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Saint Roch Les Vignes Cotes de Provence Rose 2016
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.
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.