The SOMM Journal

April / May 2018

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Page 18 of 108

18 { THE SOMM JOURNAL } APRIL/MAY 2018 { the ransom report } The Ransom Report is a column by The Somm Journal's East Coast Editor David Ransom. In each issue, David will discuss what's currently on his mind and in his glass gathered from conversations and experiences in the world of wine, spirits, and hospitality. { the ransom report } Embracing the Lifestyle AS GLOBAL PRODUCTION OF ROSÉ INCREASES, CÔTES DE PROVENCE STILL LEADS THE CATEGORY by David Ransom I TOOK LAST year off from writing about rosé. Was my input missed? Probably not. That said, my self-styled sabbatical does not mean I didn't partake in the category my- self or advise friends on which brands to buy. I am a huge fan, after all—myself and the rest of the world, apparently! With so many rosés now available from all over the globe, I think it's more important than ever to understand the category and its origins. With this mission in mind, I visited the Côtes de Provence last fall to learn firsthand how "Provençal rosé"—that ethere - ally-light, salmon-colored, easy-drinking wine of summer, which my mother sagely refers to as "lifestyle wine"—continues to be the benchmark effort all regions and producers strive to emulate. Here some key insights I took home: With a history in the category dating back more than a century, the Côtes de Provence actually defines itself as a rosé production region first. According to the Con - seil Interprofessionnel des Vins de Provence (CIVP) wine council, the region claims 89 percent of its wine production is associated with rosé. It makes sense, then, that Côtes de Provence producers have rosé foremost in mind in both their vineyards and wineries; in the former, they earmark specific plots for rosé and ripen their Grenache and Syrah to lower rather than higher sugar levels, making the varieties optimal for rosé production. These wines are far from an afterthought: Instead of being made from excess fruit that didn't make the grade for the region's red wines, they're literally made into rosé from the ground up. In an effort to maintain Côtes de Provence's impeccably-high standards of quality, the CIVP runs the Centre du Rosé, a research lab in the Vidauban commune that's dedicat - ed to maintaining—and raising—the bar for the category on an international stage. The lab is open not only to all member wineries, but to any producer in the world seeking to send in samples for evaluation. This happens quite frequently, as the CIVP believes that when everyone makes better wine, everyone wins. While in the Côtes de Provence, I was fortunate enough to find a remarkably pas - sionate legion of people whose collective vision of rosé's potential has made their particular version the most respected—and consumed—in the world. So, this spring and summer, enjoy that glass of rosé regardless of where it's from, but take a moment to give credit where it's due: It's thanks to this dedicated group of "pink crusaders" in the south of France that the category now exists anywhere else. PHOTO COURTESY OF DOMAINE DE RIMAURESQ France's Domaine de Rimauresq is owned by the Wemyss family, who also owns the Wemyss Malts brand of blended Scotch whiskies. PHOTO COURTESY OF CONSEIL INTERPROFESSIONNEL DES VINS DE PROVENCE The vineyards at Domaine du Ruoët in the Côtes de Provence.

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