A Range of High-Quality Wines at Affordable Prices
Simple, accessible, light: the protected origin labelled wines produced at Château les Crostes (mainly Côtes de Provence) resemble their producer, Prince Félix of Luxembourg. Passionate about wines, the young man took over his father-in-law’s business two years ago. Surrounded by a group of experienced experts, he has developed a very affordable range of rosés.
In the Middle Ages, Les Crostes (which means “the caves” in Provençal) produced olives. Abandoned after a terrible cold snap in 1956, it was reinvigorated in 1986 thanks to a passionate French investor who decided to create a 55-hectare vineyard. An ultramodern cellar, fully automated and air conditioned, was installed. The estate emerged from the shadows and acquired a certain fame. In 1998, a German firm belonging to the father-in-law of Prince Félix of Luxembourg bought the estate, giving the young man a chance to engage in viticulture full time. “I’m passionate about wine and I’ve always loved to work in relationship with the soil, he said. To make wine, you need a melding of nature and man. The result is a magnificent product that you can share with your loved ones around a table.”
The estate produces mainly rosé (75% of production), but also some white and red. “Our oenologist, Ted Garin, is from Saint-Émilion, near Bordeaux, so that explains that,” noted the Prince. These wines, which have won many national and international competitions, come from local varieties: Cinsault and Grenache for the rosés, Sémillon and Rolle for the whites and Syrah, Grenache and Cabernet for the reds. All the grapes are harvested by hand, then sorted and destemmed to produce Provençal Grands Crus. Vinification takes place in ultramodern stainless steel barrels with automatic temperature control. This preserves the most flavour possible. These wines are of excellent quality but are reasonable priced, going from €5.90 to €10.90 a bottle. The Prince insisted on the pricing. “We wanted wines that were easy to drink, light and affordable,” he explained.
The Amalia Vintage
To celebrate the birth of their daughter, last year Prince Félix and Princess Claire launched a new vintage, Amalia, a pale rosé with notes of grapefruit and clementine, made from old Grenache and Cinsault and making up the brand’s higher range. For each bottle sold, €1.50 goes to a charity helping children with Sjögren-Larsson syndrome, an orphan disease. “Our baby came into the world in good health,” said the Prince. “We know how lucky we are, and we created Amalia to mark the birth of our daughter as well as for the Association.” Every year, funds are also raised in partnership with a famous rugby club.
Wines from Château les Crostes, unfortunately, are not distributed in Canada yet, but “it could happen in the long term,” confided Linda Schaller-Gallet, who is in charge of marketing the wines. In the meantime, you just have to go to the South of France (or Luxembourg) for a taste. It’s an excellent reason to discover Provence and its wines, and wine tourism is very popular in the region.
Text: Diane Stehle
Photos: Domaine Les Crostes