The Tasting Panel magazine

April 2015

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Page 44 of 140

44  /  the tasting panel  / april 2015 FRANCE A rising tide lifts all boats is an aphorism that neatly applies to the winegrow- ing economy of Provence. The red and white wines—from region whose identity has been associated with pink wine since it was settled by the Phoenicians in 600 BCE—are riding to shore on a growing wave of Provençal rosé. According to the Conseil Interprofessionnel des Vins de Provence (CIVP), 2014 marks the 11th consecutive year of double-digit market growth for rosé in the U.S. and retail sales of premium rosé wines—now averaging about $17 a bottle—have jumped by 53% in value. While most Provençal rosé is produced in the south and is still being consumed in France, American consumers are clearly on board and eagerly trading up. "With this increasing demand, more Provence rosé producers are bringing their wines to the U.S. As a result, there are more styles to choose from than ever before," said François Millo, who directs the CIVP. The visibility of premium rosé is drawing more attention to the red and white wines that are emerging from cooler sites in northern Provence. While much of the region south of Avignon falls under the Côtes du Rhône administration, of the 19 communes that can append their names to Côtes du Rhône Villages, four— Cairanne, Roaix, Sablet and Séguret—actually lie within Provence, as do the Côtes du Ventoux and Côtes du Luberon. Reds produced from the northern-most sites in Coteaux d'Aix-en-Provence (just over an hour south) carry that AOP. Whether under the banner of Rhône or Provence, these red wine producers are focused squarely on capturing the specific qualities of their Provençal terroirs. Côtes du Luberon follows an east-west range of mountains that covers 36 communes at the very heart of the area made famous by Peter Mayle in A Year in Provence. At Domaine de la Citadelle in Ménerbes, Alexis Rousset Rouard produces Syrah-dominant reds and fresh whites from gravelly, limestone terroirs. "Luberon is a mountain that encloses a hill [La Colline] and vines are planted on the northern and southern expositions along the Durance River," said Rouard. His aromatic GSM blend 2013 Le Chastangier ($16) was peppery and smoky with red plums and camphor while a Grenache/Syrah blend 2012 Les Artèmes ($16) was ripe but not heavy with sweet brown spice and darker fruit. Sylvain Morey, from the Burgundian family of Chassagne, came to the region in 2002 and established Bastide du Claux, which sits at 1,000 meters in altitude in the Luberon National Park. He uses Burgundian techniques to produce white blends under the label that show lavender, white stone fruit and structure and floral, blue- fruited GSM blends that are fresh and crisp, like the spicy 2010 L'Orientale. The well-known father and daughter team of Jean-Pierre and Nathalie Margan of Domaine de la Canorgue are sixth-generation winegrowers whose organic estate was built on an ancient Roman villa and an underground aqueduct. Low yields are a hallmark for the estate and evidenced in the 2013 Luberon Blanc ($16), which was mineral and floral, while the 2012 Lúberon Rouge ($16) was rich and juicy with fine medium-weight tannins. Marrenon, a well-regarded co-operative of 1,200 producers from Luberon and Ventoux, is producing site-specific blends of Grenache and Syrah under their Grand Toque and Grand Marrenon labels from higher-elevation sites on Mont A Rising Tide ROSÉ CARRIES THE REDS OF NORTHERN PROVENCE TO SHORE by Deborah Parker Wong An impressive corkscrew museum at Domaine de la Citadelle chronicles Alexis Rousset Rouard's family history as winegrowers. Grenache from 100-year- old vines is one of the sig- nature wines produced by Marrenon, a co-operative making site-specific wines in Ventoux and Luberon. continued on page 46 >>

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