A word with… Benoît Allauzen

The wine estate of Prieuré de Montezargues is situated in the exclusively rosé-producing French wine region of Tavel, close to Avignon.  South Place Hotel Head Sommelier, Benoît Allauzen (pictured above and below in his more youthful days) spent much of his childhood there, when it was owned by his grandfather.  Here, he recalls some of his childhood memories…

What’s your connection with Prieuré de Montezargues
My grandfather bought the estate many years ago and then when he passed away in the sixties, his children, including my father, took it over.  They had no knowledge of the wine business at the time, but they tried their best!  The wine wasn’t great at first, but then one of the sisters got into it full time and they developed it over 30 years earning it the reputation it has today.   It is now owned by the top Châteauneuf-du-Pape producer, Chateau la Nerthe.

What are your memories of the estate growing up?
We used to go to there all the time so it is a place I know very well.  Every summer we would go and be playing in the vineyards, getting fruit from the trees with cousins.  The place is full of memories for me.

Benoit in the house

Is this the place where your love of wine was inspired?
Yes, definitely.  That said, Tavel only makes rosé wine so I although I got my passion there, I have gone on to other areas to learn about red and white wines, and have learnt to love those areas too.

Have you ever worked there yourself?
I have done several harvests, cellar work too, cleaning the presses and the vats with a high pressure pump.  It’s hard work but good fun.  Harvesting was good, the weather was great.  There was no special treatment – I had to work harder than the others!

Benoit in the garden

Can we take it that Prieuré de Montezargues wines are on your list at South Place Hotel?
Yes, I have the wines on the list at about 3 South Place and Angler.  There is a trend to go for very pale rosés.  What is great with the Tavel appellation is the depth of colour from the wines.  I call these wines red wine in disguise.

Tavel is more expensive than your entry-level rose but it’s worth it.  It is the only appellation in France making just rosé.  Lots of syrah, Grenache, mourvedre.  The soil in Montezargues is very sandy which is a big factor in the style of the wine.  You will generally find intense colour, more strength, more kick, more power than usual.  It’s like a summer equivalent to a red wine.

What would you recommend these wines with?
They’re great with grilled fish, white meat, charcuterie.  And you can drink them all year round, but certainly they come into their own from Spring and Summer.

Click here to buy Prieuré de Montezargues Rosé from our online shop.