Showing posts with label Cotes de Provence. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cotes de Provence. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 3, 2024

Rosé From Provence, Because Spring, Summer

Château La Gordonne dates back to 1652, so they must be doing something right. Their Provence rosé wines are well respected in the wine community. Nearly all the wine made in Provence is pink, so expectations are high whenever a bottle is uncorked. 

The 2023 La Chapelle Tête de Cuvée Côtes de Provence Rosé was sent to me for review. With spring a reality for much of the Northern Hemisphere, it makes sense to try this wine on for size. The name, Tête de Cuvée, is French for "top blend," roughly translated. It denotes a blended wine which the maker deems to be of superior quality. Alcohol rests easy at 12.5% and the wine sells online usually for between $25 and $30.

This Grenache-based wine has a lovely, light pink hue, very Provencal. The nose carries aromas of sweet grapefruit, lemons and ripe strawberries. The palate brings an acidity that is fresh and lively. Red fruit and citrus notes come through nicely. When I think of rosé, this is the sort of wine that is in my thoughts. This is what I want in my glass all summer. 

Monday, July 17, 2023

Pink Wine From Provence

If spring and summer are the times for rosé wine, then let us uncork and pour something pink. If it is to be pink wine you seek, your search probably starts in the south of France, in Provence, where rosé is the name of the game.

BY.OTT Rosé Côtes de Provence 2022 is made by Domaines Ott, crafting brilliant rosé since 1912. This pink wine utilizes grapes sourced from Château de Selle and Clos Mireille, two of Ott's three estates in Provence. The wine is made under the supervision of fourth-generation winemaker Jean-Francois Ott, blended and bottled in the de Selle winery cellar. BY.OTT is a blend of Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah grapes. It is imported by Maisons Marques & Domaines USA of Oakland. Alcohol sits at 13% abv and the retail price is $27. That price tag may seem a bit steep for a rosé, but you pay a little extra for a bottle of the Provençal sunshine. 

This pale pink wine shows aromas of lemon, strawberry, cherry and minerals on the nose. The palate is full of bright red fruit, citrus, watermelon and a hint of cinnamon. There is a racy acidity present, which puts this wine squarely in the "food friendly" category. The sip finishes on a slightly tart note, which plays into the food friendliness a little more.

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Friday, July 7, 2023

A Pink Wine To Remember

While the spring and summer are seen as prime Drink Pink times, people seem to forget about rosés after Labor Day. It's a shame, because most rosés are great pairing with pork, foods on the Thanksgiving table, or foods on the table for Black Friday. Ham and turkey sandwiches, f'rinstance. 

Here is another rosé wine you should try to track down while the summer is here. And don't forget about it when the summer fades. La Chapelle Gordonne makes this 2022 Côtes de Provence pinkie from organic grapes grown in what they call their most beautiful vineyards. This rosé is called, on the label, a tête de cuvée. That is a term usually used in reference to Champagnes, which means top blend. 

The blend combines Grenache, Syrah and Cinsault grapes, a fairly common cuvée in Provence. Alcohol hits only 12.5% abv and the wine sells for around $27. 

This wine has a pretty salmon pink color. Its nose is subdued to the point of being nearly absent. The flavor is all there, though. Strawberry, cherry and lemon notes are delicious, while the acidity is as fresh as you would expect from the south of France. Pair with seafood, pair with salad, pair with a ham sandwich. Or a quiche. You will have no worries. 

Monday, March 7, 2022

Four Great Pink Wines For Spring - Or Anytime

Wine importers are important.  Good ones can sniff out the good stuff and bring it to us from all over the world.  Mack and Schühle are Miami-based importers who find great wine and pass it along at a price that is more than fair.  Founded in 1939, the company expanded to the Miami office a number of years ago.  They produce wine in Italy and Spain and distribute other wines globally.

Here are a few pink wines found by Mack and Schühle which would fit nicely on anyone's porch or patio.

