I came to really appreciate provence rosé wine in my mid twenties trough my Parisian wine mentor Christine. Much like new oenophiles, rosé wine was an afterthought for me. The traditional dictum that I held in my mind was that “pink” wine was not worthy of contemplation. Was I wrong?. Very much, I admit.
My 101 introduction to Provence rosé was no less than Château Simone paired with Petit farcis. The setting for the encounter was a cold January winter night in an old and decaying Côtes Des Neiges apartment. After all this years, I still think that it was a great masterclass
An iconoclastic wine, it hooked me up right away to the style. There was a serenity and calm to this wine that deeply hypnotized me and took me to the sunny lands of Provence. My curiosity for Provence and its wine scene in general was also sparked after reading a year in Provence by Peter Mayle.
I was shocked to find that Mr. Mayle passed away earlier this year. If I could, I would have eat the words of a year in Provence. It was such an appetizing book.
Since the early 2000’s, the selection of Provence roses have improved modestly in the SAQ. I don’t have all the exact figures yet but I can say that Provence roses is enjoying more than a momentum. Exports of Provence wines to Canada soared by 38% in 2016 (source: CIVP et Douanes françaises). By the way, Provence rose is good for all the seasons, not exclusively for the summer. I have enjoyed it with fine and elegant suppers and down to earth BBQ’s. It is just a question of creativity and thinking outside the box.
Because we cannot drink Chateau Simone all the time, here are two great roses to get you started for the exploration of Provence
Château la Martinette Rollier de la Martinette 2017. SAQ # 13448699, $21.70
Rollier de la Martinette is inspired after the Roller bird pictured on the label; these birds migrate from Africa to Southern Europe and Château de la Martinette where they try to eat off the delicious grapes in the vineyards.
A blend of 40% Cinsault, 25% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 15% Tibouren. This display a beautiful pale salmon colour; though it looks quite delicate, this vintage has an intense note-honey, lavender, peach, white lilacs and cantaloupe. The wine is crisp and round with a long floral and mineral finish. An enticing finale that brings to mind tangerines and white cranberries. The 2018 should arrive soon at the SAQ shelves.
This is a great wine for drinking with barbeques, pizzas or as an aperitivo with tapas. It could also go well with other strong flavoured dishes such as curries or strong cheeses.
Clos de l’Ours L’Accent 2017. SAQ # 13919438, $26.40
Michel Brotons makes one of the best roses from Provence from Clos de l’Ours. I recently it discovered at the recent Salon de Quilles Montreal.
The property was restored just a few years ago, in 2012. Situated just south of the Provençal village of Cotignac in the Var, in the northern tier of the appellation Côtes de Provence, this is a pretty property with 13 hectares (32 acres) of vines and a charming guest house.
The rose is a blend of Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah, Mourvèdre and Carignan. Floral with nuances of tangerine and hints of melon. On the palate, delicate with flavours of lavender, white peonies and a creamy finale. A truly gastronomical rose.