Domaines Paul Mas Astelia Rosé 2015 ($15)
It’s no secret that I’m a fan of the high-value wines from Domaines Paul Mas; I’ve written about several of them here recently, including the irreverent budget line Arrogant Frog. This offering, Astelia, is composed of 40 percent each grenache and mourvèdre, supplemented by 20 percent syrah. A stunning rose-petal pink in the glass, this wine is lighter and less silky in body than the two wines reviewed below, and a bit more fruit forward. I tasted red fruit, a bit of passion fruit, and lime zest in the refreshing, moderate finish. Mas suggests pairing the wine with salmon, which I would poach and serve chilled, but it would complement any number of summer dishes and may be simply enjoyed by itself, preferably in the shade of a large tree; it’s a lovely, simple summer wine.
Barton & Guestier Côtes de Provence Passeport 2015 ($15)
This is an astonishingly good wine for the price, a blend of grenache (50 percent), cinsault (30 percent), and syrah (20 percent). This double-gold-medal-winning rosé is an elegant pale salmon in the glass, boasts ripe berry fruit and white flowers in the nose, and finishes with a bit of red current and lemon zest on the palate. The fruit-acid balance is near-perfect, with a silky mouthfeel and a fresh finish. It is a lovely wine, and I would pair it with simply grilled fish as well as heartier summer fare; it could handle either with aplomb. The vintner, Barton & Guestier, is the oldest négociant in Bordeaux, and was the first wine shipper to introduce French wines to American shores (with some assistance from our beloved third President (and noted oenophile), Thomas Jefferson.
Barton & Guestier La Villa Barton Côtes de Provence 2015 ($20)
Another winner from B&G, this wine is a bit more refined than the Passeport, boasting notable mineral elements enhancing the fruit, floral, and citrus notes in both the nose and on the palate. White peach emerges mid-palate, creating a wonderfully layered tasting experience. The mouthfeel is lightly silky, and the finish can best be described as juicy, with plenty of freshness and a pleasing acidity. I’d serve this wine with all manner of Mediterranean food, but it paired beautifully with a leek and goat cheese tart and segued gracefully into a course of fish soup. Formidable!