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Saint Roch Les Vignes Cotes de Provence Rose 2013
Blend: 50% Grenache, 50% Cinsault
Winegrowing in and around the Provençal village of Cuers dates back to the 6th century B.C. when Greek settlers planted the first vines. The Romans further developed grape culture here, and to this day the area is still recognized as one of the region’s best terroirs.
Saint Roch les Vignes is not an individual domaine, but rather a modern production facility in Cuers serving most of the family winegrowers in that small hillside village, as well as those of neighboring Puget-Ville and Pierrefeu northeast of Toulon. Built in 1911 with the combined effort and assets of 143 growers, the winery was upgraded with state-of-the-art equipment in recent years and now handles vinification for more than 200 local vignerons. The wines of Saint Roch are held to a higher standard than normal French cooperative wineries, as growers must not only adhere to Appellation Controlee laws, but also meet the quality standards of the Maitres Vignerons de Saint Tropez, who oversee Saint Roch's international sales and marketing. This group consists of seven highly-regarded, limited production Cotes de Provence domaines headed by Edgar Pascaud, proprietor and director of Château de Pampelonne.
More than just a European vacation hotspot and the rosé capital of the world, Provence is a coastal, southeastern French appellation increasingly 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 its 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 its 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, from 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.
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.