2015 Château d’Esclans Rock Angel
2015 Château Sainte Marguerite Côtes de Provence La Symphonie
2015 Hecht & Bannier Côtes de Provence Rosé
2015 Domaine Saint Aix Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence Rosé
2015 Domaine de la Sangliere Côtes de Provence Cuvée Spéciale
(All wines were free samples provided for review purposes by Wines of Provence and Calhoun & Company.)
When I was approached to sample and review some rosé wines from Provence, I almost broke my fingers to respond too quickly. This was an easy question, I love these wines. I always have at least a case of Provence rosés in my cellar. A nice rosé isn’t just for a hot summer day, they are outstanding the entire year. If you are not familiar with the rosés from the area, I highly encourage you to check them out. The wines below are a great starting point, but the fun is finding the one that will become your “house rosé”.
Don’t expect a sweet White Zinfandel style of wine, these are usually bone dry and are perfect with a lighter meal or a perfect to serve as guests arrive for a party or just conversation.
For centuries, dry rosé wine has been a staple in the south of France, where it is embraced as the best lunchtime, seaside, and all-occasion wine. Particularly in the coastal Provence region, the heart of the world’s dry rosé production, a passion for dry pink permeates the culture. Provençal citizens know from centuries of wine growing history that vin rosé pairs with all the foods they like, any time of year. In fact, French rosé outsells white wine in France.
Provence, the site of France’s oldest vineyards, is the world’s largest wine region specializing in rosé. The region has a rich rosé tradition, and winemakers today are the beneficiaries of the region’s collective knowledge and time-honored techniques. Since rosé is a delicate wine and one of the most difficult to produce with success, these long-established traditions remain entirely relevant. The area’s deep-rooted rosé culture goes a long way toward explaining why the world’s best rosés still come from Provence.
Much more information on the region, the wineries and their wines is available on their website.
See below for a link to a free download of a recipe book full of great food to serve with these wines.
Here is the line up of wines for this post:
2015 Château d’Esclans Rock Angel – SRP $35
This wine is a blend of Grenache and Vermentino (Rolle). After a manual harvest the grapes go through a manual and optical sorting. This wine is 50% stainless steel fermented 50% crafted in oak barrels. Temperature controlled.
The wine is a bright salmon pink color. The crisp and clean nose has strawberries, cherries, crushed stone minerals, white peach, leafy herbs and orange blossoms. This has medium body with crisp acidity. On the palate bright bruit, minerals and leafy herbs jump out first with white peach and orange blossoms coming in later. The finish has great length with juicy citrusy acidity. This is a step or two above your normal Rosé. This has 14.0% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork. (93 pts)
2015 Château Sainte Marguerite Côtes de Provence La Symphonie – SRP $18
This is a blend of 40% Grenache, 40% Cinsault and 20% Syrah. The grapes were both mechanically and manually harvested, with the majority being harvested mechanically. This organic wine went through a cold skin contact maceration before pressing and a temperature controlled vinification. The wine was aged in vats on fine lees before being fined and filtered before bottling.
The wine is a bright salmon pink color. The refreshing nose has strawberries, cherries, stony minerals, melon, orange blossoms and citrus zest. This has light to medium body with crisp acidity. This is dry on the palate with strawberries, minerals and cherries on the front end with melon and orange blossoms coming in later. The finish has nice length with a touch of citrus zest leading you to grab another sip. This would be great with a light meal on the deck or patio on a sunny day or as something to sip before a festive meal with friends. This has 12.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a man made stopper. (90 pts)
2015 Hecht & Bannier Côtes de Provence Rosé – SRP $18.00
This is a blend of 45% Grenache, 40% Cinsault and 15% Syrah. The grapes are harvested between 3:00 AM and 9:00 AM to avoid oxidation and to preserve the fresh characteristics. The grapes are kept below 50F° for sorting and destemming to preserve the light color. Vinification is mainly in stainless steel with frequent batonnage until bottling.
The wine is a bright salmon pink color. The fresh and inviting nose has cherries, strawberries, wet stone minerals, white peach, orange zest, fennel and anise. This has light to medium body with good acidity and just a hint of lingering sweetness. On the palate strawberry, cherry and minerals quickly take control with white peach and fennel coming in later. The long finish adds orange zest and a hint of anise. This is a crisp wine with just enough sweetness to add a bit of weight and make it extremely easy to sip. This would be great on a sunny day sitting on the patio or deck. This has 13.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a glass stopper. (90 pts)
2015 Domaine Saint Aix Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence Rosé – SRP $15.00
This wine is a blend of 60% Grenache, 20% Syrah and 20% Cinsault. Only the best grapes were harvested under optimal weather conditions to ensure perfect balance between the sugar and acidity. When the grapes reached the cellar it was still the cool morning ensuring the retention of all the fruit flavors, minerality and freshness.
The wine is a light salmon color. The nose reminds me of Spring full of strawberries, white flowers, white peach, crushed stones and a hint of leafy herb. This has light to medium body with crisp acidity and perhaps just a touch of sweetness. On the palate strawberries, minerals and white peach jump out immediately with a nice floral note and a touch of leafy herb coming in on the back end. The finish has great length with nice, mouthwatering acidity leading you to grab another sip. A wonderful rosé to pair with a light meal or to sip on its own on a sunny day. This has 13.0% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a man made closure. (91 pts)
2015 Domaine de la Sangliere Côtes de Provence Cuvée Spéciale – SRP $15.00
This wine is a blend of 60% Grenache and 40% Cinsault.
The wine is a light salmon pink color. The enticing nose has cherries, strawberries, white peach, orange blossoms, sea breeze, stony minerals and a hint of leafy herbs. This has medium body with good acidity and just of hint of lingering sweetness. Nice red fruit, minerals, orange blossoms and a slight saline element quickly coat your palate with white peach coming in later. The finish has very good length with a subtle herbal note providing depth. This is extremely easy to drink and would be perfect with a lighter meal on a sunny day or as an aperitif before a festive dinner. This has 13.0% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a man made “cork”. (90 pts)
These wines are perfect for a nice sunny day but they are also without peer any time of the year. These wines are very food friendly with a wide range of foods. Any serious wine consumer should have a few stashed away for any special occasion, like a Tuesday evening. The wines are available everywhere at very wallet friendly prices, some under $10.
Since you’ve read this far, I wanted to point out a download full of delicious recipes perfect with these wines from their website. Click here to download.
Calhoun & Company enjoys a diverse portfolio of wine and spirits clients. From family owned to corporate managed, luxury to everyday priced, small lot wines to nationally distributed, Napa to Oporto, we thrive on the varied media opportunities each of these categories presents. We are exceptionally proud of the breadth and depth of our practice, as illustrated by this partial list of brands we have worked with over the past 13 years. For more information, visit their website.
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Notes – I use the “official” Cellar Tracker name for the wines. I use Cellar Tracker to help manage and organize my cellar. I highly recommend checking it out at www.cellartracker.com. Loading you existing cellar is a lot less intimidating than it would first appear. There is a good chance 99% of your wine is already in the system, so you generally only need to enter part of the wine’s name and the system will find it for you.
Prices noted are the prices I paid at the time of purchase. I don’t shop around to find the best prices, but always check out the sale and close out items when in a store. Wines purchased direct from a winery do not include any shipping charges. None of the prices include the sales tax.
All wines that were sent to me free of charge to sample will be noted and I will show suggested prices when available.