Federal Wine & Spirits

29 State Street, Boston, MA 02109

2021 Ch. Simone Palette Rose

France’s Most Complex, Arguably Best Rose
April 3, 2023


Chateau Simone

One of France's finest estates is little known here. Ch. Simone in Provence's tiny Palette, a region created for it, is an estate with a singular terroir owned by the Rougier family since 1835. A bottle of Simone from fifty years ago was produced in the same way, in the same cellar, with literally the same vines, by the same family, as the newly released vintages.

Château Simone lies in a twenty-hectare limestone amphitheater of north-facing, steeply terraced vineyards just southeast of Aix-en-Provence, surrounded by pine forest. The northern exposition offsets the intense Provencal heat and ensures slow ripening; the limestone imparts a forceful minerality; Vines between 60 and 130 years of age give great depth, e. Simone is a true field blend of 13 classic and obscure varieties.

The Rougiers create wines with bare-minimal intervention. Vineyards have been organic for three generations; everything is harvested by hand; grapes are pressed in an old-style vertical basket press; no outside yeast strains have ever been introduced at Simone; the wines are bottled without fining or filtering. 

The Rougiers' justly legendary rosé—composed of the same field blend as the rouge, with an admixture of Clairette and produced by blending direct-press and free-run juice in equal proportions is the best and most serious Rose we have tasted. It ferments spontaneously and spends a year in large oak foudres developing remarkable depth. Simone's 2021 is their current release. It can improve for over a decade, developing an aged red wine's savory notes and umami complexity over time. Amply fruited but with a core of lean minerality, the 2021 Palette Rosé offers excellent tension, complexity in texture, and the delineated flavors of a grand cru red expressed in juicy red apples, Provencal herbs, and softly smoky earth.

The 2021 has not yet been reviewed, but the Revue du Vin de France wrote of the 2020:

"Richly colored, this 2020 Rose is a little austere at this stage (spring 2022) and deserves another year in bottle for its redcurrant and blueberry flavors and finely tannic palate to open up. Don't hesitate to decant this tasty rosé, honest in the flavor of its grapes, with a structural thrust that invites it to the table in all seasons."

We still have a few bottles of that. The 2021 is just as good but a year younger. My notes:


2021 Ch Simone Palette Rose; Color: very dark rose; Aroma: very rich, heady, and heavy, very full, a bouquet of roses; Mouth: ripe fruit on the attack, bright acid, very good drive, bright with lots of material underneath, finely driven tannins, very long; Excellent $79


2021 or 2020 Ch Simone

Wood Case $799 (66.59)

Six-bottle Pack $425.94 (70.99)

Some in stock, more coming


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           - Len Rothenberg



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