June Gloom Be Damned!
“Hello, Mr. Summer, when are you planning on arriving?”
Think we are all waiting and as I write this just over a week before our annual Rosé Fest on June 2nd, you know the one where we pour like gallons of icy cold, new release French rosés and serve them with grilled lamb, roasted potatoes and carrots and buckets of pungent homemade aioli? Oh, and alongside the regular offerings of paté, salami, artisanal cheese and bread?
Yeah, that one.
We are just over a week away and the cold gray sky is peering over my shoulder making my already dark laptop screen harder to pluck away at. Just how are we supposed to get into the rosé spirit with the weather we’ve had so far? A collective willing of it?! I’m in if you are, people.
Each year there are more and more dry rosés released into the marketplace. Shows like those you see on the Bravo Channel splashing these pink wines around so often, and on so many shows, that the general public began a curiosity, a thirst to try what all those housewives and Hamptons summering folks were drinking. Not you all, mind you.
We’ve been told for decades that we have the coolest and most forward-thinking customers, and one of the very first mentions of such was due to the droves of you who not only showed an early willingness to try the dry rosés from the South of France but your fervor in devouring them. While those housewives were still sipping Kendall Jackson Chardonnay, you all were buying cases of rosé to drink all summer long. Beyond hipsters, my friends, you might as well go ahead and think of yourselves as innovators.
It is because of Randy’s determination to get people to try these wines, and your ferocious embrace of them that we are one of, if not the first, retailer importers come to with their rosés.
To put things in perspective, I’ve tasted nearly 300 rosés since January. January! Importers shaking baby rosés from their slumber, (about 3 months earlier than should be) to rush them sample and to market in January, just so they can be there first to get placements in retail stores and on restaurant wine lists. Well, if that isn’t an indicator as to the swelling popularity of these wines than I don’t know what is. I’ve been soaking in “pink wine” for months now and our rose mountain is now stuffed to swollen, ready for our annual Rosé Fest and for your summer sipping pleasure, should summer ever decide to show up.
2017 was a very solid but short vintage, many producers in Provence losing 30% or more of their harvest. That, coupled with this swollen demand and, well, let me just urge you to find the ones you like and stock up now, summer weather be damned.
Oh, and by the way, I took a gander at The Farmer’s Almanac and if they know anything, when this summer weather does arrive, it’s gonna be fierce. Yet another reason to stockpile your favorites, everyone.
On your mark, get set, GO!
Recent 2017 French Rosé Arrivals
2017 Chateau Val Joanis Luberon Rosé, Provence, France
There have been vines planted at this estate since the Roman era and the estate that is now there is planted on the site of an ancient Roman villa. Made from Grenache and Syrah and packaged in a gorgeous curvy bottle with a glass stopper which I like to keep and use as water pitchers for dinner parties. This classic dry rose with just a little more plumpness from ripe fruit. Gulpable as all get out. Serve with anything savory.
$19.99 per bottle
2017 Bieler Pere & Fils Aix-En-Provence Rosé, Provence, France
This is one of those easy, breezy little roses that you ought not spend time trying to dissect, just twist the cap and guzzle. Simple fruit, fresh and lively with a lighter mouthfeel, good structure and a clean finish. Simple pleasure in a glass.
$11.99 per bottle
2017 Peyrassol Cuvee De La Commanderie Cotes De Provence Rosé, Provence, France
This wine is quite historic for us as it was one of the first Provencal roses we started stacking around summer time over 20 years ago, which is pretty damn cool and all but this domaine has a history far richer than that. Founded by The Knights Templar and are on record as making wine since 1256. The first bottled and sold wine for the domaine debuted in 1981. Made from Cinsault, Grenache and Syrah this is not only a classic blend for Cotes De Provence rose, on the nose, on the palate, it is utterly perfect Provencal Rose. Gorgeous structure, stains the palate with vibrant fruit and chalky stones. Grace and depth well beyond its price tag.
$19.99 per bottle
2017 Clos Beylesse Cotes De Provence Rosé, Provence, France
The first time we brought this rose in we were a bit nervous that the blue bottle would make people uneasy, like they didn’t know what they were getting, but after a few vintages now people start coming in asking, “When is the blue bottle rose coming?” Made from a blend of Syrah, Grenache and Cinsault and put in a UV protectant blue bottle to ensure that the wine will be fresh, often even a couple of vintages later. Very pale, just barely pink, shimmering with fresh cut melons and delicate herbs. Very lacy and delicate on the palate with a super-fresh finish.
$25.99 per bottle
2017 Chateau Pas Du Cerf Cotes De Provence Rosé, Provence, France
Founded in 1848 this estate has historically been run by the women in the family. We began with this domaine last vintage and it was a slow starter but man did it explode once people tried it. This is the higher tear of the two roses we bring in from this domaine. Made from Grenache, Tibouren, Cinsault and Mourvedre there are some broad shoulders holding up the curvy body. Leaning more to the herbs and chalk here, with citrus and red fruit framing it all. Firm backbone of acid and mineral make this a wonderful wine for salty and meaty dishes.
$17.99 per bottle
2017 Chateau Vannieres Bandol Rosé, Provence, France
Finding any Bandol rose for this price is sort of insane. To find a Bandol rose of this quality for this price, well that is damn near unheard of. The nose gives you that wild, feral thing that only Bandol has. Like wild dried herbs, sun soaked fruit, baked stones and bursting fruit. Expansive on the palate, the wine seems to grow in the mouth but while it is on the full side it remains proper, retrained, regal. There is a reason Bandol is rose nobility, taste this wine and you will know exactly why. Screaming deal.
