Château La Canorgue is the quintessential image of Provence. Situated just below the hilltop village of Bonnieux, the idyllic 17th century manor has been home to six generations of the Margan family. In fact, the estate is so picturesque that in 2006, the movie adaptation of Peter Mayle’s best-selling novel, A Good Year, was filmed here. But long before the château, this historic property was the site of a Roman villa known for its natural spring. Truffle oaks, mulberry trees, olive groves, and a 200-year-old cherry orchard thrive here—even in the driest of years. Jean-Pierre Margan and his daughter, Natalie, farm 42 hectares of terraced vineyards, all of which have been farmed organically since 1978. Although certified in organic viticulture, the Margans also incorporate biodynamic principles into their farming practices, proving their continued commitment to their terroir. Yields are kept low at 30 hl/ha—a staggering half of what is authorized in the appellation. This level of quality control has made this estate one of the leading producers in the Lubéron AOC.
The clay and limestone vineyards of Château La Canorgue are planted to the classic southern French varietals for whites, including Roussanne, Marsanne, Clairette, Grenache Blanc, Bourboulenc, Rolle (Vermentino), and Viognier. For rosés and reds, they grow Syrah, Grenache, Carignan, Mourvèdre, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Gamay. The grapes are harvested by hand. The white varietals are harvested early in the morning or at night to preserve the freshness of the grapes. Both whites and rosés are pressed gently and the must is left to settle in the fermentation tanks at a cool 16°C. The Margans prefer to use direct press to make their rosés, believing them to be finer and more delicate than those made from the saignée method. The reds are de-stemmed and are transferred to tanks, where they undergo whole grape fermentation. The Margans age each cuvee differently, dividing them between stainless steel, foudres, and demi-muids for up to eight months before fining, filtering, and bottling. The wonderful quality, approachability and value of the line-up make these wines worthy rivals of their more expensive counterparts in the southern Rhône.