Last week, Dorianne, Grace and I joined our friend Richard Major, who was raised in the Luberon region for an afternoon drive thought the region. We started with a wonderful lunch at his home in Mazan, sharing a couple of bottles of local wines, then drove through a beautiful gorge into the Luberon Valley. As we approached the town of Bonnieux, one of the places where Richard grew up, he turned into a driveway marked Château La Canorgue (LINK). “Let’s see if they are still open,” he said – it was 6:45 pm. As we drove up the driveway through the scenic property, Richard said casually, “The winemaker, Jean-Pierre Margan and I went to high school together. I haven’t seen him for forty years.”
We digested that bit of information as we pulled into the parking area, and Richard spotted Jean-Pierre standing outside of the tasting room. They engaged in conversation while we went inside, where we met his daughter, Nathalie, who now represents the 5th generation of winegrowers at this storied property.
This beautiful property was featured in the movie “A Good Year” (A Big Year) with Russell Crowe and Marion Cotillard directed by Ridley Scott. They produce 100% organic wines (LINK) .
It was getting late, so we got right to a tasting of several of their wines next to a wall that contained a few dozen award certificates that the Chateau had amassed over the years.
We started with their Château La Canorgue label Luberon Rosé, a blend of Grenache Blanc and Syrah. A nice, refreshing wine.
Then we tasted their Château La Canorgue label Luberon White Blend (LINK), a winner of the Gold Medal in the 2015 Concours Général Agricole Paris. This blend of Rousanne, Marsanne, Clairette and Bourboulenc makes for a very refreshing, complex wine. An excellent white wine – something that I was coming to realize as a trait of this area in the northern reaches of Provence, normally known for the reds produced here.
Next, we tasted their La Canorgue 100% Viognier (LINK), a wine that cannot carry the Chateau label because it does not meet the AOP (formerly known as AOC) regulations for blending. Nathalie Margan said that this wine was so good as a single varietal that they just went ahead and labeled it this way. It is a very fruity and light wine that would be excellent with shellfish, and has a very pleasing, long finish.
Moving to the reds, we started with their second label, Béret Frog, a blend of Cabernet, Grenache, Merlot & Syrah that sells for about 7 euros a bottle. It is a good everyday wine, with some complexity, but is more of a table wine that would be a cut above most vin ordinaire.
Next, the Château La Canorgue label Luberon Red blend (LINK), a blend of 60% Syrah, 30% Grenache, and 10% old vine Carignan and Mourvedre. This is the flagship wine of the property. It is a first-class wine, with great structure, a nose of dark fruit and minerals, and flavor of the terroir balanced nicely with fruit and cassis, and a smooth long finish.
Finally, the 2012 La Canorgue Red, a limited production 100% Grenache. A truly delicious wine with a nice tannic structure. This small production wine is generally absent from the internet, but you can order it from their website.
We purchased 8 bottles of wine to take back to our apartment near Avignon, and headed out to explore another village or two and then have dinner back in Mazan. A great day in The Luberon Valley. If you get up this way, don’t miss Château La Canorgue, a beautiful location with some wonderful wines.
Château La Canorgue, Route du Pont Julien, 84480 Bonnieux