This estate in the heart of Provence is run by the Simonin-Cerciello family. The current generation is Sophie and her husband Didier, and it was Sophie’s great-grandfather who initiated the family’s winemaking history, beginning in 1900. In 1989 Sophie relaunched the family estate, building a new wine cellar, and extending the family’s vineyard holdings to just under 30 sustainably farmed hectares. Château Barbanau itself has 25 centuries of history behind it and the name probably derives from ‘barbarian’.
The property is in two halves. 23 hectares are in the west of the Côtes de Provence appellation near Marseille, located in north-facing plots over 1,000 feet above the sea, surrounded by chalky cliffs. The cool climate ensures a longer growing season and therefore more flavour in the grapes, which are mostly a mixture of syrah, grenache, cinsault, mourvedre and vermentino (known here as rolle). Half of the production here is given to rosé, 40% is red and just 10% is white wine.
The majority of the estate's whites come from the second vineyard plot in the tiny Cassis appellation nearby. The family first planted vines here in the early 20th century, and still use the same walled plot overlooking the sea, amidst the towering limestone Calanques. The Mediterranean's sea breezes and the sunshine combine to provide the perfect climate for the family's marsanne, clairette, ugni blanc and sauvignon blanc grapes.