Mosketto Frizzante Rosato NV

This fun, pink wine comes from the Vino d'Italia appellation, from grapes grown in Piedmont.  It's a blend of 80% Moscato and 20% Brachetto grapes which the distributor says is produced in a "modified Martinotti method."  Fermentation is stopped to keep the alcohol low and the fruit fresh.  Alcohol content is only 5.5% abv - a real summer sipper - and the wine retails for $12.

This wine is very sweet, very low in alcohol and as drinkable as it gets.  There is no brain-stumping complexity here, just sweet, simple sipping pleasure.  The Moscato/Brachetto blend is a wine of Italy, one that shows sweet floral aromas and sweet peaches on the palate.  Acidity is fairly low, but the wine pours frizzante and will be suitable for spicy or salty dishes.

Art of Earth Organic Rosé
2019 comes from Michigan negociant Woodberry Wine.  They produce wines from Germany, Spain, Argentina, Italy and this one, from France.

The appellation is Vin de France - I don't have any more specific sourcing for the vines - and the organic grapes are 70% Grenache and 30% Syrah.  The wine has alcohol at 13% abv and a sticker price of $14.

This beautiful, pale salmon-colored wine has a nose which is just as gorgeous - melon, cherry and strawberry aromas dominate, with a little herbal angle in the mix.  Herbs become more focused on the palate, which carries a nice tartness along with the racy acidity.  There is a grapefruit flavor draping the red fruit and adding to the freshness.  It's a really great, and complex, rosé. 

The 2020 Fête de Fleurs Rosé was made in the heart of the AOC Côtes de Provence Region by a cooperative of a hundred local winegrowers, Maîtres Vignerons de Vidauban.  It was formed 110 years ago in the spirit of rosé, the raison d'etre of Provence.  The terroir features the stony galet soil for which the area is known and the vintage was blessed with dry mistral winds.

The importer says the wine is released each year in time for the French celebration of Springtime, the Fete des Fleurs or Festival of Flowers.  The grapes involved are 40% Grenache, 35% Cinsault, 10% Carignane, 10% Syrah, 3% Mourvèdre and 2% Rolle.  It was aged on the lees, or sur lie, carries alcohol at 13% abv - possibly as low as 11.5% - and it sells for $19.

The Acquesi Brachetto DOC Piemonte is a spumante, or sparkling wine, made from 100% Brachetto grapes grown in the Monferrato area of Piedmont.  The wine carries a very low alcohol content of 6.5% abv and a retail suggestion of $18, although it is usually lower.

This wine colors up in the beautiful garnet red for which Brachetto is famous, and it has a layer of fine, light violet bubbles atop it, which are quite long lasting.  The nose is rich with cherries, strawberries, red currant, flowers and an earthy element - an absolutely wonderful collection of aromas.  The palate is sweet with a cherry pie flavor and baking spices, all rolled into a candy treat.  The acidity is very nice.  While the winery calls this a dessert wine - it is, really - it also pairs nicely with dessert favorites like anisette cookies, chocolates or apricot tarts.

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Pink In Provence: Château des Bormettes

Most of the wine made in France's Provence region is pink.  It's what they do - they make wonderfully dry and crisp rosé wines.  I was recently supplied with several examples of Provencal pinkies, and this is one of them.

Château des Bormettes has been a family business since 1920, back when the area was known more for its mines than its wines.  The mining of lead ore and zinc ended in 1929, but the estate dates back five centuries.  The vineyard is a mere half mile from the Mediterranean Sea, and it yields Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault, Rolle (Vermentino), Mourvèdre and Carignan grape varieties, all sustainably grown.

L’Argentière 2019 is a Côtes de Provence wine made from Grenache, Cinsault and Rolle (Vermentino) grapes.  It is aged on its lees in concrete tanks to give the wine a full, creamy mouthfeel.  Alcohol hits 14.5% abv and the retail price settles in just under $20.

