Category Archives: Rose

Drinking More Red, Rose and White in Provence

’’This year, we spent our vacation in Provence.  We rented a house in the tiny town of St. Romaine en Viennois, just a half hour or less from the villages of Gigondas, Beaumes-De Venise, and Chateauneuf du Pape.  The house overlooks a valley of vines and every morning I enjoyed walking among the vines and watching the farmers at work. We spent 10 days there and drank a lot of rosé, some whites, and a few reds.

Then we went to a friend’s home in Eze Village for two days. Here we drank mostly red wine.

 Red Beaumes-De-Venise “Les Trois Amours” 2008 Domaine Beauvalcinte, made from 50% Grenache, 20% Mourvedre, 10% Syrah, 10% Carignan, 5% Counoise and 5% Cinsault. The grapes are destemmed and fermentation takes place in concrete tanks with natural yeast under controlled temperatures. Maceration lasts for 24 days. This was a very nice wine with red fruit flavors and aromas with hints of raspberry.

 The soil in Gigondas  is composed of limestone, clay and small stones which seemed to be everywhere. The vineyards are on the hills and the plateau and can be seen from the village above.

 Gigondas 2001 Domaine De La Jaufrette.  The wine is made from 90% Grenache and 10% Syrah.  It stays 2 to 3 years in vats and 6 to18 months in foudres according to the vintage and 6 to 8 months in bottle before release. The wine was showing very well with dark fruit aromas and flavors and a hint of spice and leather. There was some wine left in the bottle and I had it with lunch the next day.  It tasted even better.

 The territory of Chateauneuf-du-Pape is north of Avignon on the left bank of the Rhone. It covers the five communes between Orange and Avignon.  Clay and limestone “galettes,” large round stones, help the vines to withstand the dry Mediterranean climate and the mistral (strong winds).

 Chateauneuf-du-Pape Blanc 2009 Domaine du Grand Tinel. The wine is made from 60% Grenache Blanc, 20% Clairette and 20% Bourboulance.   90% of the wine is aged  in stainless steel tanks and the rest in new oak barrels. The wine was dry with a mineral character and hints of grapefruit.  It worked very well with tapenade, olives and thumb size sausages that we had as an appetizer.

 Chateauneuf-du-Pape Blanc 2000 Chateau La Nerthe made from 39% Roussanne, 27% Grenache Blanc,19% Clairette and 15% Bourboulence. I do not think the wines undergo malolatic fermentation and 38% of the wine is aged in wood and 62% in tanks. The wood might be barriques. This was the oldest blanc from here that I have had. The wine was showing its age with ripe fruit and a mineral character but it went very well with the smoked salmon we had with lunch.

  Chateauneuf-du-Pape 1989 Chateau Cabrieres made from 50% Grenache, 20% Syrah 20% Mourvedre and 10 Cinsault. The harvest is by hand and usually takes place in the middle of September.  There is a select sorting of the grapes. Fermentation lasts for 4 weeks and includes pumping over, delestage and later malolatic fermentation. The wines are assembled and undergo a light filtration and are aged in Allier oak for 6-12 months. It was drinking like a good older wine with hints of black fruit, prune and spice. It had a nice finish and aftertaste.

 The wines of Cassis

The fishing village and seashore resort of Cassis is situated in the western part of the Cote d’Azur not far from Marseille. The appelation is restricted to the commune of Cassis which covers only some 80 hectares. Here they produce white, rosé and red wine. They are known first for their whites, somewhat for their rosé, and least of all for their reds. At the house of a friend in Eze Village I was able to taste all three.

 Blanc de Blancs Cassis 2009 Domaine du Paternal made from Ugni Blanc, Clairette, Marsanne and Doucillon. I was very impressed with this wine. It was balanced, with good acidity, aromas and flavors of grapefruit, herbs, a touch of spice, good mineral character and a very nice finish and aftertaste. It was a delight to drink on the terrace looking at the village of Eze.

 Rosé Cassis 2009 Domaine Du Bagnol made from Grenache, Mourvedre, Cinsault, and Carignan. This is a fruity wine with a dry, full body with hints a strawberry and raspberry.

 Red Cassis 2008 Domaine du Paternal made from the same grapes as the Rosé. I had never had a red wine from Cassis before. The red was interesting but not as good as the white.

 Cornas, scorched earth. The production zone has a south/southwest exposure with a semicircle of hill which protect it from the winds and steep terraced hills. The soil contains granite.   It has a hot and dry Mediterranean climate.  Because of these factors, the grapes are the first to be harvested in the Northern Rhone. The area covers 115 hectares all planted with Syrah.

 Cornas Terre Brulee 2004 100% Syrah Domaine Lionnet, they only use organic farming methods and all of the work is done by hand. The only have 2.2 hectares and the vines are between 40-100 years old. All the farming is done by the lunar calendar when possible. The land is worked by a tractor or a horse. No additives are used in making the wine. Only natural yeast is used to have a real expression of the terroir. Grape bunches are placed in small open tanks and the maceration lasts for three weeks. The grapes are “walked on” several times a day during this time. The pulp and stems are shoveled by hand into a 19 century vertical press where a slow pressing takes place. The wine is temporarily placed in tanks so that malolatic fermentation can take place. After the wine is racked and separated from the lees it remains in barrels for two winters.  There is no filtration and no new oak is used. I was very impressed with this wine. It was a big wine with cooked black fruit aromas and flavors, hints of cassis, spice, licorice and a touch of violets.

The Wines in the House in Eze

The Wines in the House in St. Romaine en Viennois

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Filed under Cassis, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Cornas, French Red, French Wine, Gigondas, Rose, White wine

Drinking Mostly Rose, with a Little White and Red in Provence

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’.

The House in ST. Romaine en Viennoise

 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.

Lunch on the Terrace

 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.

 Here are some of the wines that we have been drinking, mostly rose’, and a few whites and reds:

 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 CavalePaule 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.

I have really takes a liking to the rose’ wines from Gigondas.

 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.


Filed under French Red, French Wine, Provence, Rose