SPRING IS HERE AND SUMMER IS AROUND THE CORNER – IT’S ROSÉ TIME!
Ah spring! What a nice time of the year. The flowers are blooming, everything is green, the birds are singing, and the weather is mild. Spring vegetables are abundant and thoughts revolve around lighter foods and being outdoors with summer just around the corner. What a perfect scenario for rosé. And, just as appropriate is the arrival of the new vintage to supplement the rosés from the last few vintages that remain in our cellars. This year it is 2012. Rosés have just started to come into the market in the last couple of months. More imported rosés will arrive into and through the summer. Already I have had many gorgeous wines. And in every vintage since I first starting drinking rosés many years ago, there have been a large number of really wonderful wines. This should come as no surprise since rosés mostly originate from Mediterranean climates where the growing conditions are almost always ideal. This makes rosés one of the most consistent wines year to year. And, it is a real pleasure to not have to deal with the ad nauseam vintage hype proclaiming “vintages of the century” every few years. Combine this with affordability and drinkability and you have a real winner. (To read my article as to why rosé is so attractive click here ).
If you love rosé, you know what I mean. If you haven’t tried rosé, you really should. It’s easy. Buy them and drink them! Serve them cold. Open 2 or three and then compare them. The re-cork them and put them in the refrigerator to drink over several days. Try them with different kinds of food. They are a great match for nearly all types of food and are particularly refreshing when the weather is warm. Following are notes on some 2012 French rosés to wet your palate. It includes rosés that are consistently delicious and many are favorites year after year. In the near future there will be more notes on 2012 rosés from France and other areas. But, don’t wait and be left behind. Start now and get in the game! It’s time for rosé!
Domaine De Fonsainte
The first vineyards at Domaine de Fonsainte were planted by the Romans over 2000 years ago. And the same family has been making wine here since the 17th century! That says something for staying power!!
2012 Domaine De Fonsainte Rosé Gris de Gris Corbières .
This Gris de Gris is a saignee rosé made from 70% Grenache Gris and Grenache Noir, 10% Mouvèdre, 10% Carignan, and 10% Cinsault. The 2011 was stunning and this 2012 is a close match. Pale salmon pink in color with a faint golden hue and a golden edge the wine has a lovely complex floral perfume with hints of melon, quince, apricot, and a very faint hint of spice. The complexity follows through on the palate with floral, citrus, melon and peach nuances. Beautifully balanced with finesse and intensity, this is a gorgeous rosé – Outstanding Plus.  $14.95 Best Buy Imported by Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant Berkeley, CA
Château Beaulieu was established in 1576 by Henri III and is the largest estate in the Coteaux d’ Aix en Provence. The vineyards are located in a dormant volcano where the vines have a unique soil composition.
2012 Château Beaulieu Rosé Coteaux d’ Aix en Provence.
This wine is made from 40% Syrah, 40% Grenache and 20% Cinsault. It is pale pink in color with a faint golden hue and a golden edge and has a lovely floral perfume with hints of raspberry and citrus. A rosé of finesse and charm there is lovely fruit with hints of raspberry, cherry, citrus, and guava with a nice underlying mineral tinged crispness – Highly Recommended Plus.  $16.99 Imported by OPICI Wines Glen Rock, NJ
Commanderie de la Bargemone
The commanderie was founded by the Templar knights in the 13th century. It was named Bargemone after the family that owned it for some 200 years. It passed from their hands in the 1800s and the vineyards succumbed to Phylloxera. In 1973, the property was purchased by Jean-Pierre Rozen who restored the commanderie and replanted the vineyards. After his passing in 2006 the controlling interest in the vineyards and winery was sold to the current owners, Christian and Marie Garin. Today there are more than 160 acres of vineyards and 2/3 of the production is rosé.
