For a number of years we have shared a vacation house in Provence with another couple. We could not get along any better and we really enjoy their company. The arrangement works out great, except for one problem. Nat really likes to drink rose’ wine, and an occasional white, but prefers not to drink red wine. I on the other hand drink mostly red wine, some white and very little rose’.
This year we rented a house together in St. Romaine en Viennois in the northern part of Provence. When we first arrived the weather was chilly but it soon warmed up making the chilled rose’ seem appealing. I decided to give the roses’ from the area a real chance. We drank at least one bottle of rose’ a day and on most days we drank two.
I always drink wine with food and have often heard that rose’ is a mealtime wine compromise. The thinking is that if someone is having fish and someone is having meat, then the perfect compromise would be rose’. But as in most compromises, it often turns out that no one is happy with the result! You should drink rose because you want to drink rose’. At lunch one day it was a perfect combination with the liver but not with the herring. As with most things in life, there are no guarantees.
The rose’ wines I like the best are those that are salmon-pink in color, are dry, have subtle fruit and no tannin. They go best with a variety of different foods.
Sablet White 2010 Cotes du Rhone Villages Domaine de Verquiere. The wine is made from 50% Grenache Blanc, 20% Clairette, 15% Bourboulenc and 15% Roussanne. The soil is clay and chalk with rounded red pebbles. The grapes are hand harvested and direct pressing takes place under controlled temperatures. It is a balanced wine with aromas and flavors of green apple and lemon. There is good acidity and a slight hint of almond in the finish.
La Deveze Viognier 2010-Vin de Pays de la Principaute d’Orange. 100% Viognier –Domaine de Dionysos. The average age of the vineyards in 15 years and the terroir has a sandy surface with a clay sub-soil which helps to prevent drought stress. The wine had aromas and flavors of grapefruit, apricot and a very slight hint of banana, the wine went very well with the langoustine that we had for lunch at the house.
Rose’ 2010 Luberon Appellation d’Origine Protegee made from 50% Grenache Noir, and 50% Cinsault, Domaine La Cavale–Paule Dubrule Family. It has the color of a blush wine tending toward a pale pink. It is dry with nice fruit, a touch of apricot and a hint of grapefruit.
Gigondas Rose’ 2010 Domaine Longue Toque-Grabile Meffre, made mostly from Grenache and Syrah. This wine is produced in very small quantities. It had a light salmon color with flavors and aromas of red fruit with a hint of raspberry and spice.
Gigondas Rose’ 2010 Clos Du Joncus. The wine is made mostly from Grenache with some Cinsault and Syrah. It has a salmon-pink color, dry with subtle fruit aromas and flavors with a hint of strawberry.
Rose’ Grand Cassigues Cotes du Rhone 2010 Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault and Carignan Domaine de la President. The average age of the wine is 20 years and the soil is clay and limestone. The residual sugar is at 2 to 3 grams per liter. There is thinning of the vines and a manual harvest early in the morning. Each variety is vinified separately at low temperatures. The Syrah, Cinsault and Carignan were “bled” and the Grenache has 50% skin contact and 50% directly pressed to extract the maximum and to keep the dark blush almost pink color. There are aromas and flavors of strawberry, raspberry, red currants and yellow melon. The wine worked throughout the meal and it even went well with the red peppers and lamb.
Rose’ Ventoux 2010 Cave Beaumont Du Ventoux. The wine is made from Grenache, Syrah and Cinsault grown at 400 meters on the northern slopes of Mount Ventoux. Because of this northern exposure the wine has good natural acidity and a lower acidity 12.5 % then most roses. It was a little darker in color, very aromatic with fresh fruit aromas and flavors and hits of strawberry. We had the wine at restaurant Le Pont De l’Orme where we dined outside with Mount Ventoux in the background. The price for the wine in the restaurant was 9 Euros-a real bargain.
Cerise et Reglisse Red 2007 Cotes Du Ventoux Clos Des Patris– made mostly from Syrah, Grenache and Carignan with a little Cinsault, Mourvedre and Counoise. These grapes come from their oldest vineyards. Each grape variety plays its part in the makeup of the wine: Grenache for roundness and suppleness, Syrah for color and aroma, Cinsault for aroma and balance and Mourvedre for body and complexity. Natural fermentation takes place in little stainless steel tanks. Each grape variety is fermented separately and maceration is between 2 to 3 weeks. The pigeate, the pressing down of the cap, is done by hand. There is a soft pressing in a press that is operated by hand and the wine is filtered through the skins. This is an organic winery. This is a dry wine with aromas and flavors of blackberry, licorice and spice with a pleasing finish and aftertaste. It went very well with the sheeps’ milk cheese that we had for dinner.
Sablet Red 2007 Cotes du Rhone Villages Domaine de Verquiere, made from 70% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 5% Mourvedre and 5% Cinsault. The soil is chalk and pebbles. The grapes are handpicked and fermented at controlled temperatures. Traditional fermentation takes place on the skins between 10 to 12 days. The wine is aged in large oak casks between 6 to eight months. The wine has aromas and flavors of ripe red fruit with more than a hint of raspberry and a little touch of spice. It went very well with the roast chicken we had with dinner at the house.