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Bieler Rose Sabine 2008
"The Coteaux d'Aix en Provence appellation is in the hills surrounding the town of Aix and is dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah verses the more Grenache and Cinsault dominated roses of the Cotes de Provence appellation (which is the larger Provence growing area). We focused in on the Aix region as we felt that it was the perfect ‘steel fist in the velvet glove' type balance as it yields something with a little more power but all the finesse and beauty that you'd expect from the other parts of Provence.
I must admit that I never felt that Cabernet Sauvignon was a proper rose grape but year after
year, blending session after blending session, I've been proven wrong. In the Coteaux d'Aix,
Cabernet Sauvignon brings a back bone to the wine that is super necessary. With this ‘08
vintage it's 60% of the blend with25% Grenache and 15% Syrah. The terrain is hilly and the soil
is limestone dominated. 2008 is a less intense vintage that the previous years, meaning less
color and fruit opulence. As a result there's more of a floral and citrus component and not quite as rich as palate as the last few years."
- Charles Bieler
The dry rosé category has developed quickly over the last handful of years, though the Bieler family has been banging away at it for a decade plus. Dry rosé not only remains one of the fastest growing wine segments in the US wine market but has even accelerated further this past year and Provence, France remains the standard for what consumers are buying and drinking.
More than just a European vacation hotspot and the rosé capital of the world, Provence is a coastal, southeastern appellation of France increasingly producing interesting wines of all colors. The warm, breezy Mediterranean climate is ideal for grape growing and the diverse terrain and soil types allow for a variety of wine styles within the region. Adjacent to the Rhône Valley, Provence shares some characteristics with its northwestern neighbor—namely, the fierce Mistral wind and the plentiful wild herbs (such as rosemary, lavender, juniper, and thyme) known as ‘garrigue.’ The largest appellation here is Côtes de Provence, followed by Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence.
Provence is internationally acclaimed for its dry, refreshing, pale-hued rosé wines which make up the vast majority of the region’s production. These are typically blends, often dominated by Mourvèdre and supplemented by Grenache, Cinsault, Tibouren, and other varieties.
A small amount of full-bodied, herbal white wine is made here—particularly from the Cassis appellation, from Clairette and Marsanne. Other white varieties used throughout Provence include Roussane, Sémillon, Vermentino (known locally as Rolle) and Ugni blanc.
Perhaps the most interesting wines of the region, however, are the red wines of Bandol. Predominantly Mourvèdre, these are powerful, structured, and ageworthy wines with lush berry fruit and savory characteristics of earth and spice.