Bieler Pere et Fils Bandol Reserve Rose 2018
There is a rose and then there is Bandol rose. Handpicked fruit from vineyards a stone's throw from the Mediterranean sea results in the ultimate expression of rose. Bright and high-toned, with sea salt and savory herbs woven throughout the rich notes of strawberry, cherry and blood orange.
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Charles Bieler may get the most press for pushing the boundaries of the wine world with his Tetra-Pak and kegged-wine projects, but his roots extend deep in Provence, where his father began making wine in the early 1980s. Bieler pulls this wine from vineyards in Le Castellet, lifting the deep, meaty bass notes of mourvèdre with the redder fruit of grenache and cinsault. It’s firm and fresh, with a garrigue-like spice that’s hunger-inducing.
In 1992, Charles Bieler’s father, Philippe Bieler, founded Chateau Routas in Coteaux Varois – a small appellation in the middle of Provence. The winery focused on Grenache based red blends and rosé. It is there, starting in 1998, that Charles learned the wine business and started producing wine. In 2005, there was a great opportunity to sell the winery and estate and Philippe took it. Philippe and Charles founded Bieler Père et Fils that same year and have never looked back.
Provence’s leader in concentrated and age-worthy red wines, Bandol is home to the dense, deep and earthy Mourvèdre grape. Like Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Bandol produces characterful reds that, while approachable in their youth, are typically designed for the cellar. Given its coastal, Provencal situation, Bandol naturally produces an assortment of charming, aromatic rosés made of Mourvèdre, Grenache and Cinsault.
Whether it’s playful and fun or savory and serious, most rosé today is not your grandmother’s White Zinfandel, though that category remains strong. Pink wine has recently become quite trendy, and this time around it’s commonly quite dry. It is produced throughout the world from a vast array of grape varieties, but the most successful sources are California, southern France (particularly Provence), and parts of Spain and Italy.
Since the pigment in red wines comes from keeping fermenting juice in contact with the grape skins for an extended period, it follows that a pink wine can be made using just a brief period of skin contact—usually just a couple of days. The resulting color will depend on the grape variety and the winemaking style, ranging from pale salmon to deep magenta. These wines are typically fresh and fruity, fermented at cool temperatures in stainless steel to preserve the primary aromas and flavors. Most rosé, with a few notable exceptions, should be drunk rather young, within a few years of the vintage.