The modern era at Clos Cibonne property began in 1793 when the Roux family purchased it from Jean-Baptiste de Cibon, a captain in the royal marines of Louis XVI. Jean-Baptiste de Cibon served under the command of Lafayette in the American Revolutionary War against the British, playing an instrumental role in that history. Jean-Baptiste moved his family to Gibraltar at the outset of the French Revolutionary War, transferring ownership to the families who had traditionally farmed the estate; the Roux family was one of those farmers. Some bottles still survive at the estate from Marius Roux, who made wines under the Château Cibon label in the late 1800’s at the property.
In 1930, André Roux (son of Marius) designed the modern winery in order to pursue his goal of producing top-quality wines at the estate. It was André Roux who planted the estate exclusively to the rare tibouren grape, creating the iconic labels which remain unchanged to this day. This revival ignited an era of fame for the rosés of Clos Cibonne, which led to their inclusion in a 1950’s classification of 18 Cru Classés in Côtes de Provence. André Roux was also instrumental in the creation of the Côtes de Provence appellation in 1973 and responsible for the inclusion of his beloved tibouren grape into the region’s list of accepted grape varieties.
In the 1980s, hard times fell upon the estate and it drifted without clear direction until Brigitte, André Roux’s granddaughter, and her husband, Claude Deforges, took over the family property in 1993. Their immediate goal was to bring the estate back to its former grandeur. They renovated the cellars while preserving the tradition of ageing in their large old foudres which are more than 100 years old and by doing this the family began to reestablish the vaunted reputation of the domaine. Fifth-generation winemaker Olivier Deforges has taken over as both vineyard manager and winemaker (the winery currently has only one other employee, otherwise the family still does all of the work themselves). Olivier has focused his energy on impeccable viticulture, after transitioning to organic viticulture for the last decade, they are now certified organic since the 2019 vintage.
Clos Cibonne is one of 18 Cru Classé growers in the Côtes de Provence AOP, and is in fact the most southerly. The estate’s 15 hectares of vineyards are located a mere 800 metres from the coast and are surrounded by hillsides in the base of a bowl that faces the sea. This topography creates air circulation, extends the growing period whilst cooling the vines. The soil is a mixture of schist & clay. After harvest, the wines are fermented in stainless steel & some are then aged under fleurette (a thin veil of yeast) in 100-year-old, 5000L cask.
The estate is managed organically. Grapes are all harvested by hand and the resultant wines are some of the most transparent in Southern France - the spices, herbs and salt that you can literally taste on the breeze, fill these wines.