Chateau La Coste

Wine, Art and Architecture in this futuristic vineyard (16 July 2015)

Our last day in Aix En Provence, was chock full of activities. After a quick shopping spree at the morning markets in Aix En Provence (see post), and a wonderful lunch at La Petite Maison, we had to make a quick dash to this amazing modern winery – Chateau La Coste en Provence in Le Puy-Sainte-Réparade that I heard so much about from fellow wine buff friend AL.

As we drove into Chateau La Coste, the perfectly manicured landscapes along the long driveway greeted us, before we entered the minimalist designed underground carpark.

First views of Chateau La Coste as we drive in.

Entrance from carpark.

What sets Chateau La Coste apart from many other wineries is that rather than just having a modern designed building to look more updated with the times, they have taken the approach of creating a one of a kind experience marrying art and architecture in this estate. This estate which once used to be family-owned for a good 70 years, was purchased by Irish tycoon Paddy McKillen in 2002, who transformed it into what it is today.

First views of the water feature at entrance.

Sense of airiness and light in the beautiful architecture.

Being an art and architecture lover himself, he brought in Jean Nouvel to design a new building to house the wine making equipment and cellar. To complement the modern infrastructure, an art center designed by Tadao Ando is in typical Ando style – concrete walls with his signature conical punches on the walls and sleek glass partitions complete the look. Even the basement carpark is so sleekly designed and housed under a large expanse of water which the building overlooks. In the building, is the reception, bookshop and cafe named after the designer himself. One gets the touch of Ando as they enter the vineyard, as even the main gate was designed by Ando in his signature style.

Reception area to bookshop and cafe.

Love the bookshop, as usual I bought some cool design books.

Mr Mckillen being an avid art buff, also had a vision for the estate to be very much a place for art lovers to come to, and various artists have been commissioned to produce sculptures and artworks which are placed throughout the venue, including Louise Bourgeois’ iconic steel and bronze Crouching Spider, perced on top of the shallow bed of water in front of the art center. There’s many other dynamic sculptures (about 20 when we counted) scattered throughout the estate that makes for a wonderful art trail but it was way too hot for us to walk through the entire estate. So a caution of advice if if you want to really explore this place it’s better to come in Spring or Autumn when the weather’s cooler.

Admiring Louise Bourgeois’ Crouching Spider. 

Another installation in front of the art center.

The modernity approach extends even to their wine making processes. I read that they follow organic approaches in cultivating the wines, and the wines are biodynamic. Also the wines aren’t typical Provencal wines, if you are looking for a vineyard that produces such as the signature easy drinking Rosé that Provence is known for. Its head vigneron, Matthieu Cosse, was brought into the estate to make ambitious, complex wines which age well.  A pity we didn’t have time for this, but be sure to go for the wine tour if you do visit Chateau La Coste, and they also have a wine shop where you can purchase their wines. Tours are conducted in English and French daily and takes around 1 hr 30 mins. See here for more information.

I hope I will be able to return here again one day and see all the new art installations that are in the pipeline and have the chance to do a proper tour.

Chateau La Coste 2750 Route De La Cride, 13610 Le Puy-Sainte-Réparade, France, Tel:+33 4 42 61 92 90. Open daily from 10 am to 7 pm.

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