Another day in the French Riviera, and another opportunity for some serious viticultural research. Though, given that Rose from Provence is beginning to dominate the pink vin de table market, one hardly needs to travel the 16,000 kilometres to Cannes to sample wines from the region! Just take a look at the origin of the bottles of blush vino on the shelves of your local liquor store and the growing influence of the Provençal prodigy will be obvious. In some stores, almost half the range will be imported, and most of that from the southeast corner of France!
And having recently spent a bit of time immersed in the culture of the region, the popularity of the style with the locals has become quite understandable; hot dry days, many hours of sunlight and a tendency to eat the evening meal at a time that we would be tucked up under a doona, lends itself to a few hours late in the afternoon spent sipping on a light, aromatic but low alcohol aperitif, with or without olives and cheese!
The geographical region of Provence is effectively the southeastern corner of the country, extending from the Italian border and Mediterranean sea, to the lower Rhone River to the West. It includes much of the lower Alps, Cote d’Azur, Bouches-du-Rhône and Vaucluse. It’s a large region, but surprisingly (at least to me), very little of its famed wines are produced in the beautiful French Riviera, where the maritime climate would seemingly lend itself to the agronomy of many of the styles that do so well just across the Italian border.
I have to admit to being somewhat of reluctant convertee to the style, despite the proselytism of one of my metrosexual friends who orders a “brose” for himself and a schooner of lager for his wife (you know who you are John!)! But local drops like the Domaine La Rouillere 2016 Grande Reserve are simply summer in a bottle. Light, and with a fragrant nose which is lifted by cherries, cranberries and red fruits on the palate and finishes dry, though with the lingering hint of strawberries and cream. Rouge et or 2015 by Chateau Minuty
Rouge et or 2015 by Chateau Minuty
For times when something bolder is required, Provence is also capable of the husbandry of drinkable reds, like the Rouge et or 2015 by Chateau Minuty, which is a blend of Grenache and Merlot and is at most, medium bodied, though there are perhaps a few more tobacco and savoury nuances than I would like to see in a pairing with Provençal Beef Daube!
It’s only a personal perspective, but in Provence, the rose is world class. But I’ll be going to Bordeaux or Burgundy for my reds, if that’s ok!