For more information on Waterkloof from South Africa’s Western Cape visit waterkloofwines.co.za.
With an appreciation for tradition, winemakers in Cahors also seek to modernize Malbec for a new generation of wine lovers. Today the new trend is to produce a rosé of Malbec.
The past few years have seen a surge in the popularity of rosé wines in the United States, particularly rosé from France. Though it is still difficult to find Cahors rosé in US stores and restaurants, you’ll definitely want to look for it if you have the opportunity to travel to the region.
Malbec is an extremely versatile grape for rosé. The wine can span a variety of colors and styles – from salmon pink to bright magenta, light and fruity like the rosés of Provence to bursting with ripe red berries like a light bodied Gamay or Pinot Noir.
When you arrive for a visit at Clos Triguedina, one of the first things you will likely say is “I would like to taste something.” It is a sentiment that has been expressed there countless times over many centuries.
Cahors and Clos Triguedina are located along the Pilgrimage Route of Santiago de Compostela. In the Middle Ages, pilgrims would find a welcoming place for food and rest at the estate in Vire-sur-Lot. In the Occitan language they would say, “I am longing to dine” – “me trigo de dina.”
The summer of rosé is in full swing! It’s an international love affair, with rosé wine being made around the world from a variety of different grapes.
Try one of these AG picks tonight:
From CVNE (pronounced Coo-nay), a family owned and operated winery founded in 1879 in Haro, Rioja, this dry rosé is 100% Tempranillo. Produced using the saignée or bleeding method, the juice was removed from the grape skins and seeds after around 24 to 48 hours, resulting in a magenta-pink color. Floral aromas introduce flavors of strawberry, tart cherry and red currant.
$14, 14% alcohol by volume
Established in 1973, Herdade do Esporão is a family-owned estate and winery that takes its name from the tower on the property that is thought to have been built between 1457 and 1490. This rosé is a blend of Aragonez and Syrah. The grapes underwent pneumatic pressing after a short period of skin contact. Bright pink in color with berry aromas, the wine has flavors of raspberry, cherry and Victoria plum, with a hint of mint on the refreshing finish.
$15, 13.5% alcohol by volume
This wine comes from Lieb Cellars, founded in 1992 on Long Island’s North Fork. Lieb was the first winery on Long Island to plant Pinot Blanc, which has become their signature wine and makes up part of the blend in the Bridge Lane rosé. The 2013 wine is 63% Cabernet Franc, 21% Merlot, 8% Pinot Blanc, 5% Riesling and 3% Gewurztraminer. Light and easy to drink with a pretty pale pink color, the wine has flavors of wild strawberry, raspberry and rose petal.
$18, 11.9% alcohol by volume
The grapes for this wine from the noted French winemaker come from hilly vineyards near Salon de Provence, an area influenced by the nearby Mediterranean Sea. It is a blend of 67% Syrah and 33% Mourvedre, and was made using the saignée method. Salmon-pink in color, the aromatic wine will transport you to the South of France. Flavors of ripe strawberry, red cherry and rose are layered with subtle fennel and white pepper notes.
$14, 12.5% alcohol by volume
Bought in 1890 by Aurélien Houchart, the 90 hectare estate near Aix-en-Provence and the foot of Mont Sainte Victoire has been consistently farmed since Roman times. Today it is owned by the Quiot Family and run by Geneviève Quiot, Aurélien’s great granddaughter. This Côtes de Provence rosé is a blend of Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. This crowd-pleaser is pale peachy-pink in color, with delicate flavors of strawberry, loganberry and watermelon that culminate in a crisp finish.
$11, 12% alcohol by volume
By Maxine Howard
Two years after a grand tasting of Provençal rosés prompted me to write “Rethink Rosé,” apparently many Americans have done just that. In 2013, U.S. imports of rosé wines from Provence increased by 40% over the previous year. Not only are we drinking more rosés from France, but we are also discovering new rosés by a number of California winemakers in the Provençal style using grapes traditionally blended by the French vintners.
And why wouldn’t we relish drinking these wines? They grab your attention with their gorgeous color, ranging from pale pink to salmon blush; they tantalize with aromas of flowers and tropical fruits; and they quench a summer thirst with their dry yet flavorful taste and a hint of minerality.
In their return to San Francisco for another tour in March, the Vins de Provence reinforced their stature as serious purveyors of rosé wines in the fragrant yet lean style. Twenty-one producers sampled their wines, showing a range of styles and flavors. Some of the differences reflected varying combinations of the traditional grapes use in Provence rosé: Grenach, Cinsault, Syrah, Mourvedre, Tibouren, Carignan and Cabernet Sauvignon. Other differences resulted from the varying soil and climate conditions. And the final differences came from the sensibilities of the individual winemakers.
