A clutch of very drinkable rosés

A clutch of very drinkable rosés

Is Rosé still on a roll?  It looks that way.

Last month we had a chance to test drive a quartet of Provence rosés (part of a BC Liquor Stores’ promotion) to see how they stacked up. Following on from last year’s tasting, it was interesting to note the ongoing emphasis on creative packaging, which no doubt is doing its part in fueling the “rosé revival…”

While many BC rosés are becoming increasingly fruit driven (some so much so that they pass more for light reds), stylistically, Provence provides a welcome counterpoint.

Most are more restrained in style though rarely lacking in complexity and character. Not surprisingly, they also make for worthy food partners. The 2012 vintage resulted in lower sugars and sometimes lighter more subtle wines. Chill them down and they’re full-on  refreshing and very food friendly.

• L’Amphore de Provence 2012 (Cotes de Provence)

Our informal tasting group tasted these wines blind, in part because some of the bottles are pretty fancy looking and I didn’t want people to be influenced before they tried the wine.  Marketers are keenly aware that more than a few consumers are inclined to buy a wine based purely on its label or bottle style.  Chances are this is one, with its shape and name inspired by the traditional amphora vessel, with little handles at the neck.  Not a lot of complexity but certainly easy drinking. Strawberry and rhubarb notes with spicy notes, easy acidity and good length. Patio and food friendly BCLS $19.99; 89+ pts

• Chateau Sainte Roseline, Cuvée Lampe de Méduse, Cru Classé 2012

The Chateau is named after Sainte Rosaline (the 14th century abbess, whose tomb is  enshrined there). It enjoys a history of grape growing that dates from that era and is one of only 14 estates that were designated Provence Crus Classés, in 1955.  The blend of 35% Cinsault, 30% Grenache, 15% Mourvèdre, 10% Syrah and Tibouren adds up to a pale orange-salmon hue in the glass, with floral and citrus notes on top. Definitely on the dry side with some mineral, grapefruit and lemon zest and a hint of saltiness. in a decidedly elegant, sleek bottle. 88 pts. $28.49

• Moulin de Rogne 2012 (Coteaux d’ Aix en Provence)

This very successful grower run group describe itself as an “upmarket cooperative.” As it turned out, this Languedoc blend of Grenache Noir, Syrah, Cinsault and Cabernet Sauvignon appeals for its juicy drinkability and good value. Floral and red berry notes,  quite juicy and generous on the palate with mineral, cherry pit, citrus and floral notes. The “value” pick of the crop at $15.99; 88 pts.

• Domaine de Dragon Cuvée Prestige 2012 (Cotes de Provence)

Mainly Grenache (68%) with Cabernet (15%), Cinsault (8%) and others. Stonefruit and floral aromas with citrus and lavender notes followed by mild red berries on the quite fruity but dry palate. $23.99 88 pts.


(Previously published in the North Shore News)