Friday, March 6, 2015

Provence Rosé — The Dry Pink

I made a quick visit to the Wines of Provence spring tasting tour recently. “Provence in the City,” also known as “Fifty Shades of Pink,” was held on the Rooftop Terrace of L’Ermitage in Beverly Hills. This event is always a good way to experience a wide variety of Provence rosé — the dry pink.
We had very good weather and it was a scenic place to taste wine. The complete panorama included snow capped mountains and the skyline of downtown Los Angeles.
Provence is the world's largest wine region specializing in dry rosé and I have been a fan of this style since 2012, when I first tasted at Provence in the City.  If you missed my previous blog post about the tasting you can read it here.  

The Provence Wine Council knows that Americans consumed a little over 14 bottles of wine per resident, per year, in 2013 and they'd like you to drink a few bottles from Provence as part of your case-plus each year. (OK, if you are only consuming one case annually, why are you reading about wine?) It seems like a reasonable thing to doexpand your tasting experience and drink some rosé from Provence. Wines of Provence are from Côtes de Provence, Coteaux d'Aix-en-Provence, and Coteaux Varois.

I have to admit that before I tasted the Vins de Provence I was generally suspicious of any pink wines, having tasted the typical sweet white zin in the past (like the 80s), but these are completely different. There are quite a few styles of rosé wines, some vary by locations within Provence, most have different blends of the popular grapes used in rosé, and some are even aged in oak! As the Provence Wine Council says, these wines have the “Character of a red with the crispness of a white.”
Pool guests are asked to switch your beverage to a plastic champagne flute.
As they poured my wine several people mentioned to me that “This wine would be good to enjoy by the pool.” I think they were really trying to say it would be good as an Apéritif (to drink without food) and not that I should leave the tasting area to drink my wine at the nearby pool. (Besides, I’m not so sure about drinking Rosé from a plastic champagne flute anyway.)

Many of the
Rosé wines I tasted would definitely pair well with a broad range of fine cuisine. And some were described as being very good either way as in by the pool or with food. Château D’Esclans offers their Rosé as the answer to this question about having it either way:
“HOW DOES A ROSE ELUDE BOUNDARIES BETWEEN BEING A SUPERB APERITIF ROSE AND A FINE WINE THAT ENJOYS THE VERSATILITY OF BEING SUCCESSFULLY PAIRED WITH A BROAD RANGE OF FINE CUISINE?”




The Wine Tasting ...
In my quick visit I managed to taste wines from close to a third of the Provence producers.

Barton & Guestier

2014 Barton & Guestier Passeport Rosé, Côtes de Provence
50% Grenache, 35% Cinsault, 15% Syrah

2014 La Villa Barton Rosé, Côtes de Provence
45% Grenache, 30% Syrah, 25% Cinsault



Château D’Esclans - Domaines Sacha Lichine - Whispering Angel 

2014 Whispering Angel Rosé, Côtes de Provence
Grenache, Rolle, Cinsault

2014 Château D’Esclans Rosé, Côtes de Provence
Grenache, Rolle, Tibouren

2013 Les Clans Rosé, Côtes de Provence
Grenache, Rolle (Aged in oak and stainless steel.)

2013 Garrus Rosé, Côtes de Provence
Grenache, Rolle
Old-vine Grenache and Rolle (Aged in oak.)
 

Château Pigoudet

2014 Pigoudet Premiere Rosé, Coteaux d'Aix-en-Provence
Grenache, Cinsault, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah

2014 Château Pigoudet La Chapelle Rosé, Coteaux d'Aix-en-Provence
Grenache, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon

2014 Château Pigoudet Classic Rosé, Coteaux d'Aix-en-Provence
Grenache, Cinsault, Ugni Blanc



Domaine Terr De Mistral

2014 Simone Rosé, Côtes de Provence
Syrah, Grenache

2014 Anna White, Côtes de Provence
Rolle 



Mas de Cadenet

2014 Famille Négrel Nuit Blanche Rosé, Côtes de Provence
Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah
“Nuit Blanche” means “Sleepless Night” and it refers to the night harvest.

