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FOOD & DRINK


Rosé Tinted Spectaculars


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Our wine master Rod Smith takes a look at Provence and the quality rosé produced in this region offering his tips of vineyards to look out for with his top five rosé wines


he Riviera – as well as being the global hub for summer yachting - is also home to one of the world’s most


definitive wine styles: Provence rosé. The two go together like summer and sunshine.


Provence is a little too warm and sunny to produce balanced red wines. It’s not just temperature - there are plenty of hotter places where wine is made - but an excess of sunshine can make the grapes go over-ripe before sufficient sugars have built up in them. This is the reason why, historically, a lot of the grapes here are made in to rosé (in effect a white-style wine made from black grapes, if you think about it). Even a little further west, in Languedoc, the dominance is for red wines, partly because it is cooled by so much more wind.


Provence is pretty-much the only place in the wine world where rosé has always been taken seriously. Apart from isolated pockets in northern Spain (for the same reason), Provence is the only place where the best vineyards are given over to rosé production.


The fact that Provence is so adept at making great dry rosé wines very beautifully dovetails with the local food. Flavours of olive (from grassy virgin olive oil right to intense tapenade) really prefer more flavour than most white wines can offer, and yet benefit from being accompanied by something cold.


2019 was a superb vintage for Provence, so the new crop of rosés just released are very possibly the best ever! Five producers to look out for!


Domaine la Suffrène


This producer in Bandol is at the forefront of making rosé from the local grape, Mourvèdre, which is deeper than the Grenache that dominates in the rest of Provence. From the darker orange colour to the extra layers of spicy fruit flavour, and the coastal


lick of salinity on the finish, these are the best rosés for food. Try with bouillabaisse or similarly rich Mediterranean flavours.


Domaines Ott


With their properties in both Côtes de Provence and Bandol, many lifetimes of heritage and know-how, unique bottle shape, and high profile, it is no wonder that Ott remains the go-to Provence producer for many


people. And all this did not come about without good reason. Reliably beautifully made wines.


Château d’Esclans An exquisite property with a lot of history and an enviable location in the valley above St Tropez, Château d’Esclans was totally overhauled under the ownership of Sacha Lichine, and is noted for producing the globally


celebrated brand, ‘Whispering Angel’, and the ultra-high end boutique ‘Garrus’, an exquisite very pale barrel fermented wine, which could easily be mistaken for the finest of Burgundies.


Château St Martin With history of winemaking going back two thousand years into Roman times, but a modern approach these days, the exquisitely situated Château St Martin nestling behind Taradeau, is a Cru Classé estate making a


range of rosé from the light and fruity to the complex Reserve, and a special cuvee, ‘Eternelle Favourite’, made majority from Provence’s indigenous grape variety – the distinctly floral Tibouren.


Domaine de Rimauresq Owned by the Wemyss family, of Scottish distilling fame, Rimauresq is an exquisite property south of Le Luc, in the heart of Provence, producing a range of red, white and rosé wines. Their Cuvée Rebelle


Rosé, from a majority Grenache, is an especially good buy with its flavours of summer berries and floral violets.


Rod Smith MW, from Riviera Wine Academy, is one of only 390 Masters of Wine in the world, resident on the Côte d’Azur since 2007. Rod offers wine training, including WSET Courses, for crew and interested wine lovers, as well as organising onboard wine tastings and events. www.rivierawineacademy.com


ONBOARD | SPRING / SUMMER 2020 | 75


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