Rosé wines are one of the first categories to be released in Provence, and you’ll start seeing the most recent vintage hit the shelves as early as February and right on through the spring and summer season. It’s no secret that rosé has a reputation for being a drink to enjoy young, fresh, chilled, and often during summer months. The bright acidity, appealing freshness, and charming citrus and red fruit characteristics of rosé do make it a worthy companion for fresh seafood, salty snacks, and warm-weather produce. Many of the most enjoyed rosés from Provence are crafted—from vineyard to bottle—with this atmosphere in mind.
But there are rosés that have the capacity to age. These are rosés to keep, or rosé de garde in French. Bandol, such as the iconic Bandol Tempier Rosé, which has a generous if not dominate portion of Mourvèdre, is one of the most famous and coveted examples. Another is Tavel. One of my personal delights comes from Château d’Aqueria—the current release is a cuvée of seven red and white skinned grapes—which should age nicely over the course of three-five years.
But there are other producers within various appellations, that have gained a reputation for crafting rosé that has legs for the cellar. When making a rosé de garde, the winemaker will employ specific choices around oak use, blending, skin maceration, and lees contact in order to produce a wine that will gain a level of complexity after a few years in the bottle.
Development will also present heartier gastronomic possibilities, as the aromatics and palate character mature. This aspect has gained the interest of fine dining establishments and sommeliers. “[The idea of having] an eight-year-old rosé à la carte from a three-star restaurant was unthinkable twenty years ago; this gastronomic coupling [of aged rosé and food] marks the formidable rise in the range of rosé wines, while shaking up the image of simple ‘barbecue wine’ conveyed by cheap bottles,” explains Franck Perroud, triple Michelin-star sommelier at Vague d’Or in Saint-Tropez.
A few examples that I’ve been lucky enough to experience or have heard well of by recommendation include the following:
- Château La Calisse in AOP (Appellation d’Origine Protégée) Côteaux Varois en Provence
- Domaines Ott* Château Romassan in AOP Bandol
- Domaine de Camaïssette in AOP Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence
- Château Gassier in Cotes de Provence Sainte-Victoire
- Figuière in AOP Côtes de Provence-La Londe
- Clos Cibonne in AOP Côtes de Provence (the domaine cultivates Tiboren, a scarce, antique Mediterranean grape)
- Château Vignelaure in AOP Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence
If you missed it, do check out the preview post for the January 2022 Winophiles event featuring a new project launching soon from Elizabeth Gabay MW and Susan Manfull PhD. You can find that story here and sign up to be in the know as soon as more details become available here.
THE FRENCH WINOPHILES
The French Winophiles focus on Provence wines in January 2022. Aside from this special reveal from Gabay and Manfull, our authors have prepared an incredible range of articles all about Provençal wines.
We will gather on Twitter at 10:00 am central time (Chicago) on 15 January 2022. Anyone is welcome to join us—and we hope that Gabay and Manfull will pop in to say hello—simply by finding the hashtag #winophiles on Twitter. Please jump in and tell us what excites you about wines from Provence. Will you visit this year? What releases are you looking forward to? What are you making in your kitchen to pair with wines from Provence?
Please visit each of these incredible publications to enjoy the stories, photos, recipes, and enthusiasm for wines from Provence.
- A Red Wine from Provence? Yes, meet Bandol; a New Old Wine paired with a Slow Cooked Goulash from A Day in the Life on the Farm
- The Art of Miraval in Provence and a Lovely Drunken Seafood Stew from Our Good Life
- Bandol – A Provençal Red for the Winter Table from Food Wine Click!
- Embrace Rosé de Garde, Age-Worthy Provençal Wine here on L’Occasion
- Weekend Brunch Starts with Rosé from Coteaux d’Aix en Provence from Grape Experiences (Note, check out Cindy’s upcoming Southern Rhône cruise with AmaWaterways, which culminates in Provence.)
- A Provençal Wine for Winter: Domaine La Suffrene Rouge on Avvinare
- Rosé all year with Côtes de Provence on Wining with Mel
- Pasta au Gratin + Ste. Venture Aix en Provence Rosé on Culinary Adventures with Camilla
- A Different Perspective from Provence: Chateau Vignelaure Coteaux D’Aix #Winophiles from Wine Predator…Gwendolyn Alley
- Rosé With Elizabeth Gabay and Château de Pibarnon (#Winophiles) from Lynn at Savor the Harvest
Please note that some of these wines are media samples, but no compensation was exchanged and all opinions are my own.