2014 Arbaude Rosé, Côtes de Provence
60% Grenache, 40% Cinsault & Syrah

2014 Mas de Cadenet Rosé, Côtes de Provence Sainte-Victoire
50% Grenache, 40% Cinsault, 10% Syrah

2014 Mas de Cadenet Blanc, Côtes de Provence
100% Rolle



Maison Saint Aix

2014 AIX Rosé, Coteaux d'Aix-en-Provence
60% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 20% Cinsault


Hecht & Bannier

2014 Côtes de Provence Hecht & Bannier Rosé, Côtes de Provence

Cinsault, Grenache, Syrah 

Estandon Vignerons

2014 Estandon Rosé, Côtes de Provence
Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah

2104 Terres de Saint Louis Rosé, Coteaux Varois en Provence
Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah

2014 Croix de Basson Organic Rosé, Côtes de Provence
Grenache, Cinsault


Food, Wine & Lots Of Questions ...

My Favorite Wines ...
I’m sure there were many other great wines being poured and I would have liked the time to taste them all.  Out of the 16 wines that I tasted I thought 12 of them were very good (regardless of price).
  • 2013 Château D’Esclans, Garrus Rosé, Côtes de Provence
  • 2014 Mas de Cadenet Rosé, Côtes de Provence Sainte-Victoire
  • 2014 Château Pigoudet Classic Rosé, Coteaux d'Aix-en-Provence
  • 2014 Château Pigoudet La Chapelle Rosé, Coteaux d'Aix-en-Provence
  • 2014 Domaine Terr De Mistral, Simone Rosé, Côtes de Provence
  • 2014 Mas de Cadenet, Arbaude Rosé, Côtes de Provence
  • 2013 Château D’Esclans, Les Clans Rosé, Côtes de Provence
  • 2014 Barton & Guestier, La Villa Barton Rosé, Côtes de Provence
  • 2014 Château Pigoudet, Pigoudet Premiere Rosé, Coteaux d'Aix-en-Provence
  • 2014 Domaine Terr De Mistral, Anna White, Côtes de Provence
  • 2014 Mas de Cadenet Blanc, Côtes de Provence
  • 2014 Mas de Cadenet, Famille Négrel Nuit Blanche Rosé, Côtes de Provence

The Best Overall ...
I really enjoyed the wines offered at:

  • Mas de Cadenet
  • Château Pigoudet
  • Domaine Terr De Mistral

Retail Prices ...
I noticed a range of $9 to $100 per bottle at the tasting and I guessed that many of Provence Rosé wines are under $20. I was close with my guess; the official average price per bottle in the premium rosé segment is just under $17. That's even better!
 

What to Buy …
After the last Provence In The City tasting event I found Maitres Vignerons de Saint-Tropez, Saint Roch Les Vignes Rosé, Côtes de Provence at the local Pavillions Grocery Store (Safeway). It’s still one of my favorites and has a very reasonable retail price of around $15.

After this tasting (and based on my guesses at retail prices) I’ll be looking for the following wines:

  1. 2014 Château Pigoudet, Pigoudet Premiere Rosé, Coteaux d'Aix-en-Provence
  2. 2014 Château Pigoudet La Chapelle Rosé, Coteaux d'Aix-en-Provence
  3. 2014 Château Pigoudet Classic Rosé, Coteaux d'Aix-en-Provence
  4. 2014 Domaine Terr De Mistral, Simone Rosé, Côtes de Provence
  5. 2014 Domaine Terr De Mistral, Anna White, Côtes de Provence
  6. 2014 Mas de Cadenet, Arbaude Rosé, Côtes de Provence
  7. 2014 Mas de Cadenet Blanc, Côtes de Provence
  8. 2014 Mas de Cadenet Rosé, Côtes de Provence Sainte-Victoire
  9. 2014 Mas de Cadenet, Famille Négrel Nuit Blanche Rosé, Côtes de Provence
  10. 2014 Barton & Guestier, La Villa Barton Rosé, Côtes de Provence

Where to buy …
Visit the Wines of Provence US Retailer Directory
for a listing of the wine stores that carry these wines in your area.
 
What I drank the most …
Still and Sparkling Water sponsored by Solé Natural Mineral Water.  :-)  Really big water bottles! 


Cheers!

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