Words: Henry Yuen Pix: Wines of Provence
Summer has finally arrived. What better way to embrace the westcoast sunshine and the radiant heat that sheds everywhere - up the roof top, in the back yard, inside the solarium or on the patio? Sipping a glass of nicely chilled rosé is probably one of the top choices.
Fruity, refreshing and enchanting, this beautifully hue of light salmon pink sipper, so perfect for all the senses, is no doubt made for relaxing summer moments. After all, the aroma of fresh berries and stonefruits with a dash of citrus and young herb is a lovely prelude to finely balanced acidity and tartness to mellow the day and quench the thirst.
You can say most wineries from both the Old World and the New World regions produce rosé wines. While the method of blending white wine with red wine is frowned upon, there are various methods for crafting rosé. Provence, the world leader and benchmark for crafting fine rosé, is so serious about the production of rosé, has been regarded as the Holy Grail of divine rosé. Their wines speak for themselves and inevitably, are desired by many rosé lovers in the world.
Unlike some others where rosé is a by-product of making red wine, 88% of wines produced in Provence is rosé, a percentage no other wine regions in the world can compare. Wine-making history and tradition are deep in Provence where French vineyards originated. The Greek brought the art and culture of wine-making to Provence and were making wines similar in style to the rosé wine we drink today. Fast forward to now and the culture of making earnest rosé the world clamours about stays true and strong. Provence is the only wine region with a research institute specifically dedicated to the study and improvement of rosé wine. There are over 600 wineries in Provence, all making rosé. They have to be prominently good and the reputation paramount in order to compete in the international markets. Their wines are granted the AOP (Appellation Of Origin) bearing the highest production standard in France.
The AOP designation does guarantee the wines are produced in the highest standard but the unique terroir of those particular appellations is another huge factor contributing the the fame garnered. The three major appellations in Provence are Cotes de Provence, Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence and Coteaux Varois en Provence with Cotes de Provence being the largest producing over 80% of the total rose volume.
Chateau Barbebelle “Cuvee Madeleine” 2016 (Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence) under $20: This pale pink colour rosé delivers breezy aromas of strawberry jam and floral bouquets. On the palate are stonefruits with green apple skin and a hint of fresh herbs. Bright acidity and a nice mouth feel, this Provenc rosé is a must try at such a bargain tag.
Chateau Riotor Famille Abeille 2016 (Cotes de Provence) $22: The pinkish orange hue is an allure. Aroma of red berries and cherries, followed by riped pear and a dash of grapefruit on the palate, the juicy, tentallizing finish stays long and dandy.
Chateau Coussin Famille Sumeire 2016 (Cotes de Provence) $30: Along with the pretty off-pink colour comes a nice floral note on the nose followed by tangerine and citrus on the palate. Lovely flavour profile that lingers, this is a benchmark Provence rosé with classic terroir characteristics.
Chateau Mira Luna 2016 (Coteaux Varois en Provence) $35: Pale straw colour and tropoical fruit aomas of apricot, peach and red fruits, this wine demands attention. Crafted with Syrah and Cinsault grapes, this well-balanced rosé has vivid and layered flavours, the mouth feel is smooth and the finish is velvety.