When the family holiday meal, fancy dinner party, or pot luck get-together is finished, it’s time to not only wrap up the conversation, but the leftovers, too. To be perfectly honest, most of us love revisiting the previous night’s remnants of any grand festivus of food. Yet, what was exceptional before, may not be special later – unless a stunning wine that pairs with anything on the table is poured. Just in time for the “day after” are three beautiful rosés from Provence, sent to me as samples. Trust me, with these versatile and distinctive wines in your glass, Leftover Night may become the most anticipated gathering of them all.
Why Rosé from Provence?
Once you taste, you’ll know. Rosé wines from Provence are dry…a vast difference from the cloyingly sweet “blush” wines that come to mind when offered a glass of something pink. Produced from Provencal varieties, Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah, Mourvedre, Tibouren, Carignan, and Cabernet, all are crisp and exhilarating. I appreciate the range of styles: many are light, almost airy, while others are full bodied and exude a distinct palate profile with plenty of backbone and complexity.
That variety in style contributes to the fact that rosé may just be one of the most food friendly wines on the planet. Paired with international cuisine (Japanese, Thai, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean…), American favorites (burgers, steak, appetizers, salads, sandwiches…), and seafood (grilled fish, crab, lobster…), I’m always able to find a rosé that complements any recipe I’d love to try or menu item I’m craving from a favorite restaurant.
Earlier this year, I attended a tasting of delightful rosés, sponsored by Wines of Provence, at Sepia, one of my favorite Chicago restaurants. There, we tasted an array of wines from the different appellations of Provence and sampled a plethora of dishes. Savory selections included Italian beef sandwiches with giardiniera, roasted carrots with sesame-miso, dates, white soy vinaigrette, and puffed grains, Spanish fish escabeche, Thai beef salad, pork porchetta tonnato, and roasted beet salad with goat cheese, candied walnuts, and walnut vinaigrette. The sweets table offered apricot and foie gras macaron and fresh fruit tart with vanilla custard.
Provence was the birthplace of dry rosé wine with a history that began in the 6th century BC. Today, it’s the world’s largest wine region specializing in AOP rosé wine. I was surprised to learn that rosé outsells white wine in France, but not at all shocked to understand that sales are booming in the United States (I’m helping that statistic one glass at a time, thank you very much, and now it’s your turn!). Approximately 10% of the word’s wine production is rosé, with France as the leading producer. According to Wines of Provence, a “market study by EOC International found that members of the U.S. wine industry – importers, distributors, retailers, sommeliers, and restaurateurs – perceive French rosé as the highest quality rosé, and rosé from Provence as the gold standard.”
Three Rosés from Provence to Pour Now
Chateau du Rouet Reservée Rosé 2016 ($13) – From the commune of Le Muy, where the climate is warm and dry with some cooling effects from nearby hills, this rosé of 50% Grenache, 20% Cinsault, 20% Syrah, and 10% Tibouren was simply beautiful. On the nose, aromas of strawberries, pomegranate, juicy red berries, hint of almond, and spice were intense and enticing. My palate discovered broad flavors of more red fruit, spice, bright acidity, a round mouthfeel, and a lingering finish. Enjoy this wine with hard cheeses, appetizers, seafood, and sushi.
During the Wines of Provence tasting at Sepia, I met an enthusiastic winemaker who shared “Rosé is a feast in the mouth!”. I certainly won’t disagree. And those leftovers? If you want to take a pass, just have a glass (or two) of rosé from Provence instead!