This wine's nose gives off minerals notes, aromas of red fruit and citrus.  There is a floral hint, too.  Red berries on the palate, with a nice acidity and creamy mouthfeel at the same time.  This is a very fine rosé which will pair wonderfully with seafood or snacks.

Monday, December 14, 2020

Pink In Provence: Love By Leoube

Most of the wine made in France's Provence region is pink.  It's what they do - they make wonderfully dry and crisp rosé wines.  I was recently supplied with several examples of Provencal pinkies, and this is one of them.

Love by Léoube 2017 is a Côtes de Provence wine blended by Romain Ott for Love Wine, a wine merchant in Jersey in the Channel Islands.  The store was founded by Chris Rogers - first as an e-commerce site, later as a brick-and-mortar outlet.  Château Léoube is located in the commune of Bormes-les-Mimosas.  

The rosé wine is made from Grenache and Cinsault grapes, pressed directly and fermented in stainless steel tanks.  Alcohol hits a restrained 13% abv, and the retail price is about $15.

This wine looks beautiful in the glass - medium pink, leaning towards orange.  The nose is fruity and laced with minerals.  Big strawberry and cherry notes are abetted by lemon and orange peel.  The palate is flinty and dry with a racy acidity and a long finish laced with citrus.  Pair it with fish or chicken, or with turkey or ham. 

Monday, April 27, 2020

Pink Wine From Under The Saint-Tropez Sun

Château Minuty promises their rosé wine contains all the good that's found "under the Saint Tropez sun."  The estate has been in the Matton-Farnet family for 80 years, overlooking the Saint-Tropez peninsula.

The winery says the grapes for 2019 Minuty Prestige Côtes de Provence - Grenache, Cinsault, Tibouren and Syrah - were grown in "a rigorous selection of the best Côtes de Provence vineyards."  Three of those grape varieties are familiar friends, but Tibouren - also known as Rossese di Dolceacqua in Italy's Liguria region - may not be on everyone's radar.  Tibouren has a highly aromatic quality which centers on earthiness.  It is believed to have come from Greece or the Middle East, introduced to France through Marseille or Saint-Tropez.  Alcohol is a restrained 12.5% abv and I see it selling at a lot of places for $18.

This barely-peach-pink wine is loaded with nose - cherries and berries for days with a hint of earth from the south of France.  The palate is also fruity, and juicy to boot.  Easy acidity will pair well with the usual salad and seafood suspects, but it's not exactly a mouthful of pins and needles.  Quite a nice Provençal pinkie, just what we expect.  It will play very nicely under the spring and summer sun wherever you are. 

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Monday, August 19, 2019

Provence Is For Rosé

Provence's Chateau Roubine is one of only fourteen wineries in the Cotes de Provence region which has earned the esteemed "Cru Classe" designation.  Vigneron Valerie Rousselle bought the estate in 1994 and now grows more than a dozen different French grape varieties in the chalky, clay-limestone soil.

Their 2018 La Rose features 50% Grenache grapes, 35% Cinsault, 10% Syrah and 5% Tibouren.  The latter grape is reportedly often used in rosés of the Provence region, but I've never run across it.  The grapes were macerated for a scant three hours to give the wine its soft pink hue.  Alcohol reports in at 13% abv and the wine retails for $24.  A sample was provided to me by distributor Quintessential Wines.

This Provençal rosé has herbal and floral notes on the nose, with fennel-laced strawberries and cherries.  The palate is gorgeous, with the red fruit abetted by a savory salinity.  The acidity is somewhat tame, but the flavor and finish are a real treat.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Time To Rock Some Pink Wine, Bro!

"It all started with a whisper… but now it’s time to rock!" That is the statement printed on the label of this wine, this Côtes de Provence wine. I suppose with the hipsters all draining every bottle of Provence rosé they can get their hands on, the battle for their limited attention has to start somewhere. Why not in italicized lettering on the label?

