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  • Time

    12:19 PM
  • Wine average?

    90 Tb
  • Popularity ranking?

    250

History

In 1896 after a tour of France’s many vineyards, Marcel Ott, a young graduate in agronomy engineering from Alsace, finally found an estate that inspired him. To set the scene, we are in Provence. The Mediterranean is lapping at the shore a mere stone’s throw away...
 
In these parts, growing wines is the legacy of ancient times. Alas, a short while before Marcel Ott’s discovery, phylloxera had wreaked havoc on the vines. The land was cheaper, but the vineyards would have to be replanted. The wine had lost a great deal of its soul in the vineyard’s reconstruction. Marcel Ott bought several estates and began renovating them with the determined ambition to create great Provencal wines from noble grape varieties.
 
Today, 120 years later, cousins Jean-François and Christian Ott dedicate their life to their ancestor’s love for the site. In 2004, Domaines Ott* joined Louis Roederer and its fabulous selection of wine craftsmen.

Christian and Jean-François run three estates: Château de Selle, Clos Mireille and Château Romassan. Each of these properties has its own individual charm and personality. Each can be proud of their extremely elegant rosé, red and white wines. In their cellars reigns one sovereign wine: the famous “Cœur de Grain”.

Cœur de Grain represents wine-making genius, and its bottle could be considered a veritable master-stroke...
 
What proud and skilled vintner, has never dreamed of providing their wine with the sanctum of an exclusive, unique and instantly recognisable bottle? In 1930 René Ott did exactly that. He who never stopped loving Provence, its hills and shorelines punctuated by Cypresses and uninterrupted rows of vines, created a bottle with slender curves inspired by the grace of the landscape.
 
Today, it is still the signature of Domaines Ott* and evokes the memory of elegant amphora that kept the wine cool many centuries ago.

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Vineyards

Each Domaines Ott* estate is cultivated in a way that fully respects nature. The soil is nurtured without chemicals or intensive production techniques. The products used to treat the most common vine diseases are made from a naturally-occurring combination of sulphur and Bordeaux mixture (a blend of copper, slaked lime and black soap), as these are the only treatments allowed in organic farming.

When the vines become too old, they are replaced; the quality of the wines remains constant across the three estates. Over the years, each estate has been patiently landscaped to create the best possible growing conditions for terraced vines. This landscaping allows the vineyards to drain steadily and naturally without any run-off. The soil and its properties remain intact and the vines have a good supply of water. The organic fertilisers used are all natural, and the vines are trellised on metal wires. The juice is fermented in stainless steel tanks and then matured in oak barrels. The estates are now among the most famous, the most quality-driven and the most carefully preserved in all Provence.

Each of the Domaines Ott* wines is the result of generations of expertise and the best possible conditions for making wine. At Domaines Ott*, it takes nature one hundred days and four lunar cycles to produce a wine. This is the time between the first flowers appearing on the vine and the grape harvest. Four lunar months give nature time to fertilise and bloom, from the first signs of spring to the height of summer. Before this, over autumn and winter, the resting land is nourished with mineral fertilisers and natural compost. The vines are painstakingly trimmed to keep them healthy.

In March, the first signs of weeds are removed from the surrounding soil and each row is ploughed and loosened to make the soil lighter. The vine stock is cut back by hand so as not to damage the trunks. This helps the soil absorb spring rains, dew and the first rays of strong sunshine more easily. The vines bleed sap at the ends of the pruned stems.

In April, the winemaker removes any excess buds to ensure that the vine does not get overloaded.

In May, the vines are trellised. Confident hands weave the shoots on to the lines making it easier for them to grow and ripen. Once trained in this way, the young shoots then wind themselves around the wires. The shoots are then trimmed again so the leaves will grow more evenly and the vines will stay at the right height. The next task is to “elevate” the vines by raising the soil level at the foot of the trunk, protecting new growth from the sun’s heat as it gets stronger by the day.

June sees all the moisture evaporating from the soil and the vines coming into full flower. Bunches start to form as the grapes feast on the summer sun; the heat penetrating to the heart of every single one. They ripen slowly under the shade of the leaves that act as a protective canopy. Here, a secret transformation takes place. Under the skins of these fragile grapes, their juices acidify and their sugar becomes more concentrated. Meanwhile, the winemaker patiently waits...

