Unless you have been hiding under a rock for the past three years, you are aware of the explosion of Rosé wines in the market. Grocery store aisles that used to feature 3 to 4 Rosés are now offering 12-15 selections or more. Most of the Rosés currently being offered come from Provence.
Here are a few of our 2016 favorites!
Aix en Provence Rosé. $14.99
Bonnard Sancerre Rosé. $15.99
Clendenen Family Rosé of Mondeuse. $14.99
Lafond Tavel Rosé. $14.99
Clos Sainte-Magdeleine Cassis Rosé. $36.99. 6 bottles only available.
Domaine du Gros Noré Bandol Rosé. $29.99. Only 1 case available.
Château Sainte Roseline Cru Classé Rosé. $18.99
Please email your orders to: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 850-687-1370.
Of course, there are nice Rosés produced here in the U.S., as well as in Spain and in other regions of France. Bordeaux for example, boasts a nice selection. However, folks prefer the Provençal Rosé for two main reasons:
1) The Provençal Rosés are light and refreshing but still have nice grip and good body. Often the Rosé from Bordeaux is too lazy and bland, while the Rosé from Loire is too soft. The best Rosés have a little bite that provides acidity and length — the perfect compliment for food.
2) The prices are sooo good — most of the time under $20. Too good to pass up!
There are essentially eight appellations in Provence, with small producing areas such as Bellet, where the Vermentino made famous by Miraval is produced. Another tiny appellation is Palette, a beautiful wine-growing area just outside of Aix-en-Provence, with outstanding Reds as well. Finally, there is Pierrevert, near Manosque, an area also renown for its millions of acres of lavender.
Some of the more important appellations though, are Bandol and Cassis on the coast where the use of Mourvèdre adds to the complexity and intensity of the wines. Coteaux Varois, protected by the Sainte-Baume Mountains, is another important region known to harvest its grapes much later in the year, thereby producing a full-bodied Rosé.
The largest appellations for Rosé however, are Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence and, primarily, Côtes de Provence. Côtes de Provence is actually responsible for 60% of the total production of Provence wine and over 50% of the total production of Rosé! The appellation spreads out from Draguignan, up north, to Saint-Tropez and Frejus on the Riviera coastline, to Toulon, which is also the Mediterranean base for the French fleet. Côtes de Provence is the Easternmost appellation for Provençal Rosé, and it includes wines of very different character. Most Rosés in the Côtes de Provence are made of combinations of Grenache, Cinsault, Carignan, Mourvèdre, Tibouren or Rolle. Sometimes a little Cabernet Sauvignon or Syrah is added for more body and structure.
Modern winemakers use some oak for complexity and the Saignée Method is used in at least 20% of the production in the area. Saignée is the process by which some of the juice is removed (“bleeding off”) to add concentration, color and flavor to the wine.