For our annual trip to the South of France, we’re always looking for new things to discover. Château La Coste is one of those gems we stumbled upon and are excited to share with you guys. Only a 25 minute drive away from Aix-en-Provence, you’ll find this beautifully built winery where biodynamic wines are made. Château La Coste is an extraordinary place, as far removed from a traditional winery as is possible. Here, art, architecture and nature take central stage, ready to amaze you with their beauty. Though it might come across as a bit elitist, it’s definitely worth your time and money.
Art and architecture walk at Château La Coste
A few years ago, the owners of Château La Coste invited architects and artists from all over the world to pick a spot on the domain and work their magic. The result is a series of art works that you’ll encounter along a beautiful walk through the grounds of the winery with vineyards and olive gardens lining the way. Some of these works are interactive, some will make you laugh, others are thought-provoking. Children – and grown-ups alike – love it, following the map that brings them from one work to the other. Doing the entire walk will take you along the gently hilly terrain in about 1,5 up to 2 hours, depending on how long you stop each time.
Tadao Ando and Frank Gehry
Taking a central role is the impressive main building designed by Tadao Ando. The Japanese artist managed to conceive an architectural beauty where light and space in nature are key. The infinity pool covering up the car park is watched over by a huge spider by the hand of the artist Louise Bourgeois, making a photographer’s heart jump at the sight of those pretty reflections.
The building serves as an art centre, ticket and book shop, but also houses an excellent but pricey restaurant. If you’re looking for something a bit more budget friendly, you’ll find the cosy ‘La Terrasse’ a better option. It serves fresh dishes with ingredients coming straight out of the garden, combining perfectly well with the Château’s wines. La Provence all the way, quoi.
Tadao Ando also conceived a few other works that can be admired along the art and architecture walk. Another famous name on the list of artists at Château La Coste is Frank O. Gehry. If the name doesn’t ring a bell: he’s the one who designed the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris and the hotel at Marqués de Riscal (which we visited last year in the Spanish Rioja region, more on that coming soon!). Gehry built the Pavilion de Musique on the domain, the perfect venue for a summer concert. There’s also a work of art called ‘Foxes’ by the singer of R.E.M., Michael Stipe.
Château La Coste produces its wines following the biodynamic principles, caring well for the soil and grape. Since 2008, the winemaking is done in a special cuverie designed by Jean Nouvel, bringing modernity in this traditional process.
Ignore the elitist marketing and crowds, and you’ll discover some very decent wines (although they’re pricey). Famous in this region is the rosé, and La Coste even has three versions to serve your tastebuds, working mostly with Grenache. Try their well-bodied Grand Vin Rosé with a tiny touch of Vermentino or their Rosé d’une Nuit if you’re fan of fruitier rosés.
For a citrusy, slightly crisp white wine, try the Première Cuvée White with Vermentino and Sauvignon Blanc. The white ‘Les Pentes Douces’ uses the same grapes, although it’s slightly more complex.
If you’re into reds, ‘Les Pentes Douces Rouge’ is worth a sip, although the Cabernet Sauvignon & Syrah blend can have some young tannins. And if you’re really not on any budget, go for their ‘Grand Vin Rouge’, a great (and heavier) wine to pair with a meaty dish.
Château La Coste is situated north of Aix-en-Provence, in Le Puy Sainte Reparade. Tickets to the domain cost 15 euros (price 2018). If you’d like to combine the walk with a wine tour and tasting, you can reserve a spot for a specific hour in the morning or afternoon, for an extra 12 euros. We chose to combine the art walk with a lunch at ‘La Terrasse’, where you can also taste some of the wines that are being made at Château La Coste.
2750 route de la Cride
13610 Le Puy Sainte Reparade
Tel : 04 42 61 92 90