When Marcel Ott purchased the first of three Ott estates in 1896, he saw potential in the stunning landscape of Provence and its unique, diverse terroirs. And while it took a century of replanting and restructuring, the Ott family successfully transformed these vineyards from phylloxera-ridden land where only olives lavender and mulberry trees would grow, into one of the most highly regarded wineries in the region. The Domaines Ott span over 3 estates and 2 AOC’s, united by the founder’s legacy and his descendants’ passion for winemaking.
The Ott estates were founded in 1896 by Marcel Ott, an agronomy engineering graduate from Alsace who left his hometown to discover the many vineyards of France. Inspired by the stunning natural beauty of the Provençal landscape and the region’s ancient legacy of winemaking, Ott chose to settle here and made it his mission to showcase the potential of Provence’s terroir. Since phylloxera had wiped out nearly all of the vines, the land was cheaper but also quite barren. The vineyards had to be completely reconstructed and the vines replanted. Today the three estates, Chateau de Selle, Clos Mireille and Chateau Romassan are planted with a wide range of varietals, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah and Mourvedre.
But something was still missing. While the quality of the wines spoke for itself, how could the beauty of the terroir – the gently sloping hills, Mediterranean coast and bundles of elegant cypress trees accenting endless row of vines – be communicated to the customer? In 1930, René Ott designed a vessel that did just that. With their graceful curves and slender shape, the emblematic bottles of the estate recall the amphorae which were historically used to cool the wine. Today the Ott bottle is easily recognizable as both a signature and guarantee of quality.
Following in the footsteps of their passionate ancestors, cousins Jean-François and Christian Ott continue to run the estates and produce some of the most celebrated wines of the region.
Three Estates, Three Unique Terroirs
The Ott family produces a line of excellent wines on three estates, each characterised by its own unique terroir.
Marcel Ott purchased Chateau de Selle in 1912, making it the family’s first property. Located in Tarandeau, near the former residence of the Counts of Provence, this estate is home to vines planted on gypsum, red clay, dolomite and sandstone, combined with stone and gravel. The estate’s position high up on limestone slopes protects the vines from frost. In fact, the winters here are quite mild, while the summers are dry and very sunny. The vines, aged 19 years on average, are planted on 140 hectares. Varietals include Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah.
Located right on the Mediterranean cost is the Ott family’s second estate, Clos Mirille. Marcel Ott added this property in the 1930’s and began replanting the vineyards. The vines, 16 years old on average, are planted in clay soils on an ancient rocky outcrop, and enjoy a refreshing mist from the sea, complemented by dry air from the hillside. The unique climate created by the surrounding sea and hills result in very subtle and distinctive wines.
The family’s third estate, Chateau Romassan, was added in the 1956 and was entirely replanted, a process which took roughly 30 years to complete. Located in the Var department in the heart of the famous Bandol wine region, the vineyard is planted predominantly with Mourvedre, a varietal indigenous to the area. Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah are also grown nearby, but in smaller quantities. The vines are 25 years old on average and spread over a total area of 75 hectares. Chateau Romassan is characterized by a unique soil composition, which includes chalk, sandstone and marl on gravel .
From Vine to Bottle
The vineyards on each Ott estate are cultivated with environmentally friendly organic farming practices, including the use of organic fertilizers and naturally-occurring chemicals to treat vine diseases.
During the growth season, the vines are constantly trimmed to keep them healthy. Weeds are removed from around the vines and each row is ploughed to loosen the soil. After weeks of waiting for optimal maturity, the grapes are picked by hand, a process which takes around 20 days. The berries are sorted twice – first in the field and then again on the sorting table at the winery. The grapes are quickly cooled and then pressed by a crusher. The sediment is removed in order to clarify the must and the wine is poured into large oak barrels, where they are left to rest with occasional stirring of the lees. As the wine develops complex aromas in flavors, it is tasted often, and in February the final blend is selected for each wine and vintage.
A Fine Selection of Wines
Cheateau de Selle produces 2 wines under the AOC Cotes de Provence appellation: an elegant and open rose (made with Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah and Mourvedre), and a fruit-forward red (made with Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon). The coastal estate of Clos Mirelle, also in the AOC Cotes de Provence, likewise produces a bright rose (Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah) as well as a very unique and full-flavoured Blanc de Blancs made primarily of Semillon. Finally, Chateau Romassan in the AOC Bandol produces a rose (predominantly Mouvedre with a bit of Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah) and a beautifully balanced Mouvedre-Grenache red wine.
An extension of the Domaines Ott range, the BY.OTT line includes a friendly rose, a perfectly balanced white and garnet red with silky smooth tannins.
3 wines from the estate
Domaines Ott : Chateau de Selle “Rose Cœur de Grain” 2016
A powerful and smooth rose wine from Domaines Ott, produced in the region of Cotes de Provence. The vines are 19 years old on average and planted on gypsum, red clay, dolomite, and sandstone mixed with stones and gravel. Chateau de Selle Rose Cœur de Grain blends 57% Grenache, 30% Cinsault, 5% Mourvedre, 2% Syrah and 6% other grape varieties.
Its crystal clear pale colour and peach highlights are the striking characteristics of Chateau de Selle Rose Cœur de Grain 2016. The nose is elegant and complex, with aromas of citrus (lemons, grapefruits) and yellow fruits (apricots, pears, peaches), as well as subtle and delicate floral notes. This wine is silky smooth and powerful on the palate. The finish is fruity and spicy with beautiful aromatic persistence.
Domaines Ott : Château Romassan “Rosé Cœur de Grain” 2016
A complex and very elegant Bandol A rose produced in the Bandol appellation, the Chateau Romassan Rose Coeur de Grain of Domaines Ott is produced on a 74 hectare vineyard, 25 years old on average. The vines are planted on a terroir of limestone, sandstone, marl and gravel soils. Chateau Romassan Rose Coeur de Grain 2016 blends 60% Mourvedre, 26% Cinsault, 11% Grenache and 3% Syrah.
The Chateau Romassan Rose Coeur de Grain 2016 has a beautiful pale rose colour. Combining finesse and delicacy, the nose is fresh and vinous. The wine emits fragrances of peaches, grapefruits, dried fruits, almonds and white flowers. The texture is dense, and silky with a fantastic tension, which provides freshness and finesse. This wine presents itself as elegant and complex with its delicious flavours of red fruits and spices.
Domaines Ott : BY OTT 2016
A voluptuous, fresh and mineral rose from the Cotes de Provence appellation produced by Domaines Ott from 2 fields with quite distinct characteristics. The vines planted at Domaine du Clos Mireille are, on average, 16 years old and planted on clay and schist. The vines of Chateau de Selle are, on average, 19 years old and planted on gypsum, red clay, dolomite and sandstone with gravel and stone. This very special cuvee is produced in Chateau de Selle’s brand new cellar. BY.OTT blends 70% Grenache, 20% Cinsault and 10% Syrah.
The BY.OTT rose 2016 from Domaines Ott has a beautiful pale rose crystal colour. The nose presents aromas of citrus and subtle notes of red fruits. On the palate, the wine is voluptuous and mineral, providing flavours of yellow fruit (peaches, apricots) that add great freshness. The finish of this wine is juicy and incredibly well-balanced.