The Buyer
Paris tasting of the super-premium Marguerites en Provence Collection

Paris tasting of the super-premium Marguerites en Provence Collection

Investment in Provence’s top wine estates has been on the increase in recent years – and not just for creating super-premium rosé. The terroir in the region is now being recognised internationally as one which can help produce the very best white and red wines too. Two years on since its acquisition by Pernod Ricard, Château Sainte Marguerite has launched the new Marguerites en Provence Collection and the launch was every bit as fancy as you might expect – in the new Peninsula in Paris, no less, with food pairing in the hands of 2 Michelin Star chef David Bizet. Roger Jones reports

Roger Jones
6th May 2024by Roger Jones
posted in Tasting: Wine ,

Château Sainte Marguerite was bought by Jean-Pierre Fayard in 1977. Jean-Pierre’s sons Olivier and Enzo Fayard now run the estate and in 2022 Pernod Ricard bought a major shareholding in the business. Rest assured this was a friendly takeover with Olivier Fayard being a personal friend of Alexandre Ricard.

Last year we sent Geoffrey Dean to the estate near Toulon (full report here) to look at Marguerite’s Fantastique and Symphonie ranges. With the new investment now showing the fruits of their labour, our Michelin Star reporter Roger Jones, headed off to The Peninsula Hotel in Paris to taste the new premium collection Marguerites en Provence at David Bizet’s 2 Michelin Star restaurant L’Oiseau Blanc.

Olivier Fayard addresses the international press

Château Saint Marguerite’s CEO Olivier Fayard hosted us in the fabulous foyer of The Peninsula Hotel in Paris, to highlight the estate’s newest range of wines, stepping up a level both in price and quality from its original two ranges (Fantastique and Symphonie).

Together with international rosé expert Elizabeth Gabay MW and L’Oiseau Blanc’s head sommelier, Florent Martin and 2 Michelin Star chef David Bizet, Olivier Fayard enthralled the audience of international wine writers and journalists who had flown in for the dinner.

Bizet had given up his birthday celebrations to not only oversee the cooking but to explain the dishes to us and had the jovial Martin on hand to perfectly explain the wine matches. Gabay also shared her thoughts on the wines translated into French (for the non-English speakers) by her son Ben Bernheim, who was also a fountain of knowledge on Provence. (Together they wrote Roses of Southern France, published in 2022)

It’s always interesting to see top chefs and sommeliers work together in harmony, Bizet and Martin first met at the George V back in 2009.

Martin says: “David was one of the few chefs with whom I could really exchange ideas, and who became a partner in bind tastings.” Bizet discovered his passion for wine at hotel management school, where he said “I still remember my first class on Alsace wines, which was a revelation.” If only they taught wine education to chefs in the UK.

Both Bizet and Martin have taken their culinary and wine marriage further by visiting winemakers, vineyards and evolving and presenting dishes with their wines. This, of course, includes the work that they have carried out with Château Sainte Marguerite.

The dinner was quite exceptional, the detail and matching were prolific, each course evolving with the wine and equally the wine being lifted by the food. I only regret not trying all the canapés.

Tasting the new wines

Marguerites en Provence Collection

Collection Marguerites Rosé 2023 13% €55

Predominantly Grenache with Vermentino (Rolle) and Cinsault.

This rosé certainly reminded me of prestige wines like Garrus, Les Clans and ‘Clos du Temple’, with that defined refined elegance.

I loved the complexity of this wine, with that gentle clean nose. As the wine evolved there was a beautiful touch of exotic notes, then spice, bright citrus notes, delicate peach tea, passion fruit, pink grapefruit zest, with a salinity and flinty/mineral notes. It’s a great wine and sits proudly in the ‘grown up’ rosé section.

This was well matched to two dishes; a clean cut mackerel carpaccio with citrus coriander and an earthy but luscious beetroot and seaweed dish.

Sourced from best plots from La Londe; Saint Pons, La Desirade and Haut Pansard. 15,000 bottles

Collection Marguerites Blanc 2022 13.5% €65

Vermentino (Rolle) aged in Bernard ‘Umami’ barrels for length and power and Ermitage barrels for freshness.

This wine was a showstopper for me, Vermentino with class, the purity, intensity and focus was quite outstanding, fresh, textured, creamy, layered, it delivered perfectly.

"A blockbuster of a dish" - When the Ocean Meets the Land

I loved the matching of this wine with the most intense dish of the night which was ‘ When The Ocean meets the Land’, this was a blockbuster of a dish – sweet succulent Iberian pork, dark rich squid ink, classic red shrimp tempura with head entrails and sorrel. The white wine took it all with ease and refreshed the palate as well as highlighting the purity of the dish.

La Londe, from the plots of Desirade and Marvanne, 4,000 bottles

Collection Marguerites Rouge 2021 14% €65

Syrah and Grenache aged in new Ermitage & Baron barrels for 24 months.

Reminded me of young top quality Australian Shiraz, lovely perfumed nose, sweet-fruited and savoury spice, lI oved the texture, with blueberries and thyme, vanilla, coconut and a fresh, silky finish. Young but so much potential. Yes, you can hide this away for a decade or more, but the freshness of vibrancy makes it quite approachable in youth and was elegantly matched to wild pigeon en croute.

La Londe, with the following plots; Saint Pons, La Jeannette, Mont Redon. 15,000 bottles

Dinner finished with what was called ‘Iodised Kiwi Fruit’, one of the most profound desserts that I have ever had. There is not much one can shout out about a Kiwi fruit, but chef David Bizet transformed this into a magical dish, bringing together wasabi, sorrel, fermented milk, and jasmine into a spectacular climax to end the night.


The Collection Marguerites en Provence are not currently available in the UK prices quoted per bottle in Euros direct from the vineyard for local delivery. Whilst the the Fantastiques (£30 rose £38 red and white) and Symphonie (£19.90) are available in the UK.

That menu in full