Chateau de Pampelonne Cotes de Provence Rose 2014
The magnificent 17th century Château de Pampelonne borders the famous French Riviera beach of the same name in the commune of Ramatuelle, near Saint Tropez. The estate has been in the Gasquet-Pascaud family since 1840, when it was purchased by Gasquet ancestor André Falcon, treasurer for Napoléon III. The current proprietor of this beautiful 400-acres domaine is Edgar Pascaud, and his daughter Marie who directs Pampelonne’s winemaking. Château de Pampelonne produces an excellent red wine and a modest amount of white wine, but it is the Côtes de Provence Rosé for which the estate is best known. In addition to the classic rosé grapes of Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah, Pampelonne also uses Tibouren in the blend. This ancient Greek variety, now unique to this area of France, is valued for the aromatic intensity it lends to some of Provence’s finest rosés.
Cotes de Provence is an extensive but valuable appellation that includes vineyards bordering the main Provencal appellations. Its sites vary from subalpine hills, which receive the cooling effects of the mountains to the north, to the coastal St-Tropez, a region mainly influenced by the warm Mediterranean sunshine.
Here the focus is on quality rosé, as it defines four fifths of the region’s wines. Following in the rosé footsteps, a lot of new effort is going into the region’s red production as well. A new generation has turned its focus on high quality Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault and Carignan. Cotes de Provence white wines, which represent a miniscule part of the region as far as volume, are nonetheless worthy of consideration and can include any combination of Clairette, Semillon, Ugni Blanc and Vermentino.
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.