Bieler Pere et Fils Sabine Rose 2008
"The Coteaux d'Aix en Provence appellation is in the hills surrounding the town of Aix and isdominated by Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah verses the more Grenache and Cinsault dominatedroses of the Cotes de Provence appellation (which is the larger Provence growing area). Wefocused 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 afteryear, 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 ‘08vintage it's 60% of the blend with25% Grenache and 15% Syrah. The terrain is hilly and the soilis limestone dominated. 2008 is a less intense vintage that the previous years, meaning lesscolor 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
In 1992, 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. His children, Charles and Mira got involved in the mid 90’s when they developed, through unorthodox winemaking and creative marketing and selling, one of the more dynamic rosé brands in America at the time. In 2005 there was a great opportunity to sell the winery and estate and they took it. They founded Bieler Père et Fils that same year they sold Routas and focus 100% on making rosé.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.
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. 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 depends on grape variety and winemaking style, ranging from pale salmon to deep magenta.
More than just a European vacation hotspot and rosé capital of the world, Provence, in southeastern France, is a coastal appellation 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 this northwestern neighbor—namely, the fierce mistral wind and the plentiful wild herbs (such as rosemary, lavender, juniper and thyme) often referred to as garrigue. The largest appellation here is Côtes de Provence, followed by Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence.
Provence is internationally acclaimed for 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, of 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.