Here are some favorites from the tasting:
Chateau de Pampelonne Rosé 2012
This wine from Les Maîtres Vignerons de Saint Tropez in Gassin is a blend of Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault, Carignan, Tibouren and Mourvedre. The grapes grow in sandy soil on the St. Tropez peninsula next to the beaches. They are harvested early in the morning while they are still cool. They are macerated for just two hours before being pressed, and remain on sediment for two months.
The wine is pale pink and has floral aromas. The taste is well balanced with hints of tropical and citrus fruit and has a pleasant minerality on the finish. It would go well with fish and simple chicken dishes. But would taste just fine sipped by itself on the deck watching the sun go down. $19.99
Première de Figuière Rosé 2013
Saint André de Figuière is a family-run producer located in La Londe-les-Maures. It is between the Mediterranean Sea and the hills of Provence. Beneath the top soil the ground consists of mica and schist, which the winemaker describes as fragile yet capable of producing wines with finesse. This rosé is composed of 50% Mourvedre, 30% Cinsault and 20% Grenache. That is a stark contrast with most of the area rosés in which Grenache predominates. Each variety is harvested and vinified separately before being blended.
This wine has a bit more blush than the Chateau de Pamplonne that I would describe as a pale salmon. The bouquet has more citrus than floral notes. On the palate one tastes peach and citrus as well as a little earthiness from the Mourvedre. The overall impression is of an extremely well-balanced, delicious wine. Because it is a little heartier, it should stand up well to seafood and fowl dishes.
Another wine I enjoyed at the tasting was Quat’ Saisons 2013 from Chateau La Mascaronne in Le Luc. Unfortunately, the winery did not have an importer at the time of the tasting. But the fascinating thing about the owner, an American from Indiana, is that he formerly owned and produced wine at the property now owned by Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Readers will remember the Amateur Gastronomer’s review of Brad and Angelina’s Miraval Côtes de Provence Rosé last summer. Apparently, the couple were flying over the Miraval estate in a helicopter and were stunned by its beauty. They made a generous offer to buy, and the proprietor had to agree. Already owning a second property, he moved all of his wine-making operations to Chateau La Mascaronne and has continued producing wines under its label.
The rosé is a blend of Cinsault and Grenache. It has a wonderful floral aroma and controlled fruits with both a touch of citrus and a pleasant minerality on the finish. Robert Parker gave the 2012 a 91-point rating. The suggested retail price is $22. Let’s hope it finds an importer soon.
The hottest rosé to get your hands on this summer is the Miraval Côtes du Provence Rosé. Made by Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt in partnership with the Perrin family, the first cases to arrive in the United States sold out right away.
Here are the AG’s tasting notes:
Location: Château Miraval extends over 500 hectares in the Côtes du Provence appellation. The Château is located in the town of Correns, north of Brignoles in southern France. Grapes for the rosé came from the organically-farmed Chateau and a selection of neighboring vineyards.
Grapes: The 2012 wine is a blend of Cinsault, Grenache, Syrah and Rolle. The grapes were hand picked and hand sorted. Five percent of the wine spent time in barrels with batonnage (stirring of the lees).
Appearance: Starting with the shapely bottle and minimal labeling, this is an eye-catching wine. You can’t help but be attracted to the color of the rosé: a lovely pale pink.
Nose: The Miraval Rosé has subtle aromas of pink grapefruit, white raspberry and rose. It’s not as aromatic as other rosé wines recently tasted by the AG.
Taste: Dry and elegant, the wine has flavors of raspberry, wild strawberry, grapefruit and lemon. Light in body with gentle mineral notes and a crisp finish, this is a rosé for white wine drinkers. There was a little heat on the finish (the wine is 13% alcohol by volume), which faded over time in the glass.
Verdict: This is a very nice rosé from Provence but take away the celebrity and it would be priced more in the $17 to $19 range. The Miraval Rosé won’t likely become your every day sipping rosé, but at $30 a bottle it’s fun to taste and well worth trying it for yourself.
Want more Miraval? A white wine from Château Miraval is expected to be released this fall, and a red wine is coming in spring 2014.
The French know how to do rosé right. And some of the best rosé can be found in Provence, in the south of France.
That’s where Mas de la Dame is, in a commune called Les Baux-de-Provence. It’s a gorgeous area in a beautiful part of Provence, best known for ruins of a fortified castle that overlook the vineyards and olive groves below.
Owned by sisters Anne Poniatowski and Caroline Missoffe, Mas de la Dame has 140 acres of vineyards at the foot of the medieval village of Les Baux. Farming is done organically, and the grapes are harvested by hand. Jean-Luc Colombo is the consulting winemaker.
It’s hard to imagine a more perfect setting for enjoying rosé than sitting outside with a chilled glass during the summer in Provence. But with a glass of the Mas de la Dame Rosé du Mas 2012, you can nearly recreate the experience at your own home.
