Chateau de Selle Rosé 2011
A gorgeous pale colour with the slightest bronze hue, a juicy vibrant mineralic fruit nose of red berries, slightly creamy and savoury, and on the palate had a bold yet elegant structure and great purity and freshness.
Chateau Romassan (Bandol) Rosé 2011
Darker colour with the same bronze hue, on the nose was slightly wilder and more impetuous, showing fruits of dark cherries and candied pomegranates, and expressed more tannin texture and depth on the palate.
Clos Mireille Rosé 2011
Significantly more subdued in all aspects compared to the other two, which can possibly be explained by the fact that this wine is only a recent addition to the range, the estate being more traditionally used for the white wine. What it does have in spades is the crispness and freshness of a youthful rosé wine, with balance and integrity, but not showing true personality yet.
Blanc de Blancs 2010
Blend of 70% semillon and 30% rolle, and aromatically had a fascinating combination of pineapple, green peach, spice and saltiness, very expressive indeed. On the palate the wine had a creamy and nutty texture, almost like coconut skin, and had some complex oxidative notes from the maturation in large mature oak casks.
Chateau Romassan Bandol Rouge 2009
51% mouvedre, and aromatically showed blackberries, lotus, spice and some rustic fungal notes, and on the palate had vibrant but brooding fruit and tannins, still managing to keep things fresh and yet complex.
Some of the Domaine Ott wines
The Bandol Rosé 2011
70% mouvedre and 30% cinsault, and had a ripe savoury cherry and pumpkin spice nose, with some complex aromas of cured salty meat, whilst on the palate had very fresh and vibrant texture and warmth, with great balance and acidity with some nutty and cheesy notes on the back.
Les Retanques de Pibarnon Rouge 2009
Fascinatingly complex nose combining spice, game, dark fruits and even some pickled red onions. On the palate the wine was quite light and fresh, with good intensity and spicy tannins.
Chateau Pibarnon Rouge 2009
Very wild and feral game nose with spiced dark cherry and rhubarb, and introduced some shiitake broth elements too. Impossibly complex on the palate with full and mellow tannins and spicy fruit, but in spite of the complexity was very approachable.
Chateau Pibarnon Rouge 2008
Even more complex, showing some nut and popcorn, cinnamon, cumin and red curry aromas with star anise and red liquorice. On the palate the wine had focus, drive and precision from the concentrated acids and fruit, showing the red cherry and pomegranate freshness with good savoury elements too.
Chateau Pibarnon Rouge 2001
Developing some floral elements over time, and on the palate was decidedly silkier in the tannins, but no less focused and driven, developing some delicious mature savoury notes.
Chateau de Pibarnon range
Provence is yet another of those regions that is often thought of in one general way and also associated with a particular type of wine; rosé. Like so many other regions it is impossible to think of this region as one thing, because it is not only very large (one of the largest in France), but extremely diverse in terms of micro-climates, soil types, aspects and altitudes. Wine styles can differ, as can philosophies about the making of the wine. Many of the vineyards of Provence are individual growers who are part of a cooperative, which at the moment is churning out very simple, thin and watery rosé which is fuelling a very large global market for refreshing aperitif wine that can be served very cold, sometimes with an ice-cube. Whilst this type of wine may be reflective of the market in general, and a reflection of the warm weather enjoyed in this part of Europe, it is not necessarily reflective of the many parts of Provence. From the coast to the forest-covered mountains, Provence has the potential to produce a great range of wines, from as many different varieties. A number of smaller producers are committed to this, and several appelations have sprung up in the last 50 years, two of which I visited today to learn more.
|Gnarly vines at Domaine de Triennes
Some places on the planet have been blessed with immortality as tourism hotspots, and are so popular you wonder what all the fuss is about. These are the kinds of places that hard-core travellers avoid, for some obvious and not so obvious reasons. The obvious reasons are they tend to be tourist traps, where you are commonly charged exorbitant prices for mediocre quality and service. These places are also filled with tourists, who can be loud and obnoxious, and cause you to wait in lines to see some of the highlight attractions. There must be however, a reason why these places became so popular, whether it be culture, history, beauty or all of the above. One place I have been to where it is almost not worth the effort is Venice, a place where no-one really lives and works apart from feeding the insatiable tourism industry. Many of these places are so charming and beautiful that you are willing to forego the prices hikes and crowds, such as Rome, New York and Rio de Janeiro. The Cote d’Azur or the Provencal cost has been one of the most popular places for tourism in France for centuries, and is certainly well deserving of this honour. The coast itself is simply stunning, sometimes with mountains sitting merely metres away from the shore. When I first visited France in July 2010, I remember driving up the motorway back to Lyon after visiting Chateauneuf-du-Pape, and seeing the bumper-to-bumper traffic heading south. Now I understand what all these people were willing to undertake, as even a few days here has a rejuvenatory effect on you. Luckily the region also makes some stunning wines, and is the home of an entire style of wine; rosé. To put it into perspective how important this wine style is to Provence, they produce more rosé than Australia produces wine.
|What will these little gems become?