Tuesday, July 8, 2014
Rosé Fun From The Rhône
In the southern Rhône Valley, there is a wine region, an Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC), devoted to only Rosé. Now that is a true devotion to Rosé. The Tavel AOC, established in 1936, tends to produce Rosé wine that is dry and possesses more body and structure than other similar wines, such as those of Provence. They are definitely food wines, and some will age nicely. If you love Rosé, then you need to explore the wines of this special region and let me recommend two as a place to start. And both are blends of 8 grapes!
2010 vintage and 2011 vintage of the Prieuré de Montézargues Tavel Rosé. The winery is owned by the Richard family, which also owns the excellent Chateau La Nerthe in the Châteauneuf-du-Pape region. Recently, I tasted the 2013 Prieuré de Montézargues Tavel Rosé (about $20), which is a blend of 55% Grenache (white & red), 30% Cinsault, 13% Clairette, and 2% Others (Syrah, Mourvedre, Carignan, & Bourboulenc). It was produced through pressing and underwent stainless steel fermentation and then a short term of aging on the lees.
It is a darker pink than most Provence Rosé wines and possesses a delightful nose of strawberries and floral elements. Dry and crisp, it possesses delicious a complex blend of tastes including strawberry, watermelon, hints of grapefruit and some underlying minerality. A lengthy and pleasing finish, it beckons to you to have another sip. An impressive Rosé, this would be great with roast chicken to salmon, burgers to pizza. It will bring joy to your summer but will bring pleasure during the cold winter too. I've previously given this wine my strongest recommendation and I sticking to it.
Les Vignerons de Tavel, a cooperative of about 85 members. This wine is a blend of Black Grenache, Mourvèdre, Carignan, Syrah, Clairette, Cinsault, Picpoul and Bourboulenc. The grapes comes from vineyards with lots of limestone, called Lauzes. This wine is produced in a more unique way, closer to a red wine in some respects, such as with long macerations. It is also a blend of free run juice and pressed juice, creating a very different blend.
It is even a darker pink color than the Prieuré, and on the nose it explodes with the smell of ripe red fruit with herbal accents. That red fruit is bold on the palate, lush strawberry and cherry, and is accompanied with minerality and herbal notes. It is dry and full bodied, crisp and clean, and has a lengthy, satisfying finish. This delicious Rosé is good on its own or paired with food. Personally, I like the Prieuré better but that is my own preference. This wine will please many people.