Summer afternoons are just not complete without a splash of Provence rosé -- a pale pink-orange wine from the picturesque southern French region on the Côte d’Azur, famous for sunshine, glamour, and rosé.
These light and crisp wines have just the slightest touch of bright berry and peach flavours that can be delightful on their own or can complement a summer meal perfectly.
Today we review three Provencal rosés from Domain Fabre, a fifth-generation family firm with 6 chateaux including two Cru Classés in the Côte de Provence. In the early 20th Century, Henri Fabre became known as a pioneer in selling and producing rosés from Provence.
Fabre then went one step further and purchased Chateau de l’Aumérade in 1932. That estate had become one of France’s Henry IV favourites and he introduced it to his French Court, boosting rosé’s reputation among the wealthy class.
In 1955, thanks to Fabre’s improvements to the vineyard and winemaking, the Chateau was awarded the title of Cru Classé, which only 18 properties in Provence can claim. Today, the Fabre family is the largest exporter of Cru Classé Rosé, exporting 35 per cent of their wines.
Fabre’s 2020 Chateau de l’Aumérade Côtes de Provence Cru Classé Marie Christine; SKU 110307 ($28.99; “91 points”) is produced from Cinsault, Grenache and Syrah grapes. The skittle shape of the bottle really grabs your attention. It was designed in 1956 by Henri Fabre’s wife, Charlotte and each new vintage has a fashionable Marie Christine, Fabre’s granddaughter and now chateau owner, painted on the bottle.
A beautiful pink salmon colour also attracts your attention as does the floral, berry, and stone fruit bouquet. On the palate, there are elegant flavours of peach, nectarine, and strawberry, all with lively acidity, silky medium body and very long finish. Lip-smacking wonderful! Available at BCL Stores at Ironwood, Marpole, and 39th Avenue and Cambie Street
The 2020 Chateau de L'Aumérade Style SKU 110302 ($22.99; (“87 points”) is a Speculative product that is not listed in all BCLStores. It’s a brand new rosé for Domain Fabre and is a blend of Cinsault, Grenache, and Syrah grown on limestone. As expected there is a faint orange /pink colour with a delicate nose of red berry and stone fruit that really opened up with time in a decanter.
The fruit-forward flavours of rhubarb strawberry, peach and nectarine were enjoyable. Its acidity was softer than the other two roses but it was still ample. The L’ Aumérage Style ended with a fruity minerally finish. It also can be found at the Alberni & Bute government store or order by the case at any BCLS.
Next was the Château de la Deidière SKU 110299 ($23.49; “89 points”). Made from Carignan, Cinsault, Grenache, and, Syrah grown on chalky soil, this rosé had the palest pink colour but it possessed a seductive bouquet of orange blossom, citrus and berry. There are delicious flavours of ripe strawberry, lemon and orange on the palate, which is all balanced by the crisp acidity and a long ethereal finish.
The Chateau de la Deidière is also a Spec product and can be found at the Alberni & Bute government store or order by the case at any BCL Store.
Provence rosé is an excellent apéritif with Mediterranean flavours: Provençal pizza, tapenade, anchovy paste, charcuterie, and focaccia. At the table, it pairs well with salmon, chicken or Nicoise salad, and medium-rare lamb.
Be sure to chill it in the fridge for several hours and leave it at room temperature for 15 minutes before pouring and enjoying it. And remember, Provence rosés are consumer-friendly any time of year. À votre santé!
Eric Hanson is a life-long Richmond resident, retired teacher and wine educator. Eric has also taught wine appreciation courses in Richmond and throughout Metro Vancouver for many years. He continues to be a journalistic ambassador for the enchanting world of wine through his weekly column.