The SOMM Journal

February/March 2015

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Page 60 of 92

60 { THE SOMM JOURNAL } FEBRUARY/MARCH 2015 I smoke pot and I drink rosé. Not so long ago, admitting to either at a dinner party would brand you a liber- tine. Nowadays, partaking sensibly in one or both isn't gauche, it's downright gourmet. Thankfully, the last major wine-drinking nation has come around to the beauties of pink. And green isn't far behind, but what do I know?— according to the Ishihara Color Test, I'm moderate deuteranomate. This $3 word for my 50¢ red-green color vision means that while most of humanity eas- ily distinguishes hues, I've always confused reds, greens, browns, oranges and so on. Upon booking my trip to Provence, a region heralded as much for its painterly light as its perfumed wines, I summoned my ophthalmologist to see what he could do. A week later, he fitted one eye with a special contact lens, a red filter that turned my blue iris a devilish shade and cranked up life's luminance, saturation and contrast by 25–40%. Armed with my own sor t of rosé-colored glasses, I bolted for Cézanne country. What I discovered upon landing was so engaging and seduc- tive, that I accidentally jettisoned my jacket beside a pétanque court—along with my wallet, phone and passport—perhaps so I'd never have to leave. That some bon Samaritan in Saint-Tropez kindly returned my suede coat and essentials says much about the laissez-faire Provençal. That someone still kept my iPhone5 and vintage lapel pin says much about the stylish and opportunis- tic Mediterranean vibe. BEYOND TERROIR Along for this exploration of a legendary countryside, four impeccable American sommeliers: Jordan Egan (The NoMad, NYC), Matthew Wir tala (Bellagio, Las Vegas), Cindy Woodman (Café Boulud, Palm Beach) and Devin Zendel (db Brasserie, Las Vegas). All five of us might've gone in anticipating a breezy introduction to the official wine of summer, but instead we came away with unexpected revelations and a true, year-round rosé reverence. Even if you haven't personally felt the wintry-fierce Mistral winds, basked in sunset's lacy shadows at the brand-new MuCEM in Marseille, or meditated beside Mary Magdalene's 2000-year-old relics at her crypt in Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume, the wines of Provence embody these moments. Like minerality and acidity, the Côte d'Azure lifestyle is encoded in Provence's terroir. "This trip heightened my senses, expanded my mind," said Zendel, an Advanced-level sommelier. "And the breadth of iterations, not just the rosé, but the Rolle and the reds were a huge surprise." Stop, Drop & ROLLE story and photos by Jason Tesauro Les Gros & Petit Bessillon mountains overlook Château La Calisse in Provence.

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