In 2002, then-28 year old Sylvain Morey branched out from his native Chassagne-Montrachet to found Bastide du Claux–in (of all places) the Luberon, in the rugged hills of northern Provence. Sylvain has an intimate understanding of the terroirs of his place of origin (as the wines from his newly founded Domaine Sylvain Morey in Chassagne-Montrachet attest to), but he’s also a curious, well-traveled guy, and the allure of obtaining old vineyards at reasonable prices and embracing the challenge of a new terroir was irresistible. Since then, Sylvain has built Bastide du Claux into a reference domaine in this still-little-understood appellation, working without chemicals or designer yeasts, and applying a very–well–Burgundian sense of precision to his vineyard and cellar procedures.
His 2016 Côtes du Luberon Rosé is a real standout, offering the ethereal pale salmon color and bright salty snap we’ve come to love about Provençal rosé, but without the confected, “commercial,” overly aromatically exuberant character that sometimes mars those wines. Sylvain picks all of the grapes at “rosé ripeness,” aiming for balancing acidity and brightness rather than sun-drenched ripeness. It’s composed of 50% Grenache, 30% Cinsault, and 10% each Carignan and Syrah, from vines between 25 and 60 years of age. All of the grapes are pressed directly, and the majority undergo no maceration, with a portion of Grenache and Cinsault spending six or so hours on their skins after the pressing. Everything is done in cement, and the wine ferments naturally. This is a non-flashy rosé of great mineral character, showing its soil influence clearly, and offering subtle red fruits and vigorous acidity on the palate.