Let's Buy Some Rosé Wine
Imagine this, you go to the wine store to buy a casual rosé bottle, and you find yourself staring at endless shades of pink. So, which one should you pick?
Choosing a wine from the massive display of rosé selections can be quite overwhelming. But if you have to pick one, then you can’t go wrong with Provence rosé wines. In fact, for many wine lovers, the word rosé is a synonym for Provence—and vice versa.
Provence Is a Way of Life
Provence rosé wines celebrate the art of living, art de vivre. Just think of the breathtaking beaches and scenic lush hills, all the way to food, culture and history. Rosé wines have embodied the essence of the Provence life, from simple to glamorous, rustic to elegant, and hedonistic to tranquil.
A Brief History of Provence Rosé
The picturesque region of Provence stretches along the Mediterranean in the South of France, from the south of the Rhône Valley to the Alps. Historic records have shown that wine has been made in Provence since 600 BC, when grape vines were brought to the land by the Phocaeans (Ancient Greek Sailors).
When the Romans arrived in the region in 200 BC, they cultivated vineyards, and established what became known as La Provincia Romana.
Following the rise and fall of the Romans, winemaking production flourished and developed in monasteries between the fifth and twelfth centuries. Monks made wine for holy masses and their own use, but they also sold it for profit, thus, starting wine trade in France (and Europe).
Provence wines went through many changes and faced several challenges including Phylloxera* in the nineteenth century. (*see notes below for details on Phylloxera)
In 1935 the French appellation system was born (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée) to control quality, winemaking practices, and permitted grapes. Provence received nine AOCs that were recognized for their quality. (see the list below)
The most significant appellation in Provence is Côte de Provence encompassing 20,000 ha/50,000 acres of Vineyards.
Although Provence produces white and red wines, the limelight is always focused on rosé with 87% of total wine production, marking it as the largest rosé producing region in France.
Rosé Winemaking in Provence
These wines are globally recognized for their lovely shade of pink, citrus and fruity aromas, refreshing and light-bodied dry style. Provence Rosé wines are delightful, smooth, and food friendly— not to mention their unique bottles, elegantly made like oversized bottles of perfume. All these characteristics are a true reflection of the Provencal beauty and lively culture.
What Goes Into a Rosé Blend?
With 13 red grape varieties allowed, including Cinsault, Grenache Noir, Mourvèdre, Syrah, and Tibourent, Provence rosé wines are always produced as a blend using red grapes. They are not made by blending red and white wines together. This kind of blend is prohibited in Europe (only used to make rosé Champagne).
Most winemakers in Provence apply cold system technologies, using temperature-controlled methods for crushing, and avoiding any contact with oxygen, so the wines remain fresh and maintain their aromas.
The Secret to Perfect Rosé Color
The beautiful pink shade of rosé wine comes from controlling the period of maceration. Maceration is a winemaking practice that allows the crushed grapes to release color and flavor while left to soak in the free-run juice. The shorter the maceration period, the lighter the color.
It’s quite common for Rosé wines in Provence to undergo a very short maceration, or no maceration at all, and always in cold temperature.
Once the desired color is obtained, the grapes are gently pressed, then the liquid is drained off the skin and fermented at cool temperature to full dryness as if it were a white wine. Aging the wine in stainless steel tanks or barrels is a choice made by the winemaker.
Classic Provence Rosé and Food Pairings
The cuisine of Provence is delightfully rich, delicious and flavorful, and has been a pillar in the Mediterranean diet. The land is abundant with fruits, vegetables, legumes, olive oil, citrus, nuts, fish, and aromatic herbs. Healthy, colorful and aromatic dishes are the signature of the Provencal kitchen. So what better way to enjoy Provence rosé wine than with the classic regional food! It is, after all, a way of life!
Provence rosé is dry and fruity, so it goes well with olive oil based food, garlic, olives, seafood, salads, and herbed vegetables.
Here are some food pairing ideas to entice your appetite:
Tapenade, grilled fish, Aïoli, seafood salad, mussels, ratatouille, Niçoise Salad, fried zucchini blossoms.
p.s. keep it at a distance from foods with butter and cream.
Provence Rosé Wines to Try
Chateau Roubine Cru Classé “Lion & Dragon” Rosé