When we arrived in Provence the weather was very hot, just perfect for enjoying the Rosé wines from this enchanting part of France. Of course we would drink some white wine and if the weather cooled off, a red wine or two. We had rented a house in Abignon near Carpentras. It is very near to great wine areas such as Gigondas, Beaumes de Venise, Cotes du Rhone, and Vaqueyras, so wine would not be a problem.
We decided to go out for one meal a day, usually lunch, and have one meal at the house. There is a large organic garden where we can pick our vegetables and there are a number of towns nearby with great farmers markets.
For lunch one afternoon we went to Restaurant L’ Oustalet in Gigondas. This restaurant has a very interesting menu different from the typical ones in the area. One of the courses I ordered was a carpaccio of veal and langoustine mixed together covered with foam. It was not what I expected but it was very good. They also have a very good wine list from which I ordered a bottle of white wine:
Coudoulet de Beaucastle 2011 Cotes- Du-Rhone made from 30% Bourboulemc, 10% Clairette, 30% Marsanna and 30% Viognier. The vines grow in a 3 acre vineyard between Orange and Avignon. There is manual harvesting, sorting of the grapes, pneumatic pressing, racking and fermentation partly in oak barrels and stainless steel tanks for 8 months. The wines are assembled and bottled without passage at low temperatures. This white wine with a mineral and savory character, subtle citrus fruit, good acidity, a very pleasing dry finish and long aftertaste.
The house has a pizza oven on the property and one afternoon we decided to make pizza. Michele made the dough and I tended the fire and baked the pizzas. With the pizza we drank:
Bandol Rosé 2012 AOC Bondol Domaine Tempier made from 50% Mourvédre, 28% Grenache, 20% Cinsault and 2% Carignan. The soil is a mix of clay and limestone; it is tilled mechanically and by hand. The grapes are harvested by hand and carried in small bins of 30 kg and hand selected in the vineyard and cellar. Vinification is by direct pressing or after cold maceration or by saignées between 5 and 10 percent. This is a Rosé with a lot of body and flavor, floral overtones, peaches, a hint of spice and good acidity. The wine worked very well with the pizza with its different toppings.
Les Palliēres “ au petit Bonheur” 2012 Rosé Vin de Table- the winery is located outside the village of Gigondas. Made from Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault and Clairette, the blend depending on the vintage. The soil is clay and limestone and the vines are at 250 to 400. The grapes are sourced from younger vines and the juice is obtained from directed pressing. Fermentation takes place in 650-liter demi-muids. This is a very pleasant wine with nice fruit aromas and flavors and a hint of melon. We enjoyed this wine with the shrimp that we purchased at the market.
We passed a farm stand one day advertising fresh cepes, porcini mushrooms. They were big and beautiful and Michele bought a few to serve as our appetizer that night for dinner. She larded the caps with slices of fresh garlic, drizzled them with olive oil and sprinkled them with fresh thyme from the garden. After roasting in a hot oven, they were tender and meaty, just the way we have eaten them in Italy. For a second course, we had rotisserie spareribs that we had gotten at the market in Carpentras. The wine for the night was a perfect choice:
Gigondas 2005 Clos du Joncuas made from 80% Grenache, and 20% Mourvedre, Cinsault and Syrah. They use organic methods in the vineyards and traditional vinification. The wine has red and black fruit aromas and flavors, hints of blackberry, blueberry and a touch of spice. It was an excellent combination with the roasted porcini mushrooms we had at the house. I do not believe this wine is imported into the US but I really liked it. The wine cost 14 Euros in the coop store in Gigondas.