When visiting a winery, to capture its heart and soul – as is my custom – it’s helpful if I know very little about it, going into the discoveries. I don’t want to rewrite anything, except actual factuals… And then, what I see it in nuances: what I feel from its aura, what touches my heart, and becomes something uniquely new.
Actual Factual ~ Knights Templar
My school of world history has been gained via geography, versus academia, first and foremost. My love of travel has taken me to many places in the world; each time, I get connected to that place’s history, and my perspectives are permanently altered… My view of the world is broader. Now, apply that to wine…
Yesterday, I spent the entire day watching a series called “Knights Templar: Rise and Fall,” produced by One Media. The only thing I knew of the Knights, was that they fought… God only knew why, in my humble opinion, they even had to fight, in the first place.
What did they stand for, were they good or bad guys in the process, and where did they go?
[TEMPLAR PHOTO: Luis Louro]
Well, I learned: the holy city of Jerusalem was conquered 900 years ago. There was a Christianity crusade against Islam (First Crusade), and it was carried out by monks, many of whom would give their lives to the cause.” They couldn’t event retreat unless there were outnumbered by three to one. Imagine!
The Crusaders believed that the Al Agsa Mosque was built on the ancient remains of King Solomon’s temple. These knights, who came to this location to guard and fight for it, became known as the Knights Templar.
Another reason… the Knights were also protecting the rights and safety of Christians and Jews to go on pilgrimages to Jerusalem. So, the Knights had a very strong resolve, and a massive job, say for guiding people from France, down to the Mediterranean Sea, and then onto Jerusalem.
[PHOTO is a sculpture in Château Roubine Cru Classé’s gardens.
About the time, I began to reflect on current events. I saw the parallels throughout world history over time, when it comes to holy wars. They’re very powerful and give the warriors one common goal – it’s all for the killing, not of man; but… as the movie then coincidentally stated, parallel to my thinking… for the killing of evil. People are a by-product of war. Chilling, I know, but a fact of life, never-the-less.
Now, it’s going to lead all of us into a powerful, gravitation pull, just as it did for Valérie Rousselle. This Templar site blew my socks off. Standing there, seeing and feel all of these images before me… And now you know.
Actual Factual ~ Château Roubine Cru Classé
[Photo of Valérie Rousselle from Rendez Vous Magazine]
According to owner Valérie Rousselle: “In historical times, the Roman road is also known as “Julienne” ran through the current vineyard, giving it a strategic position. Known since the beginning of the 14th century, Château Roubine was owned by the Knights Templar before being sold in 1307 to the Order of St. Jean de Jerusalem. In the 15th century, Château Roubine became the privilege and pride of various famous Provencal families.”
This is followed by a world history of possession for this property, including its name of Château Roubine. The key here, though, is that in 1994, Vâlerié Rousselle met Château Roubine (love at first sight) and has never looked back. She states, “I was called by this area.”
Now, you might understand why I had to open with the Knights Templar. This is still a sacred land, depending on your own historical side. I was raised Catholic; so back then, you’d know which side I was on. My maternal grandparents were Abbie and Peter (Pierre) Bernier, great grandparents were the Ouellettes. They spoke French to me until I was five. I wish they had never stopped. It’s a very musical language, with extremely expressive body language, if you watch as carefully as I do.
I had just visited Château Roubine Cru Classé, in Provence, France. Their reference to the Knights Templar made me more curious. Each winery has a unique history, this was theirs. And a little bit powerful, I knew, but what… What did I need to catch up on? So, one after the other, I watched continuing episodes. I got a pretty good eyeful.
The Knights Templar became a large religious organization of devout Christians during the medieval era, which accomplished important mission: to protect European travelers visiting sites in the Holy Land, while also carrying out military operations.
Vineyard Visit, Lunch Included
From here, I’m going to express the other side of my brain, the one that loves photography. Just to show you this property, before I get into all of the wines. this is a primer, perhaps
As a guest of Château Roubine Cru Classé, I was off on another adventure. Something unexpectedly came up for owner Valérie Rousselle, so we didn’t get to meet her. We did, however, spend a couple of days with her son/co-owner Adrien Riboud and winemaker Pierre Gérin. Our first tour was of the vineyards. These are the images I took. Provence… what’s not to love?
Imagine trying to farm this earth? Grapevines grow best where there’s NOT a lot of nitrogenous waste in the soil. If there was more nitrogen (black soil is FULL of nitrogen), this vine would not be as compact and would be crawling all over the ground, until it finds a tree, and would then have spread upward.
White soils indicate limestone. (You’ll also be seeing rust-colored stones. Explained at that time.)
Hello, Ms. Grasshopper. Protective coloration didn’t stop me from seeing her. This vineyard has a very rocky terroir. The advantage of these rocks? The keep the soil warm, so during the evening when the temperatures cool down, their roots are receiving warmth from the rocks in the soil… especially during a cold winter.
Splendor in Provence… — at Château Roubine Cru Classé.
We got closer to the Chateau, where we would next be having lunch.
I spotted this old vine at the beginning of the row. I love the old vines. This one is about 50 years old.
Vines are like people; the older they get, the less fruit they produce, and they’re a lot more intense. Although some people do have kids at 50, it would not be my choice. Vines, similarly, do not produce as much fruit in their older years. But when they do… Ooo lala, it’s to celebrate. At this point, I asked about veraison.
Veraison = when red grapes turn from their original green version into their fancy red colors… finally into raisins, if not picked. When in the vineyard, I had asked if there was any veraison yet. was told, not yet… Then, I looked under the skirt (canopy) of the old gal vine and found THIS – Veraison! Leave it to the grande dame to be the most colorful, early on in a season!
Lovely vista, Chateau included… As well as a neighboring community.
Red soil, think iron oxide, think a remnant of volcanic activity… Think pepper spice.
This… I just love tendrils. Notice the active green one to the left, how it twists and winds. This little extension of the vine gives it the ability to grab hold of something nearby for support… In this instance it’s trellis on the wire, to keep the vine from sprawling onto the ground. They are so strong that at a certain point, it’s just useless to try to rip them all from the wire… So, here they are, dried and as tough as bark, from previous years of reaching for the wire, to support the vine’s weight from heavy grape clusters. — at Château Roubine Cru Classé.
And, the roses… This one almost looks like a wild little bush. They’re so delicate that they warn if any diseases are impending.
Our guides: on the left is Adrien Riboud, co-owner of Château Roubine Cru Classé (with his mother Valérie Rousselle). The gentleman on the right is their vigneron Pierre Gérin.
This is where we were next headed, for lunch… to the Chateau.
…We have all just arrived, and this is just the beginning of our journey. More deliciousness to follow with Château Roubine Cru Classé.