Spring and summer are the seasons of rosé. Served chilled and ranging from pale blush to bright ruby in color, these light fruity wines are dangerously easy to enjoy on a hot sunny day.
While any red grape could technically be used to craft these wines, there are a few that have developed a pedigree to make exceptional rosé. Rosés account for vast majority of Provence’s wine production, and the Grenache-based rosés of Côtes de Provence are an absolute classic.
The often pale rosé wines of Provence are blends of at least two different grapes, with Grenache usually being the protagonist. They aren’t overtly fruity on the nose, but rather exhibit aromas that are reminiscent of the sun-kissed flora that grows around the Mediterranean, which the French call garrigue. The palate offers notes of white and golden raspberry moving toward orange fruits, like peach, the longer you savor it.
I indeed had the chance to savor this special varietal many times on my trip to Provence, as sunshine and high temperatures meant that my glass was always full. To kick off the trip, we toasted to new friends before a beautiful dinner on the terrace of Chateau de Mazan. Day two brought a great ride to a traditional market filled with spices, cured meats, olives, fresh bouquets, lavender soaps, and handmade table cloths. After getting lost in the colors, smells, and local conversations on this magnificent Monday morning, we capped off the experience with a chilled glass and laughter. The following day was one for the books: 22 kilometers up Mont Ventoux followed by a stop for gelato in the charming town of Beaumes de Venis. We of course clinked our glasses at the end of the day to celebrate those that conquered the Giant of Provence. I’ll drink to that.
Day four was the most gorge(ous) ride through Gorge de la Nesque, and we ended the day with a wine tasting at Hotel Le Mas de Gordes, overlooking one of the most picturesque villages in France. And finally, on the last day, we cooled off with a refreshing dip in the pool and a taste of ‘rosé piscine’, because only in Provence do they have a particular type of wine to drink by the pool. That evening we upgraded to a 1.5 liter bottle of rosé at dinner, because what better way to cap off the vacation of a lifetime than with a glass of the good stuff.
There’s a reason the common Provencal saying is, “Life is Good Here.” The French countryside is incredibly charming, and together with fabulous wine, its a combination that makes you never want to leave.
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