Domaines Ott Chateau de Selle Cotes de Provence Rose 2018
Pale pink with golden tints. The nose opens with intense notes of citrus which evolve towards more floral and spicy aromas. The fresh and smooth palate displays a range of citrus notes combined with a touch of minerality which lingers on the soft and very persistent finish.
Located inland on limestone hillsides, the vineyard enjoys abundant sunshine. The proportion of stones in the soil is 40 to 50%, so the land is dry and, despite the presence of some extremely fertile clay deposits, yields are low.
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De Selle was Marcel Ott’s first estate, an imposingly rocky slope of gypsum, red clay, dolomite, gravel and sandstone in Taradeau that he purchased in 1912. The rosé it produced in 2018—a blend of grenache with cinsault, syrah and mourvèdre—is more open than the Clos Mireille: De Selle is immediately inviting in its fresh, floral scents of melon and rosemary. The urge to drink it becomes only more immediate when the tangy wine hits the palate, delivering seashell minerality like a jolt of electricity. Bright and energetic, it would make short work of a dozen oysters.
Domaines Ott was founded in 1912 by Alsatian engineer Marcel Ott. Today, the wineries are owned and managed by Champagne Louis Roederer, producing some of the world’s most prestigious wines. These wines are made at three distinctively different estates: Chateau Romassan (Bandol), Clos Mireille and Chateau de Selle (both Côtes de Provence).
Located in the Côtes de Provence appellation, Chateau de Selle, the 18th century home of the Counts de Provence, was the first property acquired by the Ott family in 1912. The winery is perched high on a plateau, enjoying abundant sunshine and an arid soil.
Clos Mireille was acquired by the Ott family in 1935. The estate’s picturesque seafront location is known for its mix of shale and clay soils; the schistous soil dates back some 340 million years. The microclimate and the sea spray provide highly favorable conditions for both the rosé and the white wines. Chateau Romassan was acquired in 1956 and lies at the foot of the village of Le Castellet in the heart of the Bandol appellation. The property was entirely remodeled and re-planted over a 30-year period. The estate’s country house dates back to the 18th century and its cellars have superbly vaulted ceilings.
It was Provence that inspired the iconic bottle shape for René Ott. Using the landscape and Roman amphoras as inspiration, René carved a timeless design that embodied his vision.
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.