2012 Commanderie de la Bargemone Rosé Coteaux d’Aix en Provence.
This is a consistently outstanding rosé whose composition varies from year to year. This 2012 is 40% Grenache, 32% Cinsault, 15% Syrah, and 13% Cabernet Sauvignon. It is again superb with great finesse and complexity and only 12.5% alcohol. With a very pale golden pink color the wine has a lovely mineral tinged perfume with faint floral, citrus, and strawberry notes. Very crisp and bright, yet with lovely complex fruit flavors showing hints of strawberry and citrus with an underlying floral nuance, this is a serious rosé that is particularly well matched with delicate fish dishes – Outstanding Plus.  $19 Best Buy Imported by Hand Picked Selections Warrenton, VA
Domaine de l’Abbaye
Today this property is owned by Franc Petit who acquired it some 45 years ago. Prior to that time it was owned by a Provencal family. The property originally belonged to the Cistercian monastery which was founded in 1098 at Citeaux in Burgundy. They expanded to Le Thoronet in Provence in the mid 12th century and built a monastery. They made wine and olive oil and produced their own food. This was intact until the late 18th century when the property was declared bankrupt and the property sold. The physical property was one of the first to be declared a historical monument and today is owned by the French government. The surrounding properties are privately owned. The Domaine de l’Abbaye consists of over 80 acres. About 1/3 is vineyards and most of the remaining land is planted to olives. A small, historic vineyard called the Clos Beylesse consists of just under 20 acres. When Franc Petit acquired the property he began replanting the vineyards and orchards. Now in his 70s, he continues to do all the work with the assistance of a few helpers. Some 25 years ago he determined that the best grapes were coming from the Clos Beylesse which he had replanted. He therefore decided to make a wine exclusively from that plot. He chose the distinctive and beautiful cobalt blue bottle because of the proximity of the vineyard to the sea. And, although there are small amounts of two other rosés made from estate grown grapes, today most of the production comes from the Clos Beylesse which amounts to approximately 3500 cases a year. The grapes used consist of mostly Syrah and Grenache with some Cinsault. This is a consistently excellent rosé with great style and finesse and the bottle is really gorgeous as well.
2012 Domaine de l’Abbaye Clos Beylesse Rosé Côtes de Provence.
Year after year this is an outstanding rosé and this 2012 is the latest example. With just 12.5% alcohol, the wine has a pale salmon pink color and a gorgeous floral perfume with a touch of citrus and lychee nut. Finesseful with lovely fruit showing citrus and peach with floral undertones and a nice underlying crispness, this is a really delicious wine with balance and a lot of finesse – Outstanding.  $25 Imported by Wine Emporium Brooklyn, NY
Luc Sorin, a native of Auxerre in the Burgundy area, took over this domaine in 1994. He has applies some Burgundian techniques to making wines, particularly the reds. This rosé is vinified and made in vats. It is made from 7 grape varieties – 40% Grenache, 15% Mourvèdre, 10% Carignan, 10% Syrah, 5% Orgi, and 5% Rolle. Anyone who can guess the grape varieties in this wine deserves a special place in rosé heaven! The name Terra Amata refers to an archeological site in open air located on the slopes of Mount Boron in Nice at a level 26 meters above the current sea level of the Mediterranean.
2012 Domaine Sorin Rosé Terra Amata Côtes de Provence.
This is consistently a lovely rosé that is very attractively priced. With a pale salmon pink color showing a faint golden hue and a golden edge, the wine has a lovely perfume with tinges of citrus and peach and a floral undertone. It has very nice fruit with hints of peach, citrus, and raspberry and a nice underlying crispness – Highly Recommended Plus.  $13.99 Best Buy Imported by Grape Expectations Richmond, CA
2012 Chateau de Gassier Rosé Sables d’Azur Côtes de Provence.
Made from Syrah, Cinsault, and Grenache, this rosé has only 12.5% alcohol. It is pale salmon pink in color with a faint golden hue and a golden edge and has a lovely subtle perfume with hints of citrus and melon and just a touch of spice. With lovely fruit, this wine has hints of peach and citrus with a faint spiciness and is elegant and silky with a nice underlying crispness – Highly Recommended.  $11.99 Best Buy Imported by Vinum International, Napa, CA
2012 Pink Pegau Rosé Vin de France.
Made from 100% old vines Cinsault this wine is crafted by Laurence Feraud, owner of Domaine du Pegau, and is produced and bottled by Daureu Féran. The wine is pale pink in color and has a nice perfume with tinges of raspberry and strawberry. Delicate and restrained, there is subtle fruit on the palate with hints of melon and citrus with a faint tinge of strawberry. Finesseful and very crisp this is a lovely rosé with just 12.5% alcohol – Highly Recommended.  $23 Imported by Hand Picked Selections Warrenton, VA
Château de Lancyre
Château de Lancyre was built in the 1500′s on the ruins of a 12th century fort and records of winemaking in the building date back to 1550. The Château and 37 acres of Carignan and Cinsault vines were purchased by the Durand and Valentin families in 1970. The winery was in poor condition and the families started restoration work immediately and, at the same time, they planted additional acreage of Syrah and Grenache. At the time of the purchase, the Durands already had 30 acres of their own vineyards, including a small recently planted parcel of Syrah, one of the first in Languedoc. The Valentins also brought in their own 20 acres, mostly Grenache, Carignan and Cinsault. Today the Domaine consists of 128 acres of AOC vineyards, mostly in Pic Saint-Loup, with all of the Appellation wine estate-bottled at the Château.
