Wine 101 | Provençal Rosé / by Christine Davis

Christine Davis has traveled extensively and explored the world of wine and food. Christine shares those adventures in her blog eatingfrench. You can also follow Christine on Twitter and Instagram.

In Provence, one says, "J'ai la pêche!" when all is right with the world. Literally, it means, "I have the peach!" and in fact they do have a peach-colored wine called rosé. Is it the source of their happiness, or is it the sun, or both? Provençal rosé is perfect for a garden party or a beach picnic. A chilled bottle sweating in the grass or the sand refreshes and relaxes all who partake. And it pairs perfectly with Mediterranean food, such as fruits de mer with aïoli (olive oil and garlic mayonnaise), and grilled fish with herbes de Provence, and ripe tomatoes and tapenade, and juicy peaches dripping sticky sweet down your arm...

 

Cézanne said that the intense light in the south of France makes everything appear clear and in contrast, and van Gogh went there specifically to paint the vivid colors under the soleil. Have you ever seen the cerulean-blue sky reflected from the sea on the Côte d’Azur? There is something about the hot, humidity-free climate that is conducive to fecundity. This applies not only to inspiration for the artist, but to aspiration for the fruit on the vines. Abundant sunshine in this area (more than 3,000 hours per year) is twice the amount needed to grow the grapes to maturity. Those grapes, mainly Grenache but also Mourvèdre and Cinsault, are black-skinned. The pale, warm pink of Provençal rosé is imparted by the skin-contact method; that is, the grape skins, seeds, and must are allowed to macerate for a period of time before they make the wine red.

The AOC regions in Provence include Côtes de Provence, Coteaux d'Aix en Provence, and Bandol. This is the land of outdoor living, of dining as well as painting au plein air. Is it a coincidence that "midi" means afternoon and "le Midi" means southern France? Get out there and drink this dry yet thirst-quenching rosé!