Pale orange-salmon color; flowers, strawberry, raspberry on the nose; white cherry, citrus, orange peel, raspberry on the palate.
Dry; full body, rich flavors; no oak; minerality and stony notes; good acidity. Likely a blend of cinsault, grenache, syrah, and mourvèdre—classic for Provence—but it seems a white grape (most likely rolle—aka vermentino) also makes it into the blend, and the rolle may have spent time on the skin, thus generating the orange element of this wine’s color. Even if I am wrong about the rolle contribution, the winery’s technique of cold maceration before direct pressing, followed by exceptionally long fermentation under controlled temperatures, and extended time on the lees produces a Provence rosé that is magically distinctive and delicious; 12.5% ABV.
More savory than fruity, the wine is another clear proof that rosé can be complex and much more than strawberry and watermelon. In the “orange wine” technique, white grapes are processed more like red grapes—much more time is spent on the skins, stems, and seeds. This is a rising category in the wine world. This is not a true orange wine, but my palate and eyes say there is an element of that going on here. In any event, this is outstanding Provence rosé, especially for the price.
This also is a classic Old World vineyard/winery with a dramatic and deep past. From the website: “The name of the estate is the first indication of its long, illustrious past. Located in the heart of Provence, near routes traveled by Crusaders in the early Middle Ages, the Commanderie de Peyrassol was founded by the Knights of Templar who were dedicated to protecting the Crusaders en route to, and in, the Holy Land. The first recorded harvest took place in 1256 and winemaking has continued uninterrupted throughout the centuries. When the Templars were brought down in 1311 by the King of France, who was nervous of their power and jealous of their wealth, the Knights of Malta became the fortunate owners of the Commanderie. They remained in control, flawlessly maintaining the vineyards until the French Revolution, when it was taken over by the State.
“The Rigord family purchased the estate in 1870; but, it was not until 1977 when Francoise Rigord, wife of Yves, decided to bottle and market the wines of the estate. Madame Rigord abandoned her successful career in public relations to study oenology and take on the responsibility of making all of Commanderie de Peyrassol’s wines. The first vintage bottled for sale to the public was1981. It was then, at the very outset of this commercial venture, that we met Francoise and we have worked in happy harmony together since that time.”
There is much more to the story; please enjoy the links to both the winery’s website and the robust website of the U.S. importer to find out more. Enjoy exploring the Peyrassol team that makes this wine. Hermine de Clermont-Tonnerre is the cellar master, but the entire team can be explored on the winery website.
Commanderie de Peyrassol Côtes de Provence Rosé Cuvée de la Commanderie 2018 is elegant, distinctive, and delicious. This is a gourmet wine. It is full and rich and silky and gets better glass after glass. If you tasted blindfolded, you easily could be fooled it was not a rosé, but then you would miss out on its intriguing color. This clearly can work as an aperitif, but you also can pair with grilled fish, but also with lighter beef, fish tartare, tapas. Find this wine. $16-18