The word ‘quintessence’ refers to the fifth element, a concept from Medieval times that claims after earth, air, fire and water, there exists an element formed of the purest essence of everything, once believed to make up the stars and planets above. Quintessence also refers to the essence of something in “its purest and most concentrated form”, a definition which is far more meaningful for brothers Alexandre and Frédéric Chaudière, who create Château Pesquié’s Quintessence – three wines with exceptional concentration, purity and balance, along with a deep sense of place.
The grapes are from estate vineyards with some vines 50+ years old, growing between 250-350 metres above sea level in a mix of clay and limestone soils. The terroir crafts a complex character, with ripe fruit meeting the elegant balance of high altitude grape growing. In the cellar, fermentation and aging take place in concrete and large, older barrels, often in contact with the fine lees to enhance texture and depth.
The intention of such light-touch winemaking is to reveal elements of terroir, including honeyed fruit in the white wines and peppery ’garrigue’ notes in the reds along with the wonderfully distinctive mineral qualities of rich limestone soils. The rosé, new this year, is a collaboration between the Chaudière brothers, Olivier Poussier (2000 Best Sommelier of the World), and enologist Emmanuel Gagnepain. This is a “gastronomic rosé”, more akin to a Bandol style wine with deep and complex flavours and excellent aging potential.
It is clear that the Quintessence wines are aptly named – purity, elegance and the essence of terroir make these wines firmly rooted to place and yet somehow otherworldly.
Château Pesquié 2020 ‘Quintessence’ White, Ventoux
Retail: $32.95 / btl
Château Pesquié 2020 ‘Quintessence’ Rosé, Ventoux
Retail: $36.95 / btl (6btl/cs)
Château Pesquié 2019 ‘Quintessence’ Red, Ventoux
Retail: $32.95 / btl
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94 points – Jeb Dunnuck, jebdunnuck.com, March 2022
“I loved the 2020 Ventoux Quintessence Blanc, which reminds me of top Northern Rhône white with its ripe quince, honeyed citrus, flowers, and chalky minerality. It’s rich, medium to full-bodied, has good acidity, and a great finish. It’s going to shine on the dinner table and, I suspect, have over a decade of overall longevity.”
90 points – Jeb Dunnuck, jebdunnuck.com, March 2022
“Revealing a deep salmon/ruby hue, the 2020 Ventoux Quintessence Rosé has a richer style in its ripe strawberry and cherry fruits as well as sappy herb nuances. This richer, medium-bodied rosé is geared for the dinner table and should keep like a solid Bandol Rosé, with 2-3 years of longevity, although I still say drink up.”
92+ points – Jeb Dunnuck, jebdunnuck.com, March 2022
“A Syrah-heavy cuvée, the 2019 Ventoux Quintessence is a rich, medium to full-bodied effort offering lots of darker, blackberry-like fruit as well as peppery herbs, chalky minerality, and hints of burning embers. Medium to full-bodied on the palate, this concentrated, nicely structured Syrah that will benefit from 2-4 years in the cellar and shine for over a decade.”
About Château Pesquié
Château Pesquié is a pioneering estate of the Côtes de Ventoux AOC (appellation established in 1973). The Bastide family purchased the estate in the early ‘70s, and reorganized the vineyards, preserving the best blocks (now close to 100 years old). Their daughter Edith and husband Paul Chaudière joined the Bastides in the mid 1980s, Paul’s family conveniently having 150 years of history in viticulture, and Paul’s father also being a professor of oenology in nearby Orange. In 1989, the family established their own cellars, and stopped selling grapes to the local co-op. Then, in 2003, Edith & Paul’s sons Frédéric & Alexandre assumed responsibility for the estate. Sustainably farmed since the 1980s, the estate moved to fully organic methods in the early 2000s, and now largely biodynamic. Solar panels on the property produce more electricity than the estate uses.
Estate vineyards are located in 3 villages: Mormoiron, Blauvac and Ville-sur-Auzon, where the southern slopes of Mont Ventoux are blessed with outstanding levels of sunshine (up to 12 hours per day in July), yet Château Pesquié has one of the coolest microclimates in the south of the Rhône Valley. This is due to elevation (between 300 and 400 m) and the influence of the mountain. The variation of temperatures between days and nights (diurnal variation) helps create excellent physiological balance in the vines, and colour, concentration and freshness in the wines. The terroir has a great mineral diversity, predominantly consisting of limestone, and the Mistral ventilates, ensuring the cultivation of healthy vines. This remarkable place results in a range of impressive white, rosé & red wines, from traditional Rhône varietals. The wines are Vegan-friendly.
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