France, Rhône and Provence: 2014 Rosés June 30, 2015 by jeb DUNNUCK

France, Rhône and Provence: 2014 Rosés
June 30, 2015

The 2014 Rosés are now out in force. This is a great vintage for rosé with the wines showing much more rounded, supple and fruit-forward characters than did the racy 2013s. Given that consumer demand for rosé continues to skyrocket, most retail stores are now devoting substantial real-estate to these wines, which means the selection of quality rosé has never been better.

Among the myriad styles of rosé, there are normally clear distinctions between what each region offers. Provençal rosés offer clean, crisp wines that are very light in color, Côtes du Rhône rosés are slightly more substantial and varied, and Tavel, Gigondas and Bandol generally produce richer, more textured and hefty releases. With the market now craving light/pale pink releases, producers everywhere are responding by making light, crisp and simple rosés, to the point where there’s basically no distinction between a juicy rosé from Provence and what’s coming out of the Côtes du Rhône villages in the Southern Rhone. So radical is the departure from regional stereotypes that even some of the Gigondas and Bandols I reviewed for this report were indistinguishable from a simple, juicy Provençal rosé.

The silver lining in the glass is that the Southern Rhône has nearly perfected the art of making a light, dry, crisp style of rosé. During my extensive rosé tastings in the Rhône Valley, I found most of the wines to be good, clean and perfect for a hot summer day. I drink and buy plenty of rosés in this category and find that in today’s market you can easily find high-quality, well-priced rosés that fit this bill without much shopping around. Don’t make the mistake of spending 25+ dollars on an expensive rosé that you plan to chill the hell out of and chug by the pool. There is plenty of better-value rosé to slake your thirst. Below is a list of some top choices for hot-summer-day quaffing. Nevertheless, while I love the fact that there’s a lot of quality rosé at a good price, the lack of variety or stylistic difference in what I tasted was disappointing.

Since this report is coming out slightly later this year, I was also able to include more rosés from California. There are some gorgeous releases coming from the Sunshine State and diversity of style is definitely there. My only concern with the crisp, lively and straightforward efforts from California is price; most sell for 25+ dollars, and for this trendy style of rosé you can find a similar level of quality from France for half that price.

Since there are close to 200 rosés in this report, I’ve grouped my favorites by style below. In general, the lighter the style, the sooner it should be drunk. While a great Tavel or Bandol can drink nicely for 2-3 years, the uber-crisp, acid-driven releases from Côtes du Rhône and Provence need to be on ice and drunk up in the upcoming summer months.

Full-Flavored, Food-Friendly Rosés

Domaine Maby 2014 Tavel Prima Donna ($18.00) Rose 92

Tardieu-Laurent 2014 Tavel Vieilles Vignes (unknown) Rose 92
Chene Bleu 2014 Rose IGP Vaucluse ($30.00) Rose 91

Crisp Summer Quaffers

Chateau Paradis 2014 Coteaux d’Aix en Provence Rose ($20.00) Rose 91

Les Bosquet des Papes 2014 Cotes du Rhone Le Roze de Zaza (unknown) Rose 91

Top Values

Gabriel Meffre 2014 Costieres de Nimes Chateau Grand Escalion Rose ($15.00) Rose 90

Domaine Maby 2014 Lirac la Fermade Rose ($17.00) Rose 91

Domaine Maby 2014 Tavel Prima Donna ($18.00) Rose 92

—Jeb Dunnuckjd_Page_4 jd_Page_3 jd_Page_2 jd_Page_1

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