Provence Rosé

Provence Rosé Image

The why, the how, the who AND what we are drinking...

When the sun is in full swing and the heat in the ground remains longer than the flavour of lunch, we are in what is classed as ‘summer'.  It is at times like this we reach for that eponymous Rosé from Provence. We know its flavour, its style, its colour. It is light-ish in alcohol and has a knack of fulfilling that special moment, known as a great friend of mine would say ‘aah that Rosé moment!'

 

Why is it like that? How is it made? Who makes it?

Wines from Provence have been in production since around 600 BC. The area of vines in Provence is huge stretching from the Rhône River in the west to the Côte d'Azur in the east and Orange. The production of wines in Provence up to the mid-1970s was not regarded as of a great quality.

Over the years, with the introduction with more modern production methods the quality of the Rosé has changed tremendously, whilst staying true to that traditional Provence style. Various types, all unique in their own way, taking on different blends and the approaches of the individual wine maker.

The majority of all Provence Rosé are made with 95% Rhone style grape varieties and are on the whole red (with a few exceptions when local indigenous grape varieties are added). Mouvèdre is one of the key grapes giving big flavours and tannins to the wines. Mouvèdre grows well with oceanic influences. Grenache is another of the key grapes thriving in harsh stony soils, windy conditions and need cool climate evenings to add big flavours.  Cinsault is another well used wine, giving sweet berries that bring lightness and polish to the blend. Other grapes used are Tibouran, Syrah, Carignan, sometimes Roll, a white wine (AKA Vermentino).

The climatic conditions of the region are important in the production of wines. Soils are generally harsh limestone or crystalline, susceptible to erosion but the shallow well drained soils are ideal for vine growing. There are a few winds that travel through Provence. In a vineyard in Nimes, L'Ermitage, Jerôme tells me they have 4 winds from different directions. The most famous wind being the Mistral, coming from the Rhone Alps and icy cold in winter but it brings clean fresh dry air that cleans the vines and helps alleviate humidity.

 

A wine maker told me about making Rosé...

He said it's like making a cup of tea - you use the grape skins like a tea bag and the longer you leave them in the deeper and more intense the outcome.

The grapes are picked in the cool of the evenings to avoid the skins splitting. They are then transferred to cooler areas within the vineyard, then once destemmed and pipped, they are sent via chilled pipes to a cool resting tank and everything from there on in is done very slowly in ‘chill time'.

In ProveAngelvin Provence Rosénce there are places we go where to drink Rosé with ice in a big glass known as a ‘piscine de Rosé' (swimming pool of Rosé), but wherever you are, a glass of Rosé always hits the spot. So don the sunnies, sit back and think of Provence.

So what are we drinking?

Some of you may already know this but my Rosé of the year is the Angelvin from St Tropez. Myself and Diane found this wine last year and upon meeting Logan (the winemaker) earlier this year to taste the 2015 vintage, which was superb – everything we expected and more - we have now started importing it. The blend is 70% Grenache, 20% Mourvèdre and 10% Cinsault and it has a fantastic balance between ripe fruit, a mineral finish and a fresh bite of acidity. Perfect summertime drinking!

Curve ball… Circumstance Cape Coral Mourvèdre Rosé, Waterkloof

Now not technically from the Provence, well not even from France or the Old World for that matter! However, the Circumstance Cape Coral Mouvèdre Rosé from Waterkloof in South Africa offers a lot of the desired characteristics that you would find in a typical Provence and is favoured by Wine Critic Jancis Robinson.

Recently in her weekly column for The Financial Times, Jancis Robinson extols the virtues of dry, serious rosés when paired with food:

 

“I am increasingly enthusiastic about those rosé wines that are bone-dry and not too light to stand-up to a wide variety of foods”

 

We were pleased to read that the Circumstance Cape Coral was the article's sole representative from the Southern Hemisphere, featuring alongside the very best from Provence:

 

“something like Waterkloof's Mourvèdre-based Circumstance Rosé from South Africa would, I'm sure, have gone very nicely with Ancelotti's lobster tagliolini”

 

Here's the full article: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/16eb2292-2dca-11e6-a18d-a96ab29e3c95.html

 

So for all of you about tomorrow and Saturday, this weekend we are having a little Rosé taste off in the shop... Angelvin Vs Cape Coral.

Who will be the winner... you decide!

Last Updated: 14/07/2016
Author: Sarah Hattersley
Sarah Hattersley

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