2012 Château de Lancyre Rosé Pic Saint Loup.
Made with 50% Syrah, 40% Grenache, and 10% Cinsault this rosé has a pale orange pink color with a golden hue and a golden edge. The perfume is lovely with floral notes and hints of melon and strawberry with floral nuances. On the palate the wine has gorgeous fruit showing strawberry and melon with a faint exotic tinge. Balanced, supple, and silky this is a really delicious rosé – Outstanding.  $21 Imported by Hand Picked Selections Warrenton, VA
Domaine du Poujol
This domaine was purchased by an English man and his American wife in 1994. They were the first non French people to own a domaine in this part of the Languedoc. The property sits just outside the Pic St. Loup appellation. Red, white, and rosé wines are produced.
2012 Domaine du Poujol Rosé Pays De L’Hérault.
This rosé is made from 30% Cinsault, 30% Grenache, 30% Carignan, and 10% Mourvèdre and has 12.5% alcohol. It has a pale orange color with a golden hue and a golden edge and shows a nice perfume with floral strawberry nuances. With lovely fruit showing subtle hints of strawberry and melon, the wine is soft, supple and very nice – Recommended Plus.  $16 Imported by Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant Berkeley, CA
2012 Chateau de Lascaux Rosé Coteaux du Languedoc.
This rosé is made with 40% Cinsault, 30% Syrah, and 30% Grenache. It is pale salmon pink in color with a very faint golden orange hue and a golden edge and has lovely subtle perfume with hints of peach and apricot. Very crisp and bright the wine has nice fruit showing hints of peach and raspberry with a citrus tinge – Highly Recommended.  $16.95 Imported by Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant Berkeley, CA
Domaine Villa des Anges
This domaine is situated on the ruins of an ancient Roman Villa in Capestang and is owned by Jacqueline Menard de Gnestous. The wines are made by Jeff Carrel.
2012 Villa des Anges Rosé Pays d’Oc.
This wine is made from 100% Cinsault grapes grown on vines over 35 years old. It has only 12.5% alcohol and is pale salmon pink in color with a faint orange tinge and a golden edge. With a lovely floral perfume showing hints of strawberries with hints of citrus and peach, this is a very elegant rosé with very nice fruit showing hints of melon and strawberry with a faint underlying floral nuance. It is supple and light with a nice underlying crispness and has a lot of charm. And, it is very attractively priced – Highly Recommended Plus.  $12 Best Buy Imported by Hand Picked Selections Warrenton, VA
2012 Domaine Le Pive Gris (Rosé) Sable de Camargue.
This rosé is made with 30% Grenache Gris, 30% Grenache Noir, 30% Merlot, and 10% Cabernet Franc. It has only 12% alcohol and is flavorful, balanced, and delicious. Pale salmon pink in color with a faint golden edge the wine has a gorgeous floral perfume with hints of peach, melon, and citrus. On the palate it is balanced and shows complex fruit flavors of citrus, peach, and melon with a hint of strawberry and just a touch of spice with a nice underlying crispness – Outstanding.  $16 Best Buy Imported by Hand Picked Selections Warrenton, VA
Domaine de Malavieille
Located in the Terrasses du Larzac subidistrict of the Côteaux dr Languedoc, Domaine de Malavieille been in Mirielle Bertrand’s family for 6 generations.
2012 Domaine de Malavieille Rosé Pays d’OC.
Pale orange pink in color this wine is made with 50% Syrah, 25% Cinsault, 15% Mouvèdre, and 10% Grenache. It has a lovely floral perfume and is rounded with a hint of strawberry and a citrus tinge with a faint hint of spice. Balanced and finesseful this is a really nice rosé – Highly Recommended Plus.  $17 Imported by Hand Picked Selections Warrenton, VA
Chateau du Donjon
This property is situated in Minervois, one of the oldest wine producing areas in the Languedoc, and has been in the Panis family for 500 years. Guy Panis took over in 1958 following his father’s death. Prior to that time the wine was sold in bulk to négociants. Guy began domaine bottling, added more vineyards and different varietals, and modernized the winery which had been built by his grandfather. The winery is housed in the Donjon which is a 700 year old fortified Chateau with walls over 2 feet thick and a basement and sub-basement. In 1998 the business was taken over by Guy’s son, Jean. Today the estate consists of some 160 acres and all wines are estate bottled at the Chateau.
