Thursday, April 5, 2012

Provence in the City 2012



Although the Taste N Trip blog usually covers tasting trips in California, it isn’t just about products from California.  This entry describes rosé wines from Provence that I tasted in Los Angeles.
 “Provence in the City 2012” was recently held at the Fig & Olive Melrose Place restaurant in West Hollywood. The presentation of wines from the Côtes de Provence appellation was organized by the Provence Wine Council; also known as The Conseil Interprofessionnel des Vins de Provence (CIVP) in France.  It featured rosé wines, as well as a few red and white wines from Provence.  They were paired with Mediterranean-influenced hors d’oeuvres from the Fig & Olive that were fantastic!  I plan to visit this restaurant again for dinner in the future.

Rosé comes from the French word for pink and it is a category of wine just as white and red are categories.
Wines from the Côtes de Provence appellation are typically a very bright, pale pink color. This light pink coloring doesn’t mean it’s sweet like with a White Zinfandel or Pink Muscato though. Typical blush wines made in the U.S. have nearly seven times as much residual sugar as a Provençal rosé. Now that’s a difference worth noting!

Provence rosés have some common characteristics: on the palate they tend to be fresh, crisp, bright, and dry. Fresh and exotic fruits dominate in their highly complex bouquet, along with floral and spicy notes. Well-balanced and zesty, combining freshness and smoothness, they are best served chilled from 46° to 53° F. Most of the rosés at the tasting were from the Côtes de Provence and some were from La Londe and Montagne Sainte-Victoire sub-appellations.



The grapes used in rosé wine are primarily Mourvedre, Grenache and Cinsault. Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah are also blended in with some cuvées. These two grapes are viewed as an appeal to international tastes by traditional winemakers. Additional blends also used Carignan (a high yielding grape not known for quality), Tibouren, and white wine grapes Semillon and Rolle/Vermentino. Vermentino is an Italian grape known as Rolle in France. Vermentino produces crisp, floral and tart wines.


All of the rosés I tasted were very nice, but the ones I liked best are below in my top ten list. 

Fig & Olive Pasta
Fig & Olive Appetizers
The nature and impression of rosés change significantly depending on whether they are consumed as an apéritif or paired with food, particularly with the traditional flavors of Provençal cuisine. Rosé wine pairs especially well with Mediterranean-influenced dishes, such as the Warm Fig Gorgonzola Tartlet or Mediterranean Chicken Samosa appetizers at the Fig & Olive.

This wine tasting event has changed my thinking about drinking rosé wines from Provence. Rosé is a great alternative to red and white wines that you can enjoy with or without food. I recommend trying any of the wines in my top ten the next time you have the opportunity. A votre sante!
 
More info is at www.winesofprovence.com or www.facebook.com/winesofprovence and www.figandolive.com.