16 Top-Rated Provence Rosés
It’s been a great year for Provence rosé. The producers in the sunny south of France want us all to know that, just in case the bad stories coming out of Bordeaux about 2013 are spoiling the party.
And Provence rosé is the party drink for summer. It’s become the go-to rosé wine, with sales in the U.S. rocketing. In fact, outside France, we are the number one consumer of these lightly colored, so fresh and fruity, bone-dry rosés. Many people buy rosés based on their color, and these wines, with their pale salmon hue, are undeniably attractive.
There are more selections available in the U.S. than ever before. Producers are making special cuvées for their importers, or making second wines, or launching prestige cuvées, and they are even bottling them in a wide array of bottles. There are square bottles (think gin bottles), fat and round bottles, bottles shaped like amphoras, even a few classic Provence skittle bottles. So it’s not just the taste that’s important with Provence rosé, it’s the look as well.
Surprisingly versatile, these rosés can be drunk as an apéritif (and there are plenty with only 12.5% alcohol) or they can go with an impressive array of food. The French believe that a rosé can go with any food, but in fact they are best with seafood—like lobster and fish—pork or chicken.
For your summer pleasure, I did a comprehensive tasting of the latest Provence rosé releases for this month’s Buying Guide, the majority from 2013, with more than 30 selections that earned 90 points or more.
Although Provence takes center stage in this issue’s Buying Guide, we also review plenty of other selections that are perfect for summer, like stunning Southern Italian whites and New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs, among others. And, as always, be sure to check out our complete database, with thousands more reviews, at buyingguide.www.winemag.com.
92 Château d’Esclans 2012 Garrus Rosé (Côtes de Provence). This full-bodied wine pushes the concept of rosé to its limits. Wood-aged and rich, it conveys a sense of structure, mature fruit and delicious toastiness. It has already been aged an extra year, but would benefit from cellaring even longer, so wait until 2015. Shaw-Ross International Importers.—R.V.
abv: 14% Price: $100
92 Château Sainte Marguerite 2013 Cru Classé Grande Réserve Rosé (Côtes de Provence). The palest of grey-pink rosés, this is classy, fresh and fragrant. It has a light, orange-zest texture as well as tannins and a mineral edge. Very fresh, it is also worth aging a few months. Dreyfus, Ashby & Co. Editors’ Choice. —R.V.
abv: 12.5% Price: $29
92 Estandon 2012 Estandon Légende Rosé (Côtes de Provence). After an extra year’s aging, this wine’s richness is very apparent. It may have lost immediate freshness but it has gained in ripe fruits, in texture and in depth. It’s a complex wine worth pairing with food. Southern Wine and Spirits. Editors’ Choice. —R.V.
abv: 13% Price: $23
91 Château d’Esclans 2013 Rosé (Côtes de Provence). The estate wine from Sacha Lichine’s Château d’Esclans discloses deeper color than some rosés from Provence. It has a ripe feel, smooth red fruits and a touch of toastiness. Full-bodied and dry, it is definitely a food rosé, and best left until late 2014 before drinking. Shaw-Ross International Importers. —R.V.
abv: 13.5% Price: $35
91 Château du Galoupet 2013 Rosé (Côtes de Provence). From one of the classed growths of Provence, this wine is intense with ripe fruits. Red plum, red currant and berry fruit flavors go with a steely, nervy texture that needs to age. Drink from the end of 2014. DB Wine Selection. Editors’ Choice. —R.V.
abv: 13% Price: $22
92 Domaine des Diables 2013 Bonbon Rosé (Côtes de Provence Sainte-Victoire). This rosé needs to age. It has a zesty, crisp and mineral texture that is tight and nervy. As it softens, more red fruits will come to the front, although the structure will remain, making this a serious rosé for drinking with food. Riahi Selections. Editors’ Choice. —R.V.
