Provence rosé is not a blend of white and red wine. Instead, like red wine, rosé wine is made from red (or black or purple) grapes. But whereas red-wine makers allow the grape skins to ferment with the juice for an extended period of time, rosé producers keep the pigmented skins in contact with the clear juice for only a short time. Then the juice, now tinted pink, is removed from the skins. The resulting color, ranging from pale pink to a deeper shade of salmon or coral, is a delight for the eyes.
2014 Chateau de Brigue Cotes de Provence ($9)
2013 Clos Cibonne Tibouren ($25)
Clos Cibonne's regular rosé bottling is 90% Tibouren and 10% Grenache sourced 30+ year old vines in schist soil. The wine is aged on the lees for 1 year before bottling, so it hits the market the year after the rosé wines from other estates. Light orange-pink. Vibrant, mineral-accented redcurrant and strawberry aromas are complicated by notes of dried herbs, rose oil and orange peel. A saline quality underscores juicy red fruit flavors, which flesh out and deepen with air. Fresh and seamless in texture, finishing with superb clarity and length and repeating mineral and floral notes. I've had the chance to drink 30-year-old bottles of this wine, and while this one isn't quite as nervy as some other recent vintages, I'd cellar it for another seven to ten years with confidence and then decant it to serve alongside grilled fish or roasted birds
2014 Sancerre Pascal & Nicolas Reverdy ($23)
Sancerre is justifiably famous for the crisp, chalky Sauvignon Blancs they produce, but there also exist Pinot Noir plantings in the appellation. The reds they produce are not always world beaters, but they do use the fruit to produce delicious rosé wines. Old vines Pinot Noir, in the hands of one of Sancerre's best winemakers, produce this elegant, perfumy rendition of a Pinot Noir rosé. Brilliant orange-pink. Minerally and focused on the nose, displaying nervy red berry and citrus fruit qualities and a hint of tarragon. Dry and energetic in the mouth, offering juicy strawberry and tangerine flavors that flesh out with air. Finishes stony and long, leaving bitter berry skin and a suave floral note behind.
2014 Charles Joguet Chinon ($19)
In Chinon, world capital of Cabernet Franc, you’ll find a myriad of styles from each individual grower, to be drunk young, old, and in between. The one to drink first would be this rosé, in which the spices that this great grape is known for weave their way through a core of bright and fleshy fruits, refreshing your palate Chinon-style.
Wines of the Night
David Boxerbaum & Rosé
Harvested at a cool 21 brix and immediately whole cluster pressed, this dry and aromatic Rosé is a true vin gris, fermented like a white wine without skin or seed contact. In 2014, the wine is bone dry at 12.7% alcohol, in a dashingly light shade of pale melon-pink and with an aromatic profile of tangerine oil, pink grapefruit, and bing cherries. Cool-climate West Sonoma Coast vineyards give the wine its hallmark style, with the biodynamically-farmed Bybee Vineyard in Sebastopol Hills making up the backbone for this wine.
2014 Red Car Pinot Noir Rose Sonoma Coast ($20)
This wine is a southern French inspired blend of Grenache and Mourvedre, specially farmed for Rosé at the Vogelzang vineyard. 70% Grenache and 27% Mourvedre from Vogelzang vineyard, hand harvested specifically for the rose, plus a 3% splash of Syrah from Stolpman and John Sebastiano vineyards, whole cluster pressed to neutral French barrels for 5 months. The result is juicy and exhilarating, with watermelon, tart Rainier cherries, and blood orange on the nose and flavors of wild strawberry, ripe musky peaches, tart cranberry, spicy citrus, and a hint of salt and stone. A real treat with pork and poultry (including duck) and the cornucopia of winter veggies -- squash, leafy greens, turnips.
2014 Dragonette Rose, Happy Canyon Vineyard Santa Barbara ($20)