I have never been to Provence. It is one of those places that I put on my bucket list of wish travels. Maybe one day, if i am fortunate enough, I will able to do a tour of the vineyards and drink on place their magnificent wines.
My connection with rose from Provence goes back with literature not by wine. You see, a few years ago, I started reading Peter Mayle, and right away felt in love with the Provencal lifestyle. Personally, it is a combination of both. Everytime, i take a sip of rose
The symbolism of rose from Provence is powerful among many wine drinkers. For many, it means a chic vacation wine. For foodies, an elegant rose for the table. For artists, it represents the majestic colours of Provence. I take elements from the three above. No wonder Van Gogh moved to Arles and wanted to establish a colony of artists over there.
Situated in southeastern France, with its natural frontiers being the Rhône River to the west, Italy to the east, and the Mediterranean Sea to the south, Provence has an heterogeneous, yet primarily limestone terroir, with a climate that is sunny, hot, and dry, typical of the Mediterranean. The Mistral over there is intense across the region which is positively viewed during the summer months. It also protects the vineyards from diseases caused from humidity.
Provence Rosé wines are made from red grapes such as cinsault, grenache, syrah, cabernet-sauvignon, carignan, tibouren, and mourvédre. These grapes have dark red skins and white flesh that can be presses, which releases a light juice that is coloured by the ruby skins. The must can remain with the skins anywhere from 2-20 hours before the fermentation process begins. Most rosé wines are made in stainless steel vats, rather than barrels. Here we are looking for freshness primarily.
Finally, the process takes at least two of the must batches and they are blended together to make the wine. Vinification is done from single grape varieties. For instance, a varying amount of syrah can be combined with tibouren to make the wine. Overall, making rose is more complicated than vinifying a white or a red. One mistake in the process and the wine is completely ruined.
Provence Rose and food
Provencal roses are the best partners for lighter dishes during the summer season. Because of their acidity and floral nature, they complement well grilled fish dishes with herbs infusions. I like them well with ricotta based pizzas with arugula for instance and steamed seafood preparations.
Their versatility is an asset in the table. Unlike many roses, their subtle flavor profile and elegance will bring and make shine the flavours of a dish. For instance, a rose from Provence will make shine the sweet flavours in a scallop and strawberry tartare. The crispness of the wine would provide an elegant lightness coming from the mild decadence of the scallop.
A modest selection of Roses available in the Quebec market
Le Pive Gris 2016. SAQ # 11372766. $15.05
Fresh with bright citrus red fruit aromas. Herbal nuances as well bringing to mind fresh basil, thyme, lavender and thyme. On the mouth, medium body, crisp with a nice acidity. Flavors bringing to mind candied fruit such as watermelon and cantaloupe with a hint of green apple nuances. Ripe and sexy, it smells of holidays. Quite delightful. Worth very much the $$ paid
C’est la Vie Petit Bonheur 2016. SAQ # 13188807. $14.55
It smells the good weather on holidays. Citrus aromas bringing to mind pink grapefruit, oranges and red cherry. On the mouth, medium body with easy going floral and spice nuances. Persistent finale. Lots of happiness for $14.55.
Château Vignelaure Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence Rosé 2016. SAQ # 12374149. $24.50
Nuances of a heavenly garden. Lavender, roses, violets. On the mouth, crisp, very elegant with a fine structure. Garrique scented ( rosemary and wild fennel). Bright red fruits. Pair ir with a seared salmon fillet and blood orange salad.
Château Gassier Le Pas du Moine Syrah-Grenache-Cinsault Côtes de Provence 2016. SAQ # 13287995. $23.80
Alluring and complex bouquet. Enticing aromas of padron peppers, tomato leaf, anis, cantaloupe and tangerines Crisp with a mouth-watering acidity. Delicate tones of grapefruit, sicilian oranges. Long and harmonious. Drink the bottle and fall in love with Provence. Pair it with grilled shrimps and an olive fougasse.
Château Revelette 2016. Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence SAQ # 13212002. $19.50
Delicious nose. Nuances of lavender, garrique, verbena. zesty tangerine, watermelon and pink grapefruit. It actually smell the sea and vacation. On the mouth, crisp, refreshing with a salty mineral taste more complex floral nuances ( white flowers, roses, margarites, etc). Delicate red berries flavours, extremely aromatic with a beautiful harmony and elegance. Will be perfect with grilled halibut and baby tomato salad.
La Source Gabriel 2015 Cotes de Province. ( Private Import, Charton-Hobbs, $20.90)
This Rose offers aromas of flowers and fresh citrus fruit on the nose. On the palate, it is bright with fresh flavors of exotic fruit and lime and displaying a wonderful balance. Elegant and complex, enjoy it as an aperitif or pair with seafood, light salads or other summer fare.