Drinking Pink :: Vins de Provence 2012
Organic vineyard Château Margüi boasts a special status as a spot between Aix-en-Provence and Saint Tropez where wine has been produced from at least the time of the Roman Empire.
Château Margüi had two wines to sample, a white and a rosé. (The vineyard also produces a red.) The white, which is mostly Vermentino with 8% Ugni Blanc, is matured in oak, and has an oaky, butterscotchy taste with a hint of something more exotic--saffron, perhaps--and a floral aroma.
The Château Margüi rosé is a 50-50 proposition, made from equal measures of Grenache and Cinsault. Its pale color belies the rich nose that awaits; the flavor is sweet, light, and complex, with a floral forward character.
Château Miraval is almost literally a rock star among vineyards: The estate once served as a recording studio for bands such as Pink Floyd, thanks to its previous owner’s other job as a jazz pianist. In celebration of its musically storied histoire, Château Miraval has a rosé wine named after the band, which recorded part of its classic album "The Wall" on the estate.
Pink Floyd is made from Cinsault and Grenache. Like many aficionados of driving, loud music, it has a young character, but it is not as audacious as one might fear; rather, it is soft and mellow.
The musical motif is present also with Play Bach, the estate’s red wine, made from Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. This cuvée has a sandpaper-dry nose, but when it hits the tongue it unleashes an explosion of flavors: Dark fruits, chocolate, a lingering oakiness that comes from the wine spending half of its maturation in barrels.
Another red wine produced by Château Miraval is La Mascaronne, which shares a dark fruit character but also offers a tannic character with a hint of leather.
Clara Lua is the estate’s white, and they produced so much of it that it was actually something of a strain on the estate. But the result made it all worthwhile: Clara Lua erupts with a sweet rush, bearing a character of wood and lingering with a long caramel finish.
Domaine de Rimauresq
Domaine de Rimauresqu offered two rosés and two reds for tasting.
The first red, Petit Rimauresq, made from Mourvèdre, Syrah, and Carignan, is a dry, rich, complex wine both in the nose and on the tongue. A jammy mouthfeel gives way to a leathery and supple character; this red was a five star experience.
The Cru Classe Cabernet, made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Grenache, is more tannic and not as soft at the Petit Rimaresq, but its Cab-forward character still makes for a complex and rewarding glass.
The Petit Remaresq rosé is a very bright and jammy wine made from Grenache, along with Cinsault and Carignan. The official description called it "dry and dusty," which may account for the sense that everything here was in the nose.
But the Rimauresq Classique rosé was more flavorful and complex, with a red fruit flavor and a mineral character.
Domaine du Grand Cros / Jules Wines
"When I pulled the cork, I was so flooded with red fruit!" exclaimed Ellisa Cooper, the rep for Domaine de Grand Cros / Jules Wines, as she handed EDGE a glass of the winemaker’s Esprit de Provence, a rosé made from Grenache, Cinsault, and Carignan.
The nose and flavor were bright with notes of red berries--strawberry, raspberry--but the wine was not overly sweet. Indeed, it proved to be surprisingly rich, living up to the official description that called it "well balanced, elegant, and creamy."
The company’s other rosé, Jules, was also made from Grenache, Cinsault, and Carignan, along with about 5% Tibouran. This wine registered the Cinsault before all else, with a fragrant peach and citrus nose that offset its minerality to pleasant effect.
Domaine de Grand Cros / Jules Wines also had an Esprit de Provence red on hand that proved quite dry and possessed plentiful body. The flavor was restrained--"austere," Cooper called it--but notes of spice and pepper kept it lively.