Wine style of Rose continues to grow and displace both whites and reds as a viable year-round wine option.
Ground zero for Rose’s renaissance was the southern French region Provence. Provence is a diverse part of France and the style of Rose varies quite a bit, but the image you probably have in your mind is a pale salmon colour, delicate, crisp, dry and subtly fruity.
The part of Provence that you will most likely be drinking your Rose wine from is the Cotes de Provence which makes up around three quarters of all Provence wine, and well over half the Rose in the region. That wine will likely be made predominantly from Grenache, Cinsaut, Mourvedre and maybe some Shiraz or Carignan. The three principal varieties work well because they bring a balance of structural and flavour components from the front to the back of the palate.
The reason you can be confident that this is what you will find in your glass is the more stringent regional wine laws in France when compared to Australia. The grape varieties listed above are just five of 11 varieties permitted in the region, you can be certain that there will be no other, or more, varieties in the wine. There must typically be at least 70% of the blend coming from some mix of Cinsaut, Grenache, Mourvedre, Syrah or Tibouren. This helps to maintain the integrity of the region and its history, as trends come and go regions and growers will often try to chase those trends rather than focusing on the varieties and styles that have proven to be suitable and successful over the long-term.
When we start to dig a bit deeper in to the region beyond simply ‘Provence’ which covers over 20,000 hectares we find several smaller ‘sub-regions’ that have identified themselves as unique amongst the broader area. From the famed coastal areas such as Bandol and Palette which see predominantly Mourvedre/ Mataro in their blends and are built for ageing, to the areas further inland such as coteau d’aix en provence and Coteaux Varois en Provence where Grenache and Cinsault tend to lead the way but the often have more structure and savouriness suited to food pairing..
The Cotes de Provence is certainly a good place to start, and ideal for wines that can be enjoyed on their own as much as with food. The Rameau d’Or Rose ($27) is a textbook example – fresh strawberry, peach, a subtle floral flourish. The flavours are moderate in intensity but linger nicely on the palate which is quite smooth with some creaminess to it along with a subtle, savoury edge. The flavours continue to linger on the clean, dry finish.