The wine is a blend of 50% Grenache, 30% Syrah and 20% Cinsault. The grape juice spent 4 to 8 hours with the skins to get its pale peachy-pink color.
The Rosé du Mas opens with aromas of fresh berries and rose. On the palate are delicate flavors of ripe raspberry, wild strawberry and peach, with subtle fresh mint notes. The finish is clean and refreshing.
This is a rosé to make even the most skeptical wine drinker a rosé fan.
Enjoy the Mas de la Dame Rosé du Mas outdoors on a warm and sunny day with lunch or as an aperitif. It pairs well with salads, light pasta dishes, grilled pork, barbecue or fish. Serve the Rosé du Mas chilled.
$14, 12.85% alcohol
Whether you prefer to say “I love you” with something sparkling, sweet or pink, here are wines that are perfect for celebrating Valentine’s Day.
Lightly sparkling, a touch sweet and a deep magenta hue make Brachetto an ideal sip on Valentine’s Day. This wine comes from the Piedmont region in northwest Italy and is made entirely from the Brachetto grape. Like Prosecco, Brachetto gets its bubbles from the Charmat method.
The Demarie Birbet Brachetto has flavors of ripe raspberry, strawberry and cherry, with floral notes of rose and violet. Enjoy the Brachetto as an aperitif or with dessert.
The Biltmore Estate, a popular destination in Asheville, North Carolina, produces a range of wines using grapes grown at the estate and sourced from California. The Pas de Deux, a gently sweet Methode Champenoise sparkling wine, is made entirely from Muscat Canelli grapes from California’s Central Coast.
Meaning “a dance for two,” the Pas de Deux is meant to be shared with someone special. It has round flavors of orange, lemon, white raspberry and wildflower honey, with small and energetic bubbles. Enjoy the Biltmore Pas de Deux as an aperitif or with lightly sweet or cream based dishes.
If it’s flowers you enjoy giving or receiving on Valentine’s Day, then Gewurztraminer is the grape for you. This white wine is extremely aromatic – take a sniff and you may be able to smell honeysuckle, jasmine, gardenia and rose.
The gentle sweetness in the Domaine Zind Humbrecht Gewurztraminer is nicely balanced with mouth-tingling acidity. Flavors of Meyer lemon, tangerine and a hint of white chocolate culminate in a pleasing finish that has a lingering touch of orange blossom honey. Oysters are a great pairing with the Zind Humbrecht Gewurztraminer, as are other shellfish, seafood, and spicy dishes.
Domaine de Triennes Rosé 2011
$18, 12.5% alcohol by volume
The French know love – and rosé wine. This rosé from Provence is a partnership of two of Burgundy’s great estates: Aubert de Villane, co-owner of Domaine Romanee-Conti and Jacques Seysses, founder of Domaine Dujac. The wine is mainly made from Cinsault, with some Grenache and a dash of Merlot.
Light peachy-pink in color, the Triennes Rosé is elegant and aromatic with red fruit and floral notes. Round flavors of wild strawberry, raspberry and a hint of herbes de Provence come together in a clean, dry finish.
Mini Rosé 2010
$11, 11% alcohol by volume
This rosé from southwest France is made from the Cinsault grape. Pale salmon in color, the Mini Rosé has delicate flavors of white raspberry, strawberry and red grapefruit with refreshing acidity. Enjoy this wine with fish, grilled chicken, salad or pasta. Bonus: with only 87 calories per glass, you won’t feel guilty consuming a few extra pieces of chocolate.
Smoky and seductive, the Dark Lady Pinotage is sure to spice up your Valentine’s Day. This red wine from South Africa offers a unique alternative to Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon or Zinfandel.
Intense aromas of smoked meat, leather and black fruit introduce a palate of blackberry, black cherry, black pepper, mocha and pipe tobacco. The wine has a silky mouthfeel, with gentle tannins and a long, satisfying finish. This wine demands to be served with a steak.
This summer bring a taste of Biltmore to your table – and enter for a chance to win a wine and culinary weekend at the Asheville, North Carolina estate.
Biltmore produces a range of white, red, rosé and sparkling wines using grapes grown in North Carolina and California. The Biltmore Century Collection, first released in 1999 to commemorate Biltmore’s 100th anniversary, are among their most popular wines.
The Biltmore Century Collection was crafted to be fun, approachable and delicious, and to enable people to re-live their Biltmore experience at home. Each wine comes in an etched bottle depicting the Biltmore House.
The Biltmore Century White Wine is an aromatic blend of Gewurztraminer, Muscat Canelli, Riesling and Symphony (an American viticulturalist-created cross of Muscat and Grenache Gris). The majority of the grapes came from California, with a small percentage from the estate’s vineyards in North Carolina. The wine is light and refreshing with gently sweet flavors of lemon, lime, honeydew, lychee and rose. The Biltmore Century White Wine is enjoyable as an aperitif or with Asian or spicy cuisine.
