Provence is still ancient Roman in character, but its wine is entering the modern era. This is a region of great terroir and appeal. Soils and climate have attracted money that is pouring in, so watch the quality soar. It already has some great quality wines. Wine is now truly becoming “bottled sunshine” in Provence. Because of the higher altitudes further inland, Pinot Noir has shown great promise. We have already seen the quality of Mourvedre from the Bandol area, a small area of Provence that is inland from the town of Bandol.
Provence lays claim to the oldest vineyard area in France (dating back to the early Greek settlements) and vines transported from Phoenicia. Herbs and flowers are everywhere, so look for their aromas in the wines. Wonderful aromas are found in some rosés together with soft finesse.
We are going to try two Rosés with bread dipped in olive oil and with “Mediterranean gold” — garlic! After you have evaluated these wines alone, taste it with bread dipped in a quality garlic-flavored olive oil and notice how Provence rosés blend well with the flavor of the oil.
In the last French wine comparison, we compared a New World wine with a Bandol wine from the Old World. This time, we will experience two Provence Rosés (two Old World rosés). It is hard to find a fair comparison with rosés since they are made from a variety of grapes and in such a variety of ways.
Whispering Angel from Caves D’Esclans, Cotes du Provence, 2015 is an attractive, smooth, rosé that rewards with a character that lingers on the palate. It is clean, brilliant and light, with little viscosity, proving that it is not a viscous wine but still coats the membranes. Scents of roses and flavors of strawberry, pineapple and melon are highlighted with the freshness of the acids. It approaches the palate softly and strengthens in the finish to a strong and characterful conclusion. It bowed out with the statement of a wine that says, “I will do well with the cuisine of the area” — namely, well with olive oil flavored with garlic. It is worth the $23 price tag. This is distinctly a Provence Rosé of quality. “Fresh, floral, fruity, and appealing” describes Provence Rosés.
To prove the point that rosés are made from different grapes and in such a different way, let’s experience a rosé from South Africa: Secateurs 2015. This bottle was a disappointment in that it had spent time in old oak and the flavors of an old barrel came through. The fruit flavors were muted; the aroma was faint and not at all fruity or floral as one would expect from a rosé. The wine was well balanced and had adequate acids and a soft attack. Texture was good. Grapes were Cinsault, Shiraz, Grenache, Carignan. A good wine, but in my opinion it can be faulted for the flavors. This wine highlights that a wine can be a disappointment in either the New World or the Old World, and comparisons with rosés is like comparing apples with oranges.
Next, we will taste another rosé from Provence before we move on to the Western Languedoc.