Pink is all the rage, now that the feminine stigma has been ripped from rosé by the brosé movement. I can hardly believe I just tapped out those words. Every picture I see on Eater of a ridiculously large group of men all lifting their glasses of Provence like so many Miller Lites makes me wonder. Where were you fellas last year?

Some of us guys have been drinking pink wine all along, pinkies tucked into our hands in the masculine fashion - or not. What does it matter? Pink pants may be feminine - except on a Palm Springs golf course - but pink wine is for everyone, and it always has been. "Let's rock some pink, bro!"

This Chateau D'Esclans Rock Angel Provence Rosé is light in color, but fairly hefty - for Provence - at 14% abv. The grapes are primarily Grenache, with some Rolle - you may know it as Vermentino - blended into the mix. Part of the wine is vinified in 600-liter barrels, the other portion in stainless steel tanks.

Côtes de Provence rosé is a real treat. This one acts exactly the way a pink wine should, with strawberries, citrus and a slightly herbal touch on the nose. The palate brings the strawberries in first, and a nice little cucumber element pokes through. An herbal grassy texture is no surprise in this bone-dry wine with an easy acidity that refreshes but does not sting. The lengthy finish has the herbs hanging around quite a while.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Drink Pink: A (Very) Late Summer Rosé

Hopefully, by this point, we SoCal residents have survived another annual heatwave known as October - or Rocktober, if you are still getting your music from the radio.  As we ease into the season we laughingly refer to as “autumn,” I was reminded via social media that it’s time to start drinking pumpkin spice lattes and pretending that 65 degrees calls for a sweater.

One warm October evening found us stopping in at Le Petit Bistro on La Brea.  Minnesota was facing a weekend of snow, but we still had - as Randy Newman sings - “the Santa Ana winds blowin’ hot from the north.”  The heat of the day had passed, and the balmy dusk put me in mind of a rosé.  I had a decent one.

It was a réserve Saint-Esprit, a lovely pink little Côtes de Provence wine, the kind that offers nothing too extraordinary except its nose of summer strawberries, watermelons and slight herbs.  The palate is light and breezy and full of cherry and strawberry flavors.  A nice bright acidity carried the food well.  The pasta with shrimp, snow peas and capers in a light cognac sauce paired nicely.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Return To Terroir At Port4lio, Los Angeles 2012

 Return To Terroir is a French wine importer focused on, “unique and authentic, hand-crafted wines that are the precise expression of their terroir.”  If you are not familiar with the term, terroir is a French word that conceptualizes the sense of place one finds in wine.  It refers to a vineyard’s location, soil, and climate, and how those factors are incorporated into the taste of the wine.

I got to visit some of France's wine regions at the Return To Terroir table at the recent Port4lio tasting event in Culver City, California.

Bordeaux’s gravel-based soil in the left bank region and the limestone clay of the right bank offer two separate terroirs to explore.

Château Cadillac (AOC Bordeaux Supérieur, older vines) 2009 Bordeaux Supérieur - 70% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon;  beautiful smoky nose with cherry and acidity on the palate;  nice tannic structure

Château Fitère (AOC Madiran)  2009 Madiran - 70% Tannat, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon;  stainless steel fermentation; very tannic with plum and smoky spice; great acidity and long finish

Château Flotis (AOC Fronton) 2008 Fronton - organically-farmed Negrette, which is indigenous to Fronton, plus 10% Syrah; nose is funky, floral, meaty all at once; palate loaded with cherries

The Southwest region of France offers a multitude of different terroirs and correspondingly diverse wines, often made from grapes not found elsewhere in the country..

Domaine de Brin  (AOC Gaillac) 2009 Gaillac “Petit Brin” - 40% Duras, 25% Braucol, 20% Syrah, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon; savory, smoky, peppery cherry and plums

The chalky limestone soil in the Loire Valley is particularly well-suited to the white wines for which the region is best known.

