Enjoy the taste of southern France with these rosé wines | Alistair Gibson
It looks like summer holidays abroad may be a little difficult again this year but perhaps if we can’t travel, at least we can open some wines that will remind us where we would like to be.
The south of France is somewhere I’d certainly like to go for a few days and given that summer has possibly arrived at last, a glass of chilled rosé would offer the opportunity to ‘day dream’ for a little while. Rosé almost seems to have become an essential part of a British summer and of course it is Provence Rosé that is very much the rosé wine to drink.
Provence Rosé is distinctively pale in colour, and if imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then the worldwide rise in the production of pale rosé speaks volumes.
Rosé in Provence is made mainly from a combination of red grapes such as syrah, grenache and cinsault, sometimes with a little vermentino added to the blend. It is also a very food-friendly style, it works well with Mediterranean tomato-based cuisine, and is a particularly good friend with barbecued foods.
Maison Castel Côtes de Provence Rosé 2020 (Waitrose £8.99 on offer from £13.49) is a good introduction to the region. Pale in colour with simple red fruits and a touch of citrus on the nose, followed by a lively, fresh palate with more red fruits and a crisp, dry finish.
It is fairly simple wine but there is nothing wrong with that on a warm summers days.
I took part in a Zoom wine tasting with the winemaker at Château de l’Escarelle recently and the estate’s Château de l’Escarelle Les Deux Anges 2020, Coteaux Varois en Provence (wine-boutique.co.uk £17, kwoff.co.uk £15.99) was for me the standout. This is organic wine and has quite a high proportion of syrah with smaller quantities of grenache and cinsault. It is very pale in colour with red fruits, nectarine, some tropical fruits and a little spice on the nose, followed by an almost creamy palate and a very fresh, zesty finish.
I stayed at Chateau La Mascaronne a few years ago and this remains one of my favourite producers in the region. Château La Mascaronne Rosé 2020, Côtes de Provence (Hermitage Cellars £16.25) is another organic wine and is now part of the same stable as the famous Bordeaux estate Chateau Cos d’Estournel. Beautifully packaged, it offers aromas of wild strawberries, spice, ripe peaches and orchard blossom, the palate is beautifully balanced with red fruits and pink grapefruit acidity before a long tantalising finish. This is totally delicious and would match a simple grilled fish.