These wines show that you can drink pink in late summer and into autumn.
Many wine drinkers associate rosé with drinking spring and early summer — the days when you might be floating around on the yacht or relaxing on the patio or under the pergola. You probably do not think much of rosé in the late, sad days of August, as the gold bar, Queen Anne’s lace and cool summer nights signal the end of summer.
But you should. And the experts agree.
The perception of limited “seasonal conditions” is just one of the myths that the Provence wine board aims to debunk on its website along with a number of other misconceptions that it is a simple or opaque quaff. The category also has its advocate in the sommelier community. Educator Vanessa Price, author of Big Macs and Burgundy, is just one such expert who advocates drinking pink wine beyond the dog days. “Roses are strong as a category and able to go over in the fall,” she says.
Provence is considered the spiritual home of the category, and its astronomical success inspired wine regions around the world to come up with their own versions, resulting in a wide field of pink styles in different shades and taste profiles. Many roses are actually more pleasing in the fall when their salty notes fit better with transition menus. Price says their range of styles and texture gives them “the ability to pair with a full range of foods – spicy, sour and sweet.”
But because we are still in the summer heat and heading into a heatwave after a good soak this week (merci, tropical storm Henri!) It is a good time to celebrate the last gasp of the summer with refreshing roses from France. Unless otherwise stated, all vintages are 2020 and still available.
Classic Côtes de Provence
There is a good reason why Provence is the historical standard bearer of rosé wine, says Jean-François Ott, owner of Eight domains in that region.
“Provence has almost everything – climate, terroir, soil, the grapes that work well for the rosé and the lifestyle experience,” he says.
Ott’s portfolio of wines ranges from everyday drinks at $ 20 to higher end, age-worthy salty wines produced from real estate grapes ($ 45 to $ 50). By Ott flavors of fresh fruits on the market and anise, menthol and lavender notes. Made from hand-picked grapes, the Grenache-driven ones Chateau de Selle delivers a more blissful Rhône-style profile (you can save this for the Thanksgiving table). Mourvèdre is the greatest player within Chateau Romassau, a light wine elevated with high lemon colors with grapes derived from a package, Ott says, was never farmed commercially. He says Romassau can stay up to 10 years thanks to the structure Mourvèdre gives it. Although each has its own personality, a salt water and salty thread runs through all three, giving the wines a distinct sense of place.
Another classic that transports rosé is IGP “Blue Cape” made by Jean-Luc Colombo, a pioneer in Cornas nearby. His raspberry-scented rosé made near the shore leads with a fresh salt water streak, followed by a characteristic garrigue herbal profile. Light Conch shell pink in color, this wine has a certain Mediterranean vibe. The mix of Syrah (67%) and Mourvèdre (33%) completes the journey.
Hecht & Bannier “H&B” rosé, Cotes de Provence. Light, lively lifestyle wine consisting of 60% Grenache and 35% Cinsault with a splash of Vermentino to keep things zippy. The tall elegant bottle is a beautiful companion that you can take on a trip on your yacht or in your vintage car.
Founded in 2010 by the Cronk family, Mirabeau House is a relatively young participant in the category. The Cronks, who hail from the UK, share their Provencal lifestyle and recipes on their blog. Unfortunately, the estate suffered from the wild fires that recently hit the south of France. I’m hoping for an improvement so I can get more of their interpretation of classic Provence rosé with fresh summer berries, zingy grapefruit and a light overlay of herbs.
Barton & Guestier “Tourmaline” is a light and crisp wine that is fresh from freshly picked market berries and white flowers and followed by the palate of ripe red berries and crisp acid. Classic blend (50% Grenache, 30% Cinsault, 20% Syrah); the elongated voluptuous bottle makes it a beautiful date for any party.
Other southern climates
Bernard + Olivier Coste “Montrose” (2019), Pays d’Oc IGP, south of France. Tropical hints of tart mandarin and rich guava and a creamy, medium body without being clever, 14.4% abv a glass can make you woozy, so have it with light foods. Good dinner Tuesday night.
Side Mas “Aurore. ” Fresh red fruit and lemon twist from a well-known producer in Languedoc. Tastes of strawberry, pink grapefruit in a bottle with a label reminiscent of a vintage travel poster. A liter bottle makes it a party!
Kind of wild rosé, Pays d’Herault (Languedoc). Made from a blend of organic Syrah and Grenache grapes, this is a dry, raspberry and strawberry driven wine. Medium full-bodied and a little heavier than its Provencal neighbors to the east, this is. Hip packaging, one of a branded portfolio of global wines, only available online.
Hecht & Bannier, Languedoc. A true “hometown” pig made from 40% Syrah 35% Cinsault, 25% Grenache, but a good Provence deceiver with its pink hue, tropical varieties of guava and pink grapefruit grave. Dry and crisp with characteristic scrub and herbal taste.
A northern star
Pascal Jolivet Sancerre rosé, Loire. The Loire Valley is a serious producer of roses, most of them derived from the central appeals. But this participant from Sancerre shows the diversity of the area. Slightly darker shade, this is a cherry and strawberry driven wine made from 100% Pinot Noir with a little deeper herbal bite. For 13.5% you would like some food with this: grilled sausage and courgette was my choice.
Take it to go
La Grande Verre created a portfolio of single-serve bottles from woman-led estates. Two rosés contribute to ready to drink funny: Caylus Estate (Pays d’Herault), a blend of organic Syrah (60%) Grenache grapes that can be used; and Chateau Val d’Arenc in Bandol, a deeper style run by Mourvèdre (80%) with 10% off each Cinsault and Grenache that goes well with late summer barbecues or transition dishes. Provence IGP offers from License IV, named after the license that allows French eateries to serve wine, comes in a 250 ml can of cool retro packaging. A little earthy funkiness on the nose is unexpected for a light wine.