abv: 12.5% Price: $20
91 Gassier 2013 Château Gassier 946 Sélection Parcellaire Rosé (Côtes de Provence Sainte-Victoire). A selection from the best parcels of the Gassier vineyard, this is a rounded, ripe and fruity wine. A streak of minerality and tight texture add concentration. Drink this from the end of 2014. Bronco Wine Company. —R.V.
abv: 13% Price: $40
91 Mas de Cadenet 2013 Rosé (Côtes de Provence Sainte-Victoire). This estate wine has rich fruits that are totally balanced with the acidity and the ripe red fruit flavors. A crisp texture offers acidity and a full body. It will be even better by the end of 2014. David Bowler Wine. Editors’ Choice. —R.V.
abv: 12.5% Price: $25
90 Château Maupague 2013 Rosé (Côtes de Provence Sainte-Victoire). Red fruits drive this tangy, fruity wine that is given shape by a more mineral texture. With dusty raspberry and plum flavors, it is shot through at the end with citrus. Frank Johnson Selections. —R.V.
abv: 12.5% Price: $NA
90 Domaine Houchart 2013 Rosé (Côtes de Provence Sainte-Victoire). Domaine Houchart is one of the top estates in Sainte-Victoire. This ripe while deliciously fruity and fresh wine is full of raspberries, ripe red currants and a refreshing line of acidity. David Milligan Selections. Editors’ Choice. —R.V.
abv: 13% Price: $20
92 Domaine Saint-André de Figuière 2013 Confidentielle Rosé (Côtes de Provence La Londe). Pale salmon pink, this is a beautiful wine both to look at and to taste. It combines a light touch of red fruits with bright acidity and a rich texture. Fresh and pure fruited, it will age through 2015. Paul M. Young Fine Wines. —R.V.
abv: 12.5% Price: $52
91 Château les Valentines 2013 8 by Château les Valentines Rosé (Côtes de Provence La Londe). The La Londe appellation came into existence in 2008 and this wine celebrates that fact. Rounded and smooth, it has a touch of saltiness as well as dried red berry fruits and intense acidity. Drink from the end of 2014. Avant Garde Wine & Spirits. Editors’ Choice. —R.V.
abv: 13% Price: $29
88 Château du Galoupet 2013 Le Galoupet Rosé (Côtes de Provence La Londe). Soft and lightly fruity, it has flavors of bitter almonds as well as red fruits. This gives the wine a firm character with some tannins and a mineral texture. Wait until late 2014 before drinking. DB Wine Selection. —R.V.
abv: 13% Price: $15
92 Château Vignelaure 2013 Rosé (Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence). This is a rich, smooth, vanilla-flavored wine that is impressively ripe while keeping all its freshness. It has a sense of concentration, with ripe strawberry and red cherry fruits and enough structure to allow it to age. Drink from 2015. Blue Coast International. Editors’ Choice. —R.V.
abv: 13% Price: $23
91 Château Vignelaure 2013 La Source Rosé (Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence). This benchmark rosé is round yet fresh, and crisp while ripely fruity. Red berry fruits are finely textured and attractive acidity cuts through the full body of the wine. It would be worth aging until late 2014. Blue Coast International. Best Buy. —R.V.
abv: 13% Price: $15
90 Château de Calavon 2013 Rosé (Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence). A rich wine, it adds a finely textured dimension to the red fruitiness and fresh acidity. With complex fruits, structure as well as the attractive crispness, it’s a dry wine, best drunk with food. Weygandt-Metzler. —R.V.
abv: 12.5% Price: $25
90 Domaine de Valdition 2013 Vallon des Anges Rosé (Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence). The wine comes from the Alpilles mountains, made famous by Van Gogh’s paintings. It has a tight, steely character that comes from the wild terroir while keeping delicious freshness and acidity. It could age until late 2014. Roche-Mère Wine Selections. Best Buy. —R.V.
abv: 13.5% Price: $15
- 1Côtes de Provence
- 2Côtes de Provence Sainte-Victoire
- 3Côtes de Provence La Londe
- 4Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence