It’s almost summer. The weather is warming up, the evenings are longer, and the patio furniture’s been dusted off and gracing our backyards and decks. It’s time for casual dinners on the barbecue, picnics by the water, and fresh, summery drinks. It’s time for rosé.
Mind you, I drink rosés all year round, it’s my favourite wine. I love it for colours that can range from pale peach to pink to raspberry hues, and for dry, yet fully fruity depths that can call to mind everything from citrus to melon to berries, and more. So when I was asked to attend a wine tasting featuring rosés from Provence – I jumped at the opportunity. Rosé heaven, for me!
I joined a group of wine aficionados at Bistro 101, the renowned restaurant operated by the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts, and was treated to a lively presentation by François Millo and Viktorija Todorovska, authors of Provence Food and Wine – The Art of Living.
The book, literally hot off the press, combines a thorough history of Provence and its wine regions with almost 50 local recipes ideally suited to Provence rosés.
Some facts I didn’t know:
- Provence produces 40% of France’s rosé – some 141 million bottles in 2013 alone
- Worldwide consumption of rosé has increased 11.3% in the past eight years
- France leads the world in rosé consumption, but North America is embracing dry rosé instead of sweet blush wine
- Across Canada, volume sales of rosé have almost doubled from 2004 to 2013 according to the Association of Canadian Distillers, and is projected to rise by 7% in the next two years
- In BC alone, the Provence rosé category has grown by a whopping 44.5% over the past 12 months
After the presentation, came the tasting of eight very diverse rosés, with food pairings prepared by the hard-working PICA chefs.
Here are the 2013 vintages we enjoyed:
- Sables d’Azure $21.50
- Mirabeau Classique $23.99
- Rouvière $19.99
- Brigue Provence $19.99
- Domaine Houchart $17.99
- Cuvée Nuit Blanche $27.99
- Cuvée Marina $29.99
- Quat’Saisons $24.95
While all of the wines were very enjoyable and reflected the light, fruity, aromatic and dry characteristics of a Provence rosé, I definitely had some favourites.
I loved the Sables d’Azure for its light, crisp taste with hints of strawberry and peach and slightly peppery finish. It was perfectly paired with a chorizo-wrapped fig. Lovely.
I also liked the Rouvière from Chateau Routas for its light taste and drinkability. The proscuitto and melon skewer brought out notes of melon in the wine. Surprisingly different and delicious.
I won’t lie – what caught my eye first, was the Cuvée Marina’s distinctive bottle. But what was inside didn’t disappoint. I sipped this wine on its own, and liked it for its pronounced fruit and floral nose. It would make a great dinner wine.
Last, but certainly not least, I thoroughly enjoyed the Quat’Saisons for being fuller-bodied (I like what I call ‘chewy’ wines), and more complex. It paired beautifully with a luscious phyllo tart filled with ratatouille and mushrooms.
With the exception of the Sables d’Azure, all of the rosé wines above are available through your local BC Liquor Stores, which are featuring rosé wines throughout the month of June. The Sables d’Azure and Mirabeau are available at independent wine merchants including Liberty. I encourage you to give them a try, fire up the grill and settle in on your patio and soak in the summer sun. If you’re thirsty for more info, visit vinsdeprovence.com and follow @winesofprovence on Twitter.
As for me, since I don’t have a patio, I’m going to invite myself to my friends’ patios instead armed with a bottle or two!