ABOUT: The vineyards of Chateau Henri Bonnaud lie within a gravelly, limestone-soil amphitheater in the Palette AC in Provence. This tiny region is just south of Aix-en-Provence and is nestled in the foothills of the oft Cezanne-painted Mont Sainte-Victoire. This location is ideal for growing grapes, plenty of south facing slopes and ample protection from that ‘ol bugaboo Mistral. The Chateau is on its third generation of winemakers, with Henri’s grandson Stephane taking the wheel in the late 1990’s. He has continued to elevate the wine and reputation of this Chateau, the region as well, and converted their 14 hectares of vines to organic cultivation. The 2013 vintage marks the first fully certified organic wines to be released. The reds are made from Syrah, Carignan, Mourvedre, and Grenache. The whites are made from Clairette blanche & Ugni Blanc. These are serious Provencal wines, earthy, herbacious and complex, and are a fine reflection of the surrounding beauty.
TASTE: The 2014 Henri Bonnaud Quintessence Blanc is a blend of Clairette blanche and Ugni Blanc and has developed beautifully (tasting in 2021). The herbaceous aromas rise up and out of the glass, fennel, thyme, and cedar followed by lemon, peach, apricot, and pineapple. The tiniest bit of marzipan in the mix. The body is a medium, alcohol and acid as well, with a soft and smooth texture. The texture is what keeps me coming back to the glass, pillow soft with mild edges. Medium+ length on the finish and medium+ complexity. Fair to say this is a unique wine from a unique place. Delicious too. Another 3-5 years of development won’t hurt its beauty.
PAIR: Falafel with vegetables and tahini, vegetable gratin with a hunk of crusty bread, apricot chickpea curry, and an olive, preserved lemon and goat cheese salad.