Domaine Gaudron (AOC Vouvray) 2009 Vouvray Sec - 100% Chenin Blanc  flinty minerals, peach, apricot;  2009 Vouvray Demi Sec - restrained sweetness, minerals and peaches

Burgundy offers soils of clay and limestone on top of granite, lava and schist - the kind of stuff great Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are made from.

Domaine de la Douaix (AOC Hautes Cotes de Nuits)  2008 Bourgogne Blanc En Mairey - 60% Pinot Blanc 40% Chardonnay;   very steely despite 12 months in oak; green apples and very nice acidity

Domaine Denis Carré (AOC Hautes Cotes de Beaune) 2010 Hautes Cotes de Beaune Blanc - 100% Chardonnay ; smoky fruit shines with nice acidity and a lengthy finish;  Their 2008 Pommard  benefits from a streak of iron oxide under the limestone clay which gives this Pinot Noir a strong minerality and great acidity

Côtes de Provence has a varied terroir, with limestone soil in the northwest to crystalline rock in the southeast part of the region.

Château Saint-Pierre  (AOC Côtes de Provence) 2010 Côtes de Provence Rosé - 40% Grenache, 60% Cinsault; strawberry, cherry,  bit of tartness; dry , nice acidity

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Wine at Salades de Provence

It was a short week for Denise and me, but a tough one nonetheless.  Our Friday night came on Thursday, and we opted to go for what we have come to know as a reliable, feel-good destination.  Los Angeles French bistro Salades de Provence is our go-to spot when we just want it to be good without the drama.

We discovered on this evening that Denise has quite a palate for wine.  She ordered the rosé she likes – the Côtes de Provence Cuvée du Golfe de St. Tropez Rosé – and immediately she noticed it was paler in color than the wine she usually orders there.  She tasted it and noticed it was even smoother and had a better acidity than her fave.

We called the waiter over and inquired as to whether it was, in fact, the same wine or not.  As it turns out, it was – and it was not.

The wine was still the Cuvee du Golfe, but it was a different vintage.  The waiter told us he could not get the more recent vintage from his distributor and had instead ordered the 2007.  Denise liked it better than the other, so all worked out well.  Particularly well in the pairing of the rosé with her mushroom soup – still a meal in itself – and the salad with lamb.

My wine was the Les Tours Chardonnay 2007.  It's an estate-bottled Vin de Pays d'Oc that goes for $8 per glass at the restaurant.  The wine is served a bit too cold, which obscures the nose and makes it difficult for me to discern too much there.  It has a creamy mouthfeel with just enough acidity.  Pears and a hint of vanilla make up the simple, but delicious, palate.  I paired this with a chicken Caesar salad, which worked out nicely.

Thursday, June 24, 2010


Cuveé du Golfe de St. Tropez rosé

Another visit to Salades de Provence , an amazing French bistro on La Cienega at Holloway in Los Angeles, brought another satifying dinner that left Denise and me marvelling at how food so simple can be so very, very good.

Quiche addict that I am, I had the zucchini, tomato and feta pie, while Denise had a mushroom soup so big and hearty it made the delicate tomato and mozzarella crepe seem like overkill.

The big news for me concerned the wine, of course. The restaurant has replaced the rosé 
formerly on their menu  with another pinkie from Provence.

Cuvée du Golfe de St. Tropez is a Côtes de Provence offering which blends Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah into a rich, salmon-colored treat. The aromatics - constricted by the cold temperature at which it was served - were buried too deeply for me to figure out. The wonderful muted tastes of raspberry and strawberry, however, could not be hidden away. It's a dry wine, with a very bright acidity, made for food.

In fact, all the French wines on the list at Salades de Provence seem made for the food served there. Maybe it's the other way around. Whichever way it works, it works. Again and again I find the wine there goes hand in hand with the food.