(OK, not a Burgundy…but give us a break…) In early-to-middle June here in Bourgogne (and elsewhere in France), in time for hot, summer entertaining and leisure weather, the markets become full of fresh Rose wines from Bordeaux and Provence. Blended from a variety of grapes, including Syrah, Mourvedre, Grenache and Cinsault, these fresh, delicate pinks offer generous fruit combined with crisp acidity and hints of Provencal herbs. Being an American, I immediately recoiled in horror at the sight of the word “Rose” since in conjured up images of sickly-sweet, pink wines destined to make me wince and gag.  But…..since the French know what they are doing and there must be some reason why even the largest chains of grocery stores and vendors run specials on these Rose wines (€1.50-€4 each!) during the first couple weeks of June, we bought a few and here is what we found…

Provence Rose wines from Jean Valestrel and Gordonne A.F. (the Valestrel was nearly identical in color)

Provence Rose wines from Jean Valestrel and Gordonne A.F. (the Valestrel was nearly identical in color)

First of all, if you have never tried a Rose from Provence…. IGNORE the color and any preconceived notions about “Rose” wines you may have.  While these wines are a distinctive and nearly shocking shade of pink, their aroma and flavor are not what you expect.  The Rose from Jean Vestrel is not sweet, but a surprisingly dry-tasting, round, balanced wine you might swear is a “white”, but with delicate aromas of rose petals, and violet-color fruits (nearly invoking images of raspberries..but not really) in a floral body.  Not a hint of the sweet “Rose” wines shipped to North America, the Rose from Jean Valestrel is deliciously refreshing and ideal for hot weather sipping under the shade of a tree or arbor.  What a surprise! Serve these cold (8-10 degrees C).  Valestrel combines Grenache, Syrah, Cabernet Savignon and Cinsault to produce this wine.  A winner for summertime! Fun, refreshing and beautifully colored.  And only €3.15 at Carrefour! (and they come in very nice bottles).

We also bought a Bordeaux Rose (never heard of one before…but we are newbies at this)….and found it to be somewhat stronger in acidity and stronger flavored, almost leaving the impression it lost its “delicacy” when compared to the other roses from other regions.  Definitely refreshing and a wonderful color, but we tended to like the Provence-style roses a little more than the Bourdeaux.  Maybe we just need to explore some more…

More bottle styles:

A variety of Rose bottle and color styles come alive in France in June

A variety of Rose bottle and color styles come alive in France in June

Another distinctive Rose bottle

Another distinctive Rose bottle

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