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Winemaking

Mid-August, tension mounts on the estate as the grape samples are tested. Then the go-ahead is given for harvesting. Picking takes almost twenty days, bunch after bunch, vine after vine. The grapes are picked by hand and are carefully and patiently sorted according to the highest quality standards, initially amongst the vines and again before the crushing tank. In more difficult years, the demanding standards set by Domaines Ott* can mean only half the usual quantity is produced, to ensure the wines are always of the same quality.

Picked under the fierce mid-August sun, the grapes are cooled to quickly lower their temperature. The bunches pass between carefully adjusted rollers of the crusher so the grapes can be pressed without being squashed. This process releases all their clear juices and flavours.

The juice is then clarified by removing the sediment. After this, the wine is put into large, light oak barrels. Here it is allowed to rest after the heat of the summer sun and so the secret development process begins. In the half-light of the barrels, a natural alchemy turns the sugar into alcohol.

The lees are stirred occasionally to give the wine a rounder flavour. While it rests over the winter, the wine slowly clarifies. In these cool, dark conditions, it becomes rounder as it settles and starts to reveal its true character. Barrel after barrel, the wine is regularly tasted and rated until February, when the final blend for each wine and vintage is selected. Bottling takes place in spring.

 

THREE ESTATES:

 

Château de Selle

Château de Selle was the first estate acquired by Marcel Ott in 1912. It is in Tarandeau, near Draguignan, on soil where only olive, lavender and mulberry trees used to grow. Not far from Thoronet Abbey, close to a former 18th century residence of the Counts of Provence, the soil is gypsum, red clay, dolomite and sandstone mixed with gravel and stone, today producing highly distinguished and elegant wines. Perched on high limestone inland slopes where it is sheltered from winter frosts, the estate enjoys a microclimate of mild winters, early springs and warm and dry summers, always with a great deal of sunshine.

Vines are grown in the same way on terraced vineyards. Production is constant, respectful of the environment and well-balanced. The wines draw their flavours from the arid climate and minerals in the soil, demonstrating exceptional character. The average age of the vines at Château de Selle is nineteen years old. Wines are made from an accomplished blend of several grape varieties with which half of the estate’s 140 hectares are planted: Cabernet Sauvignon lends complexity, elegance and magnificent strength, Grenache provides a full-bodied texture, Cinsault adds a delicate and rounded touch, while Syrah gives its rich colour to the blends.

 

Clos Mireille

In the 1930s, Marcel Ott fell in love with a very old property, right on the coast by the intense blue of the Mediterranean. Clos Mireille overlooks the sea at La Londe Les Maures, near the Fort of Brégançon. With all the patience of a passionate amateur, Ott replanted and consolidated the vineyards, which were cooled by the sea’s spray, warmed by the dry hillside air, on land reclaimed from mulberry, olive and umbrella pines. Close to the edifice built by Benedictine monks in the 18th century, the vines soon started producing exceptional grapes bursting with flavour and nourished by both sea and sun. At Clos Mireille, the average age of the vines is sixteen years old. The soil is composed of schists. Planted on foothills on the shores of the Mediterranean, the vineyard’s location is unusual. The character of the wines is made even more exceptional in that the clay soil on this ancient rocky outcrop contains no limestone.
Its broad sea-facing orientation gives Clos Mireille wines their inimitable character. The microclimate and sea spray create perfect conditions for producing subtle and distinctive wines.

 

Château Romassan

Acquired by the Ott family in 1956, it took thirty years of hard work and experience for the old Château Romassan to produce great wines typical of the Bandol AOC appellation. Entirely replanted with noble grape varieties, its small plots were reorganised and levelled to create terraced vineyards. The superb eighteenth-century building overlooking the vineyard was also completely renovated.

This estate is located in the west of the Var département, in the heart of the celebrated Bandol winemaking region. Mourvèdre is the estate’s primary grape variety. Indigenous to the area, it is particularly suited to the arid climate and austere soil. Its calm temperament is revealed in the strength of its harmonies, its robust structure and its staying power both on the palate and in the cellar.

Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah are also grown in smaller quantities. The vines have an average age of 25 years across the 74 hectares of the estate. The vines draw their personality from the vineyard’s unique and distinguished soil. Chalk, sandstone and marl underlain with gravel, this singular land with its sun-drenched and particularly dry microclimate produces sophisticated and very powerful wines.

 

 

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