When pale pink glasses of wine start showing up at your neighborhood bistro, it’s a sure sign that summer isn’t far off. Rosé wines are made all over the world, but the style has been elevated to an art form in the southern French region of Provence.
Shaped by Mediterranean terroir, Provençal rosés are as fresh and inviting as a warm day — maybe that’s why sales are up 26 percent over last year. At a recent tasting of the region’s wines, we discussed how all rosés from Provence are blends, usually of warmth-loving red grapes like cinsault, grenache, syrah, and mourvèdre. The skins of the grapes only stay in contact with the wine for a short time, leaving behind a pale pink or peach color.
Provençal rosés are bone-dry, and offer a beguiling taste of soft red fruits like strawberries or raspberries, mixed with minerals and a touch of herbs like lavender, sage, and wild thyme.
Not just pink and pretty, Provençal rosés are delightfully food-friendly, playing well with dishes like summer tomatoes with mozzarella and fresh herbs, shellfish, or even grilled pork. We have a particular penchant for these rosés:
Domaine Triennes Rosé 2011 (Provence) $14
A pale peachy colored wine that stars cinsault and grenache, it beguiles with aromas of sweet strawberries and its balanced and fresh flavors.
Château Thuerry "Le Château" Rosé 2011 (Côtes de Provence) $20
A healthy dose of syrah makes this a rather bold rosé compared to some of its neighbors. The Château Thuerry is so full of yummy berries it’s almost voluptuous for a Provencal rosé — and we’re not complaining.
Château d'Esclans "Whispering Angel" Rosé 2011 (Côtes de Provence) $20
As the name suggests, this is the most delicate and elegant of rosés, with a powdery aroma full of flowers and minerals. In the glass, this blend of five grapes led by grenache is lively, round, and quite delicious.