The village of Menerbes is one of the most magical spots in southern France, sitting at the crossroads of Provence and the Rhone Valley. The village features gorgeous hillsides, covered with vines, lavender, and garrigue. Here, Domaine de la Citadelle is at the vanguard of a growing wine culture. When the domain was founded in 1981, it was the first winery in Menerbes, and one of only 24 in the appellation of Luberon. Now there are three other wineries in Menerbes and 60 in Luberon.
Less than half an hour from Chateauneuf on the eastern side of the Rhone, the climate at Citadelle is somewhat cooler than Chateauneuf. Citadelle, a 40-hectare estate, is a made up of a carefully developed patchwork quilt of 65 small parcels set at 1,000 feet in elevation. Distributed among these parcels are the plantings of Grenache Blanc, Clairette, Ugni, and Rolle that go into the estate's Chatagnier Blanc. All of these varieties can maintain their vibrancy despite the warm temperature of the region.
It doesn't hurt that winemaker Yves Rousset-Rouard eschews chemical fertilizers and herbicides, emphasizes low yields, and relies on strict selection in the vineyards (where he harvests by hand) and then on the sorting table. The result is a plump, fresh aromatic white wine, one with notes of dried pears and a creamy texture.
Domaine de la Citadelle
This wine is wonderful as an aperitif. Or try it with mild cheeses (Gaperon or St. Marcellin, for example) and vegetable terrines.