruby red. Even the paler, softer colours can’t hide the fact that every Ott wine has a rich body that emphasises its strengths. A tasting will prove to you that these wines’ classification as cru classé is wholly justified, as is their worldwide fame. Countless gourmet restaurants feature these cult-favourite wines on their menus. The wines were combined into a three-tone cuvée to show off the compatibility of the three vineyards with one another: Dubbed the ‘Étoile’, it’s the very best this wine-making company has to offer. All that meticulous production, in sync with nature and the environment, certainly paid off here. The strict ecological requirements apply to the quality-oriented work that takes place both in the vineyards and in the cellar. Even the bottles are designed to be something truly special: Inspired by the cypress trees of Provence and the amphorae of ancient Greece, René Ott created the brand’s distinctive trademark in 1930. It was the first time in history that a wine bottle’s very shape was trademarked. No matter the season, the scent of sun-kissed grapes out in the fields is popular with visitors.

Château de Selle
This château is located in the uplands of the French départment of Var and was the residence of the rulers of Provence in the 18th century. The chalk cliffs create an advantageous micro-climate featuring mild, frost-less winters, punctual springs, warm and dry summers and many hours of sunshine. The soil and climate are what gives these wines their outstanding character and aromas: The Cabernet Sauvignon provides complexity, elegance and power, whilst the Grenache offers a full body. These two wines are perfectly balanced by the elegant colours of the vineyard's Cinsault and Syrah.

Clos Mireille
The charm of this ancient vineyard, located right on the Mediterranean coast, is irresistible: It overlooks the deep blue of the ocean. The vines grow in slate soil and are, on average, 16 years old. The vineyard’s location, suspended between the hills and the ocean, is just as unusual as the wines it produces. The latter can be credited to the loamy soil of this ancient cliff-side landscape, since it contains no limestone at all. The microclimate and the salty spray of the waves provide the perfect conditions for subtle, unmistakable wines.

Château Romassan
The château in the distinguished wine-making region of Bandol, located in the western part of the department of Var, provides a sun-drenched, dry micro-climate that is ideal for elegant yet powerful wines. Local grape variety Mourvèdre dominates here, as it thrives in a dry climate with limited soil. This variety’s calm temperament comes through in its robust texture, striking harmonies and stunning finish. These wines get their unusual character from the unique soil, composed of limestone, sandstone and gravelly marl.

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