Our selection from Saint-Esteve is a rare bird indeed. As much as the wines from Corbieres in the south of France have evolved, Chardonnay is not one of the grapes one thinks about when discussing this area. But then again, owners Sylvie and Eric Latham have a family history of doing things outside the norm.
Sylvie's great-grandfather was born in New York, but grew up in the south of France. He worked as an impressionist artist and was quite successful, in the company of many of the famous artists of the time, including Paul Gauguin, who was a frequent guest in his home. His son was also an artist and musician here.
Once that kind of creativity is in the blood, it seems to flow from generation to generation. Sylvie couldn't help but want to connect with those roots. Purchasing this vineyard with her husband was, for Sylvie, a natural step in preserving and bonding with her heritage.
The Lathams were at the forefront of the revolution in Corbieres. They planted Chardonnay, probably the first to do so, and spent more time than most growing exceptional grapes and making exceptional wine from them.
This is an amazing selection just by virtue of its being so rare that Chardonnay is grown here. Yet one must wonder why, as this selection has a personality and flavor profile all its own. There is the telltale green apple component, but it is further expanded into Asian pear and a lovely quince essence.