Saturday night I pulled two Rose wines from my stash of 2015. Without question, the 2015 vintage for Rose in both Santa Barbara County, in the USA, and just about anywhere the sun shined warmly in France has to go down as one of the best vintages in many years. While 2014 showed what a good winemaker could do, as evidenced by the 2014 Chene Bleu I had last week at Bar Boulud in London from magnum, my two picks for Saturday night were dead-on the mark stunners to all who imbibed.
First was the Santa Barbara representative from pal Mikael Sigouin, winemaker and proprietor of Kaena Wines. Mikael and I have been friends for more than a dozen years, and over that time I've watched him mature as a winemaker, and really blossom into one of the world's best when it comes to working with Grenache. I often say, if the Riviera Rose Doug Margerum at Margerum Wine Company is making Cotes de Ventoux and Cotes de Provence Rose in California that perfect for a hot summer day with Asian BBQ ribs or tasty off the grill chicken, Mikael is making Tavel as his wine captures that same degree of fruit, while not being sweet or bloated. Sigouin's 2015 Kaena Grenache Rose defines that style, full of raspberry, blackberry and strawberry flavors, with a hint of juicy watermelon. More than a wine to have as an aperitif, the Kaena is a food wine, yelling for charcuterie, cheese or pate. It's also great with thin crust pizza or even a burger.
My second Rose was one from a producer I have enjoyed since the 2013 vintage, finding it first at G-Night that year. The Prieure de Montezargues is from Tavel, and it's a wine I have to special order from their east coast importer via a shop here in L.A. You don't find it easily, and it's one that needs to be better known. The Montezargues wine blend changes year to year based on the harvest. And as a result, they tend to make some of the most crisp, dry, bright, vibrant "pink" wines found anywhere, but especially in Tavel. In the case of the 2015, the wine is a supple blend of 55% Grenache (red & white), 30% Cinsault, 13% Clairette, and 2% of other grapes including Syrah, Mourvèdre, Carignan, Bourboulanc. But is it ever elegant and charming. As I drank it on Saturday, on a 72 degree night, closing my eyes I was immediately transported back to Provence, not in L.A. It has that kind of effect on the palate as it's a real pleaser.
Easily on par, and possibly better than Domaine de la Mordoree or Chateau Trinquevedel, the Prieure de Montezargues makes a Rose that is typical of Tavel's best and along with Rhone and Provence regional stalwarts, Chateau de Montfaucon in the Rhone Valley, Chene Bleu 2015 and Chateau de Roquefort Corail play in a league of their own when it comes to Rhone/Provence Pinkies.
Having been tasting the 2015 Rose's since April the Provence and Rhone wines are stunners, as have been the Bandol and Corsican ones. The two 2015 Pradeaux and Vannieres from Bandol, the Mourchon Loubie, plus the Domaine de Marquiliani's Rosé de Pauline and Domaine de Abbatucci's Faustine all continue to be memorable from both my tasting here and in France.
ROSEALLDAY is a great phrase, and with the 2015's you can be enjoying a Rose wine every day......I sure am.