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Clos Cibonne Cotes de Provence Rose Tentations 2016
In the 1980s, hard times fell upon the estate and it drifted without clear direction until Bridget, André Roux’s granddaughter, and her husband, Claude Deforge, took it over in the late 1990s. Their immediate goal was to bring the estate back to its former grandeur. By renovating the cellars while preserving the tradition of aging in old foudres, the family began to reestablish the vaunted reputation of the domaine. Thanks to their efforts Clos Cibonne once again lives up to its standing as one of the 18 Cru Classés in Côtes de Provence.
The heart of the estate is their Tibouren. André Roux was a great fan of this native varietal and believed it to be the ideal grape for the region. As part of his revitalization he replaced all of the estate’s Mourvèdre with Tibouren. Clos Cibonne soon became synonymous with Tibouren and received special permission from the A.O.C. to list the grape on its labels.
The estate’s 15 hectares of vineyards are located a mere 800 meters from the coast and are surrounded by hillsides in the base of a bowl that faces the sea. This topography creates air circulation that allows for perfect maturation of the grapes and helps to reduce vintage variation. After harvest, the wines are fermented in stainless steel and then aged under fleurette (a thin veil of yeast) in 100-year-old, 500L foudres.
Clos Cibonne crafts a wine that is completely its own through combining a rare grape with a unique aging process. There are two rosés currently available from the estate: the classic rosé and the Cuvée Spéciale des Vignettes that is sourced only from the estate’s oldest vines. These two wines are complemented by the Cuvée Spéciale Tibouren, a unique red wine made primarily from Tibouren.
Cotes de Provence is an extensive but valuable appellation that includes vineyards bordering the main Provence appellations and extending all the way east to the border of Italy. Its sites vary from subalpine hills, which receive the cooling effects of the mountains to the north, to the coastal St-Tropez, a warm Mediterranean wine-producing region.
Here there is a new focus 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. 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. 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.