This is the time of year when we start dreaming of spring peas, favas, asparagus and … rosé! I tasted several of them today at a Provencal rosé tasting at Bluestem Brasserie off Market Street in SF, and it put me into a spring frame of mind! IMHO, only dry rosé from Provence is true rosé because it’s the only region in the world that specializes in this fruity, elegant and food-friendly wine. For perspective, France is the world’s leading producer of rosé and Provence represents 38% of that. Exports have been growing for eight straight years and last year, it grew a roséy 62%.
I can pick out a Provencal rosé anywhere. It has the most distinctive pale salmon color, although the range of hues would make Martha Stewart envious. It’s typically 12.5-13% alcohol with fresh acidity and very dry, always under 4 g/liter residual sugar. But it’s the aromas and fruity flavors that are so distinctive – like getting a punch of rainbow sherbet with lemon, peach and raspberry flavors all melting deliciously in your mouth.
The tasting, put on by the Provence Wine Council (Conseil Interprofessionnel des vins de Provence, CIVP) showed the range of styles with some having a little too much malo or wood for my taste. For me, these three wines are simple, but perfect Provencal rosé wines.
Chateau Saint-Pierre Cotes de Provence “Tradition” 2011 (srp $14.99). Sings Provence. One can breathe in the fresh country air filled with garrigue and bite into the juicy melange of summer peaches, raspberries and citrus spilling onto the outdoor dining table. Importer: Return to Terroir, SF.
Chateau Coussin Cotes de Provence Sainte-Victoire 2011. A perfectly balanced, medium-bodied rosé with citrus and stone fruit flavors. Importer: T. Edward Wines NYC.
Chateau Barbeyrolles Cotes de Provence “Petale de Rosé” 2011. Another really well-balanced rosé this time with spicy orange and peach flavors. Importers: Plume Ridge in CA and Aleph Wines in South Carolina.
Other great examples from the tasting:
Chateau Gassier Cotes de Provence Sainte-Victoire “946” 2011. Importer: Cannon Wines, SF.
Chateau Roubine Cotes de Provence “Classique” 2011 (srp $19.99). Importer: European Wine Imports, OH.
Jules Cotes de Provence 2011. Importer: The Barter House, NYC.
Saint Roch Les Vignes Cotes de Provence 2011 (srp $13.50). Importer: Jeff Welburn Selections, CA
For a general list of retailers that carry authentic roses from Provence, check out the Provence website.