Chateau Sainte Roseline

In 1955, Chateau Sainte Roseline was classified as just one of 23 Crus Classés of Provence. Today, 18 such estates remain as five no longer make wine. Sainte Roseline is the only one from Les Arcs. 

The Story

Chateau Sainte Roseline is named for the daughter of the Marquis de Villeneuve, Lord of Les Arcs, in the south of France. Born 756 years ago in January 1263, the young girl disobeyed her father for a virtuous cause. When she was discovered for her transgression, her disobedience triggered a miracle.

The 12th century cloister of the abbey displays half-gothic, half-roman ribs. At the base of one of the pillars adorned with rosebushes is a Carignan vine nearly 140 years old! 

The chapel is a classified historical monument and a place of worship that is open to the public in the afternoon everyday except Monday, year-round. Check the timings by writing to Chateau Sainte Roseline at their official English/French/Chinese website

The miracle absolved Roseline from any blame.

During a famine brought on by a harsh winter, Roseline – generous, caring, loving and selfless – drains the family reserves of food from their storeroom to help those less fortunate. One day, her father catches her in the act of gifting to the poor. Miraculously, the food she was shielding from her father, when she was ordered to turn around, became an armful of bright roses. The miracle absolved Roseline from any blame. (What parent would not be immensely proud of such an exemplary act by their child?).

Although she was an aristocrat, Roseline de Villeneuve devoted her life to a taller order.

Exhumed five years after her death (17 January 1329), Sainte Roseline’s body was found intact, the eyes bright and shiny as if she were alive. The body of the revered saint – in her priestess robes – has been lying inside its crystal reliquary and is on display since then in the chapel.

Her body was found intact, the eyes bright and shiny as if she were still alive.

She was Mother Prioress of the Abbey of La Celle Roubaud from 1300 to 1328. And died on 17 January 1329. Just as a miracle occurred during her life, something miraculous also happened after that. Exhumed five years after her death, her body was found intact, the eyes bright and shiny as if she were still alive. So moved, Louis XIV’s personal physician records the miracle of the preservation of Saint Roseline’s eyes in 1660 by order of the king. Placed in a crystal casket, Sainte Roseline’s body would not be embalmed until five hundred and sixty-five years after her death in 1894. Canonized, Sainte Roseline’s body still lies in a crystal shrine in the parish chapel on the wine estate. The chapel is a renowned place of worship and is open to the public.

Great artists have celebrated Sainte Roseline, including Marc Chagall who dedicated a mosaic depicting the meal of the angels. 

Sainte Roseline’s life story lives forever in the name she has given to one of the most highly regarded rosés of Provence. In 1955, the estate was one of 23 Provencal wines officially designated as Crus Classés. Today, only 18 classified estates remain as five no longer make wine. Sainte Roseline is the only Cru Classé of Les Arcs.

The flamboyant stained glass windows are the work of Jean Bazaine and Raoul Ubac.

A bronze lectern relief showing the miracle of the roses by Swiss sculptor Diego Giacometti (younger brother of Alberto Giacometti) was donated by Marguerite Maeght in 1976. 

An altarpiece from the School of Brea depicts Sainte Roseline and her parents, the Marquis and Marquise de Villeneuve, in a nativity scene. Incidentally, January 17th is Saint Roseline’s Day.

The Wine

The modern history of Chateau Sainte Roseline can be traced to 1994.

The historical estate is located within a 30-minute radius from the Bay of Saint-Tropez, the Cannes Croisette, the Gorges du Verdon and Aix-en-Provence. Vines have been known to be cultivated here for 750 years.

The modern history of Chateau Sainte Roseline can be traced to 1994 when Bernard Teillaud became proprietor of the estate and custodian of the chapel. The abbey was completely renovated under the guidance of Jean-Michel Wilmotte. Teillaud also asked the architect to redesign the interior of the chateau without altering its historical features.

Harvesting takes place at night to preserve aromas, freshness and avoid oxidation.

Then in 2007, Aurelie Bertin Teillaud (Bernard’s daughter) took over management of the estate, intent on investing as much as was necessary in the pursuit of quality and a search for a distinctive personality for each of the vineyard’s white, rosé and red wines. The 108-hectare vineyard is planted to syrah, mourvedre and cabernet sauvignon for the reds; grenache, syrah, mourvedre, cinsault and tibouren for the rosés; and, rolle (aka vermentino) and semillon for the whites. The soil is predominantly clay and limestone. Harvesting – manual or mechanical – takes place at night to preserve aromas, freshness and avoid oxidation.

The grapes are sorted, de-stemmed, and re-sorted again. In order to vinify the fruit parcel by parcel, the winery is spread over three levels, covering an area of 400 square metres. There are 70 thermo-regulated stainless steel vats, large oak casks and 300 barrels. Rather than using pumps and pipes, the winery is gravity fed for minimal intervention of the grapes, juice and finished wine. The attention to detail is not hard to understand. After all, when your winery is named after someone who has inspired miracles, quality is also uppermost at Chateau Sainte Roseline.


Tasting Notes

Roseline Prestige Rosé 2018

Pale in complexion. Delicate peach and citrus fruit. Light, fresh and with a delicious roundness. The stopper is a glass-top. Makes for a beautiful bottle to hold cooking/olive oil or water after the wine is enjoyed.

Chateau Sainte Roseline Lampe de Meduse 2018

A touch reductive. Citrussy on the aroma and palate. The acidity is round, caressing. The environmentally sensitive viticulture includes ploughing and allowing grass to grow between rows of vines so that the soil stays healthy. After de-stemming, the grapes are gently pressed in gravity-fed pneumatic presses to avoid oxidation. The unique bottle shape was created in 1950 by Baroness Rasque Laval in honour of the Knights of Medusa who had the outlandish habit of “Lamper wine”, literally “drinking in one gulp large quantities of wine” before each induction. Makes “kan pei” seems very tame. You can, and should, take your time to enjoy this over several glasses. The wine will taste better too.

Chateau Sainte Roseline 2018 

The first vintage was 2015. The same palate profile as Lampe de Meduse but with greater intensity. Finesse. And freshness. Produced in limited quantities. Picked from late August to late September at night to avoid oxidation and colouring. The must then goes through a cold stabilisation for eight days, ensuring the juice is pristine and clear before temperature-controlled fermentation at 18° Celsius for between 10 and 14 days. No malolactic fermentation. The blend is 26% tibouren, 23% cinsault, 18% mourvedre, 16% grenache, 10% syrah and 7% rolle (aka vermentino).

Chateau Sainte Roseline Cuvée La Chapelle de Sainte Roseline 2017

This is the top wine. A touch reductive. Intensity, concentration and freshness. Still quite closed. Needs time to open up. And will continue to evolve and become more complex into 2025. Possibly beyond. A blend of 55% mourvedre, 30% cinsault, 10% grenache and 5% rolle (aka vermentino). Produced in limited quantities from the best plots. The harvest is also carried out at night to preserve freshness and ensure the grapes are handled sensitively to avoid undue colouring. After de-stemming, the grapes are gently pressed in gravity-fed pneumatic presses to avoid oxidation.  Rosés can age although not as long as white and red wine. This top cuvée should be enjoyed only after 3 years following the harvest in order to appreciate the peacock spread of aromas and fruit. Do not overchill. Best between cool and cold. And in a large Burgundy glass or Cognac balloon.

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