Chateau La Coste is possibly one of the most celebrated wineries in Provence. Sprawled across 500 acres in the valley of Le Puy-Sainte-Réparade, it boasts of vineyards, work by world-famous artists, four first class kitchens (including restaurants by highly acclaimed chefs Francis Mallmann and Gérald Passédat), a boutique hotel, and amazing landscape.
Very “exclusive and chic”, this is an absolute heaven for those who adore little luxuries in life such as contemporary art, wine, R&R and fabulous food. I’m raring to return again, as on my last visit, it was such a sweltering day. My body temperature had only allowed me half a day until jumping in a pool of cold water trumped walking around the area more. Consider this as “Part 1”, perhaps?
Wine from Chateau La Coste is quite the pride of the French Riviera. Their key philosophies stem from protecting the fertility and the essence of the soil in which they grow the crop. Their wines are “AB” organic, and their biodynamic methods and their respect for the synergy of production and nature are widely recognized.
The wineshop showcases a range of red, white and rosé produced in the winery. There are also unique products such as olive oil variants, biscuits, tableware and glassware as well as books.
Lunch at La Terrasse
La Terrasse is Chateau La Coste’s outdoor café. It simply gives you a French country feel, and the food is super fresh and delightful.
It’s charming in a Provençal state of mind. And if you go there during Summer, they usually have live music throughout.
The menu is simple – they usually offer light favourites such as fresh salads, chilled soups, homemade tarts and fresh juices, teas and wine. I kid you not – this meal was possibly one of the best lunches I’ve had from 2017. The items sounded so simple, yet the flavours were so stunning and substantial.
I’ve had the best onion tart here, and the ham and melon salad was to die for! Also, the orange and carrot soup was a revelation that I yearn to recreate (or taste again). Very good food and perfect for the hot French weather.
If like me, you prefer dining al fresco on a nice Summer day, definitely go here for lunch instead of the Tadao Ando Art Centre restaurant. It just has a bit more of an organic feel to it!
Chai Tour and Tasting
Chateau La Coste’s winemaking chais are designed by French architect Jean Nouvel. Spherical in form, they pretty much resemble old school greenhouses and agri warehouses from southern France.
It was rather fascinating to see where the grapes are pressed, the wine matures, and bottles are labelled. Seventeen meters below ground, you’ll find a state-of-the-art chamber containing the vats that store wine before they are bottled. It is said that keeping them down there enables the production of quality wine based on the specifics of their biodynamic soil philosophy.
After having a tour of the place where they make wine, it was only right to sample the goods. We got to taste two types per colour, as well as a taste of their sparklies. Unsurprisingly – and possibly because we were in the South of France – my buds were swayed by the rosé. However, I have to admit that their reds were very silky and very, very delicious too (perhaps better to accompany food).
Art all over
Chateau La Coste is a haven for art. Even as you enter the estate, you’d notice a giant spider sculpture by Louise Bourgeois, waiting by an infinity pool and lurking you in.
The arts centre, pioneered by Japanese artist Tadao Ando, showcases light and space in nature. You would notice that quite a few of his art around the Chateau highlights geometric lines and symmetry as well as light and shade.
They also hold exclusive exhibitions by artists. Coming from the UK, I was quite pleased to see Tracy Emin showcasing her “Surrounded By You” exhibition. Admittedly, Miss Emin’s work is a bit of a hit and miss for me. Whilst I question some of her choices, I find some of her work rather emotive and provocative.
Art at the Chateau is world class and if you’re an afficionado you MUST go. Samples include Frank Gehry’s Music Pavillion, Alexander Calder’s Small Crinkly, Andy Goldsworthy’s Oak Room, Louise Benech’s Kitchen Garden, Paul Matisse’s Kitchen Bell and then some. It is recommended to allow two hours to complete the art walk, through hilltops and valleys. Admittedly, I found it too hot so I wasn’t able to view all.
But I shall return to take selfies (I realised I didn’t take photos with me in it, lol!) and of course, sample the rest of what the place has to offer!
What else is there to do?
If you do get to Chateau La Coste, you can also (and I’m planning to tick this list when I visit next)
- Have a staycation at the newly opened boutique hotel Villa La Coste and treat yourself to a spa day. It’s absolutely LUSH!
- Have lunch at Gérald Passédat’s Restaurant Louison. Lunch is fairly cheap at €55 and dinner is a bargain at €75.
- Have dinner at Restaurant Francis Mallmann. If you happened to salivate during his Chef’s Table episode, then you’re gonna love this restaurant. The setting is mega, and the menu is incredible!
As I said, Chateau La Coste is a great place to celebrate art, wine and ways to fine dine. If you ever find yourself by the French Riviera, do take time to visit this gorgeous place. It’s roughly half an hour away from Aix-en-Provence and is definitely worth the drive.
Do you like vineyards? Where are your favourites?