Domaines Ott* headquartered in the sun-soaked Provence for many holidaymakers, beach-goers and wine lovers is the seminal rosé wine producer in the world.
It all started with a white
Today, Domaines Ott*’s name is almost eponymous with rosé but what made the family estate famous early on was a white made in Clos Mireille, one of the three vineyards purchased by winery founder Marcel Ott, and located right the coast overlooking the Mediterranean Sea at La Londe Les Maures. Different from other wines in the region, the Blanc de Blancs used a dominant Bordeaux white variety, Semillon in the blend, which gives the wine a distinctive freshness and a touch of salineness as well. First launched in 1938, the Clos Mireille Blanc de Blancs became a crowd-pleaser for holidaymakers, beach-goers and wine lovers. For a long time, production of the white wine outstripped rosé, according to the estate’s brand ambassador Christophe Renard. The Clos Mireille white has since become a star in the family’s portfolio even after rosé became its flagship wine. Additionally, till today, the family estate’s rosé is made the same way as a white, without any maceration and straight to fermentation after press. From 1936 to 2006, the Les Mireille estateonly produced white, but demand for Domaines Ott* rosé surged, so Les Mireille in 2006 expanded its production to include the pink wine.
The same year, blend in the white was modified. It had always been Semillion aided with Ugni Blanc, but the family estate starting from 2006 replaced Ugni Blanc with Rolle or Vermentino, which according to Renard, adds more acidity and freshness.
The story about the curvy bottle design
Even if the name of the family estate can evade people, its bottle design certainly doesn’t. In a crowded shelf space or restaurant, Domaines Ott*’s long and curvy bottle design is striking and recognizable. Even today, looking back on the design, Renard, asserts, “It is very important for Ott.” The design featuring sloping shoulders with a bulging waist and narrow base was inspired by a Greek amphorae discovered at Château de Selle, the first estate purchased by the Ott family in 1912 in Provence. Second-generation owner René Ott modeled the bottle after the amphorae and proposed the design to fellow Provencal producers but was rejected. René then patented the design for the estate, and it has since been protected by intellectual property rights for the Ott family in all of its export markets.
The bottling design was important in another sense as it helped the winery make the jump from bulk production to estate bottling in 1930s. Since then the estate has always been associated with quality wine production.
“Marcel Ott’s idea was always to produce high premium rosé wines in Provence, he started to sell the wines to hotels in Morocco, Nice, Cannes, but it was sold in bulk so no one knows it was Domaines Ott* until they had their own bottle,” Renard explains.
How it all started
In 1896, after a tour of France’s many vineyards, Marcel Ott, an Alsace native found his way into the coastal Provence, adamant on making wines from the region. Alas, a short while before Marcel Ott’s discovery, phylloxera had wreaked havoc on the vines. To his delight, the land was cheaper afterwards, and he purchased Château de Selle, in Taradeau, near Draguignan. In 1930, he went on to purchase a second estate in Provence, Clos Mireille, near the Fort of Brégançon. Ott replanted and consolidated the vineyards. In 1956, the Ott family forayed out of Provence into Bandol and acquired Château Romassan to make rosé wines dominated with Mourvedre grape. The blend in Romassan uses at least 60% of Mourvedre, while in roses produced in Provence, Grenache dominates the blend. Today cousins Christian and Jean-François Ott run the estate. In 2004, Domaines Ott was sold to Louis Roederer.
About the star
Wine lovers will notice that in the Domaines Ott*’s name, there’s a star following the Ott family name. It was created this way after they realized back then in Provence, it was impossible to use family name as first name on the bottle, Renard explains, “it was very clear to put a star there, so we were able to use it.”
Production is limited
The Ott family in Renard’s words produces “haute couture rosé wines”. Production of its premium rosé at the 140 ha Château de Selle estate and Château Romassan is around 350,000 bottles a year respectively, while at Clos Mireille rosé wine production is around 120,000 bottles.
By Ott, the new wine project created after the Louis Roederer purchase, is the second label of the Domaines Ott* and makes entry level wines. In 2014 the family purchased a new vineyard called Château Moutete where Domaines Ott* can use estate-grown grapes from the 35 ha vineyard to make By Ott wines.
In Hong Kong, Domaines Ott*’s wines are sold through Links Concept.