2012 Chateau du Donjon Rosé Minervois.
This wine is made with 40% Grenache, 30% Syrah, and 30% Cinsault. It has only 12.5% alcohol and is reddish pink in color with a golden hue and golden edge. With a lovely floral perfume showing just a hint of cherry and a faint spice, the wine has lovely floral tinged fruit with a touch of spice and is supple and balanced with a very nice crispness – Highly Recommended Plus  $17 Imported by Hand Picked Selections Warrenton, VA
Les Vignerons de Tautavel Vingrau (VTV)
The Les Vignerons de Tautavel Vingrau (VTV) cooperative in the village of Tautavel makes the Le Cirque rosé. The wine is named after the vast, amphitheatre-shaped bowl of vineyards stretching north towards Vingrau.
2012 Le Cirque Rosé Vin de Pays des Côtes Catalanes.
This wine is made with 50% Grenache Noir, 40% Mouvèdre, and 10% Grenache Gris. Like the 2011 this is an absolutely delicious fruit driven rosé. It is light reddish in color with a faint golden orange hue and a golden edge and has a deep floral perfume with hints of raspberry. Rounded, yet crisp and bright, the wine has lovely hints of raspberry and pomegranate with a faint citrus tinge and has a lot of finesse and a balanced underlying crispness – Outstanding.  $15 Best Buy Imported by Hand Picked Selections Warrenton, VA
Les Vigerons de Cases de Penya
Cases de Pene is a tiny village in the South of France just 30 miles north of the Spanish border. This area was ceded to France in the 17th century and is still known as French Catalonia. Penya is the Catalan spelling of the ancient chateau and village wine cooperative. The wine is made at the cooperative from grapes grown by the local vigerons – Les Vigerons de Cases de Penya.
2012 Penya Rosé Vin de Pays des Côtes Catalanes.
This wine is made with 82% Grenache Noir, 14% Grenache Gris, and 4% Syrah. It is pale reddish pink in color with a faint golden hue and has a lovely perfume with hints of strawberry and watermelon with a faint kiss of spice. Crisp and bright with lovely pure fruit showing hints of strawberry, watermelon, and citrus with a faint floral undertone, this is a lovely example of a balanced fruit driven rosé at a very affordable price – Highly Recommended Plus.  $12 Best Buy Imported by Hand Picked Selections Warrenton, VA
Les Rocailles-Pierre Boniface
Pierre Boniface wines are produced at Les Rocailles which is located in the French Alps appellation of Savoie. Today the business is run by Guillaume Durand and Alban Thouroude with Pierre acting as a consultant. The estate consists of 50 acres of vineyards and grapes are purchased from another 60 acres.
2012 Les Rocailles Rosé Gamay Vin de Savoie.
This Gamay rosé has only 12% alcohol and is just plain delicious. Pale reddish pink color with a golden edge the wine has a gorgeous perfume with hints of rose petals and strawberry with a faint hint of spice. It is soft and supple and intensely fruit with watermelon and strawberry nuances. Very pure and seductive, this is a great example of a light fruity rosé with a lot of charm and finesse that is irresistible and oh so easy to drink – Outstanding.  $19 Imported by Hand Picked Selections Warrenton, VA
Domaine des Corbillières
This domaine, located near the city of Tours, was purchased by Fabel Barbou in 1923 and is now in the 4th generation of family ownership under the direction of Veronique and Dominique Barbou. Estate bottling began here around 1950. The domaine today consists of 65 acres and white, red, rosé, and sparkling wines are made. Some 2 ½ acres are devoted to Pineau d’Aunis (also known as Chinon Noir) from which the rosé is made.
2012 Domaine des Corbillières Rosé Touraine.
This is a rosé that ages beautifully. As I was enjoying the 2012 I also opened a 2010 which was gorgeous and loaded with fruit. The 2012 is a bit more restrained than recent vintages, but is, nonetheless, a lovely wine that benefits from air and should age for several years. It is light salmon pink in color with a faint orange hue and a golden edge and a lovely subtle perfume with faint hints of pomegranate, cherry and citrus with a floral nuance. Crisp and bright with citrus undertones and cherry fruit the wine is very pure and shows a nice underlying minerality – Highly Recommended.  $15.49 Imported by Robert Kacher Selections New York, NY