$24.99 per bottle
2017 Le Pive Gris Sable De Camargue Rosé, Languedoc, France
This playful little pink wine from the Languedoc is certified organic and grown in the sandy soils of Camargue, a region known more for their famed salt than their wine production. Ever question terroir? Bury your nose in a glass of this rose, you can actually smell brine or salt. It’s wicked cool. Made from Grenache Gris, Grenache Noir, Merlot and Cabernet Franc you get a wild range of bright fruit flavors and a zingy, light texture but it is that fun salty thing that stands out and keeps your mouth watering.
$12.99 per bottle
2017 Domaine De Fontsainte Gris De Gris Corbieres Rosé, Languedoc, France
This succulent rose has been here at The Wine Country as long, if not longer than I have and the quality has never dipped, in over 20 years. Grenache Gris, Grenache Noir, Carignan, Cinsault and Mourvedre make up the blend here, each variety lending just enough to the wine to make it interesting but not terribly complex. Like biting into a nice ripe piece of fruit but one that has a splash of lemon juice. Fairly broad in the mouth but with a finish so clean you have to go back for more.
$14.99 per bottle
2017 Bergerie L’Hortus Pic Saint-Loup Rosé, Languedoc, France
This wine has been such a massive success for us for so many years I almost feel like just trying, “This is everything you want in a rose” That or, “Don’t think it, just drink it” But maybe y’all want a little more information. One thing we love about this wine is that it is not a cookie cutter of each vintage. It wears it vintage big and bold on its sleeve. Stamped across its aromas and all over the palate. Always polished and delicious but with wonderful little time stamps of what each vintage brings. Seeing as I have already taken this 2017 home about twice a week since it arrived, well 2017 is a saucy and craveable vintage. Plump fruit upfront with a perfect slice of perky acid, the wine enters your palate, fills your mouth and the acidity trickles in behind it and cleans it all up. Love that.
$13.99 per bottle
2017 Chateau Fontanes Pic Saint-Loup Rosé, Languedoc, France
This is a new estate for us but I was so blown away by the sumptuous texture and tremendous length that it was a no brainer to gobble up a few cases. Built in make up of varieties like a Bandol, Mourvedre and Syrah, I can only think that explains the breadth and amplitude here. Wild strawberry and an asphalt like mineral note on the nose took me right back to warm, lazy summer afternoons, the smell of the hot street beneath my skates as I raced back from the strawberry stand to devour my acquisition. Summer in a glass.
$17.99 per bottle
2017 Chateau Valcombe Epicure Ventoux Rosé, Rhone Valley, France
The wine from Southern Rhone is grown in soils that are pure limestone and has been certified organic since 2013. The composition is 25% each Grenache Noir, Grenache Gris, Cinsault and Syrah. Darker in color but still quite graceful on the palate. There is flint, stones and not-quite-ripe watermelon aromas. Quite dry in the mouth with tons of chalk and a weighty mouthfeel. Great tang on the finish makes this a wine that beckons you back.
$12.99 per bottle
2017 Cave De Tain Premiere Note Rosé de Syrah, Rhone Valley, France
Can’t think of the last time we had a rose of Syrah from the Northern Rhone but if this wine is any indicator of what they are doing up there, well I hope to see lots more. Densely packed fruit, floral notes and a meaty, almost hammy smoke. Sexy little curve on the palate and a floral finish. Yum!
$12.99 per bottle
2017 La Rocaliere Le Classique Tavel Rosé, Rhone Valley, France
This beautiful grenadine colored rose comes a family domaine that is run by two sisters. Deeply colored but still very regal and refined in the mouth. Aromatically you get some smoked meat, ripe berry and flint and on the palate there is a ton of nerve and energy. Don’t back away from the color here folks, this is a truly fine rose that was built for outdoor meals.
$16.99 per bottle
2017 Domaine Gour De Chaule Gigondas Rosé, Rhone Valley, France
Another one of the female driven estates here. Founded in 1900 the winery produced wine but sold it all to the big negociant, it was not until 1970 that the Madame of the domaine started bottling their wine for private clients. Passed down from daughter to daughter we now have this stunningly beautiful Gigondas rose. Somewhat unusual for a southern Rhone rose, first in its paler color and then that it is not Grenache based, as is most of the southern Rhone Valley, the bulk of the blend here is Cinsault with Grenache and Mourvedre making up the rest. This is the kind of wine that evokes images of a corseted frame. All the curves and weight laced up and pulled in tight but with all that flesh just waiting to be untied. Everything there and in all the right places. Palate staining. Mouth filling. Sexy. Period.
$22.99 per bottle
2017 Dyckerhoff Petit Gris Reuilly Rosé, Loire Valley, France
Loire Valley’s region of Reuilly is primarily known for their racy, grapefruited and flinty Sauvignon Blancs, (also called Reuilly by the way) but this is one of a handful of roses we have had/seen from the area. Made from Pinot Gris this wine gets its pale pink color from the skin of the Pinot Gris which are actually red/purple in color. A touch of banana taffy on the nose along with some citrus. The palate is nice and round but still traditionally Loire Valley in lightness. Easy to slurp and great with everything from cured meat, to poached salmon or even things with a tiny bit of spice.
$18.99 per bottle
2017 La Raimbauderie Sancerre Rosé, Loire Valley, France
The Raimbauderie domaine has records of vines planted back 400 years but the ones planted for this racy Sancerre rose were planted in 1996. Instantly you get Sancerre on the nose. Not Pinot Noir but Pinot Noir planted in the limestone rich soils of Sancerre. Flint, tart red fruit, lemon rind and at the end something elegantly floral to round it all out. Zippy with mouth-watering acid and an absolutely sophisticated finish. Grill up some fish, ice a couple of these down and soak it all in.
$24.99 per bottle