It is still Summertime & it has been hot! Translation–a very we bottle of delicious rosé please.
2014 Ravaille Ermitage du Pic St Loup Rosé–Not that long ago, the Languedoc winegrowing region of southern France was considered by many to be a sea of mediocre wine. Over the past 25 or so years, however, very determined wine importers, such as the iconic Kermit Lynch, have been searching out & finding a growing number of small family wine estates who own & farm some very interesting parcels & produce some very interesting wines. Such is the case here. The Ravaille family, for example, have resided in this nook for well over 1,000 years & it was by no accident therefore that they selected their specific parcels to start their wine adventure. “The unique soils from the Ravaille’s higher-altitude vineyard slopes on the Pic St Loup is a collision of soils between the dominant marly limestone and dolomite; red and white clay, sand, schist, and round galets, which has happened over the eons”. Although I had been a fan of their fascinating red “country” wines for quite some time, it really is their rosé which recently really caught our full attention. The 2014 is 30% Syrah, 30% Grenache, 30% Mourvèdre, 10% Cinsault. All making for a very unique, yet wonderfully delicious pink wine.
2015 Clos Sainte Magdeleine Cassis Rosé–Cassis is a seaport village located on the coast of Provence, France. Clos Ste. Magdeleine. Founded in 1860, the Sack-Zafiropulos family have been running this estate for 4 generations. This winery first came on my radar screen because of its iconic white wine, which many insiders would say is the quintessential pairing with bouillabaisse, the world renown regional fish stew/soup of Cassis & elsewhere throughout southern France. On at least 2 separate visits to the domaine, while we did taste the white & the rosé, we would only buy the white. Only in the past few years has the family really stepped up their game to produce a standout rosé, so much so, the wine is now apparently quite allocated. In fact, in just a short time, I now think this has become one of our absolute favorites PINK wines from anywhere in the world–because of its deliciousness & remarkable ethereal-ness, which creates interesting, mesmerizing minerality & buoyancy in the resulting wine. I also like how despite its limestone crispness, this wine additionally has a roundness & interesting viscosity that I love. Yes, this is a wine well worth seeking out! By the way, the 2015 is 40% Grenache, 40% Cinsault, 20% Mourvèdre, fermented & aged in stainless steel with NO ML whatsoever. Here is one of the best quotes aptly coined for this estate & its wines–“Clos Sainte Magdeleine’s success lies in an uncanny ability to capture a dichotomous nerve and sun-kissed unctuousness in their wines, making them both incredibly food-friendly and delicious entirely on their own“.
2013 Yves Leccia Rosé “Ile de Beaute”–Here is a VERY masculine style of Corsican rosé , produced from a heritage massale selection of Niellucciu, direct pressed & sees NO ML. Throughout the Corsican challenging, rugged terrain, we have seen & tasted quite a few really good, hearty, rugged Niellucciu based red wines. It is therefore quite understandable then that a Niellucciu based rosé would be masculine in its profile. While that may true, thankfully the combination of chalk & schist bedrock soils the vines grown in gives the wine a mesmerizing minerality & Yves Leccia’s masterful winemaking results in a wine that has surprising elegance, class & refinement. As the importer recently noted–“Yves Leccia has a certain presence and noble bearing to him, much like his wines, which are often referred to as the “Rolls-Royce” of Corsican wines, a reputation earned after nearly 30 years of making consistently elegant and sophisticated wines. Yves decided to branch off on his own in 2004 and focus on the single terroir he felt was the top in Patrimonio. This terroir, “E Croce,” sits on a thin chalk soil above a thick bedrock of pure schist, facing the gulf of St. Florent”.
2014 Chateau d”Esclans Rosé “Rock Angel”–One of the world’s true superstar PINK wine producers, under the direction of Sasha Lichine & long time superstar Bordeaux enologist Patrick Leon with a almost rock star kind of status & therefore following. Imagine, for instance, a rosé getting a 98 point rating? Yes, this rosé project has certainly created quite a splash on to the world wine scene with their multiple bottlings of Provencal pink wines. I thought the first few vintages I tasted of their “go to wine”, “Whispering Angel”, was much better than the current bottlings. I also thought their crown jewel bottling, “Garrus”, was just too much for me, both in amplification & in price ($80 a bottle). The “Rock Angel” bottling has settled into quite a sweet spot, although still seemingly quite pricey at $38 or so a bottle). When one considers however, top level Californian Chardonnays sell for even more dollars, then this wine certainly over delivers for the dollar. Mainly Grenache with some Rolle blended in (although I think there is some Cinsault too)—just the free run juice with some slight first press is used—then aged in demi muids (600 liter) & stainless steel.