The Biltmore Century Rosé is a blend of Syrah and Grenache from California. Light magenta in color, the wine has off-dry flavors of raspberry, strawberry and violet. It’s a great wine for brunch or for sipping outdoors on the patio. Serve it with turkey, pork or white fish.
The Italian-style Biltmore Century Red Wine is a fruit forward blend of Sangiovese, Merlot and Zinfandel from central and northern California. The wine spent 10 to 18 months in French and American oak barrels. Smooth and easy to drink, this red has flavors of boysenberry, black cherry and plum, with a touch of vanilla and smoke. It’s great with hamburgers, steaks or barbecue.
Let one of Biltmore’s Century wines inspire your meal for the chance to win a culinary and wine weekend at Biltmore!
Submit your best original recipe (appetizer, entrée or dessert) and recommend one of Biltmore’s three Century Wines to pair with it. Submissions will be presented before a panel of Biltmore’s top chefs. For more information and to enter the contest visit www.biltmore.com/recipecontest. The contest runs through August 31st.
Here are the prizes:
Grand Prize Winner Receives a Culinary & Wine Weekend at Biltmore in Asheville, North Carolina
— Two night accommodations at the Inn on Biltmore Estate for winner and one guest (1 room/double occupancy)
— Two length-of-stay daytime admission tickets to the estate grounds
— Chef’s breakfast buffet daily at the Inn on Biltmore Estate
— One lunch for two up to $100 value at Stable Café on Biltmore Estate
— One dinner for two at Bistro on Biltmore Estate up to $150 value at Biltmore
— A private winery tour and tasting, guided tour of estate vineyards and Field-to-Table garden on west side of estate
— One $200 pre-paid gift card to supplement travel expenses
— Recipe will be featured on the menu of an estate restaurant and on Biltmore.com
Two First Place Winners Will Receive Wine & Food Pairing Dinner at a local restaurant
— Dinner for winner and three guests at a local restaurant nearby winner’s place of residence up to $300 value
— Where legal and available, wine and associated corkage fees will be provided by company to pair with meal
— Recipe will be featured on Biltmore.com
Fan Favorite: The three recipes with the most votes in each category will receive:
— Biltmore-inspired food and wine prize pack
— Recipe featured on Biltmore.com
By Maxine Howard
The Provence Tasting Tour rolled into San Francisco in April to showcase rosé wines from the beautiful south of France. Nineteen wineries arrayed their offerings around the bar at the Bluestem Brasserie, demonstrating a range of hues from pale pink to deep salmon. As I made my way around the wines I encountered Jean-Jacques Breban, Vice President of the Provence Wine Council. I tried to get him to confess to a favorite though naturally he was diplomatic, saying, “they are all good, but all different.” While I might not have liked them all, they indeed were diverse.
The rosés of Provence are unlike those made in the United States. Here we tend to find fruitier wines that seem to straddle the line between white and red, an attempt to add fruit to a white wine. In Provence the ideal is “rosé sec” – dry rosé that blends the minerality of the soil with an aroma of the flowers that cover the countryside.
Producers in Provence use a variety of red grapes to make their wines. Most combine between two and four grape varieties, the most common being Grenache and Cinsault.
To make rosé wine the grape skins are removed before fermentation begins. According the Wine Council this results in wine with the character of a red and the crispness of a white.
Three of my favorites demonstrate the range of possibilities for rosé of Provence. Pétale de Rose from Château Barbeyrolles is made from Grenache, Cinsault and Mourvedre. It had a pale blush appearance and just a hint of fruit aromas. The taste was crisp with lean fruits, yet it also had a spiciness on the tongue.
The rosé from Château La Sauveuse is made from Syrah, Grenache and Cinsault. It had a peach tint and floral aromas that did remind me of the Provencal countryside in bloom. On the palate it showed a great balance of fruit flavors without being too fruity.
I also fell in love with the red wine from Château La Sauveuse. Made from Grenache, Mourvedre, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon, it wowed me at first sight. The color was a deep garnet that portended greatness. It had potent aromas of red fruits with smoky undertones. The ripe dark fruit flavors expanded on the palate. Well-structured with nicely balanced tannins, I recommend trying it if you find a bottle.
Cuvee 946 from Château Gassier is a rosé that incorporates Syrah, Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon, Vieux Carignan and Cinsault. The wine had a beautiful apricot color and smelled of citrus and red fruits. The taste was wonderfully balanced with a subtle complexity I attributed to the variety of grapes used.
Any of these wines would make a lovely accompaniment to hors d’oeuvres on the patio in the late afternoon, or a dinner of seafood or pork.
In France rosé wines outsell white wines. After sampling the wines from Provence I can understand the allure.