Some French rosé wines

Little of a month ago, I put on a tasting of French rosé wines in our wine tasting club, AuZone. During the high summer, when we do tastings, it is usually less “serious” and less expensive themes, so I thought rosé could fit well. The reason was that the summer had been unusually sunny and hot for being in Sweden and at a latitude of 59° north. The selection of wines consisted of newly purchased French rosé wines with a certain focus on southern France. Provence in particular has a strong tradition of producing good rosé wines, also when they were less fashionable than they have been the last decade or so.

As usual in an AuZone tasting, the wines were served blind, but since I poured them into the carafes they weren’t blind to me. We voted best and worst before the wines were uncovered. The voting numbers below are therefore the collective output of the six participants, but the scores and descriptions are mine only.

2017 M de Minuty
Côtes de Provence, Grenache (about 60%), Cinsault (≈40%), Syrah (≈10%).  Yes, that sums up to 110%, so at least one of the numbers I found must be wrong.

Young and fresh nose with mineral, red berries, hints of citrus, hints of candy notes, some herbs, some smoke. Dry on the palate, citrus, some green apple, some red berries, and candy notes, good acidity, mineral. Green notes and a firm finish. Fresh and pleasant, but not very powerful, 83 p.

0 best and 1 worst vote (mine). My vote was primarily because it was lighter than the other Minutys and came across as simpler.

2017 Minuty Prestige
Côtes de Provence, Grenache (about 60%), Cinsault (≈20%), Tibouren (≈10%), Syrah (≈10%).

Young and fresh nose with mineral including stone dust, red berries, some citrus, some candy notes, hints of herbs, and a light smoky note. Dry on the palate, citrus, red berries, a pleasant hint of berry sweetness, good acidity. Similar to the previous Minuty in the nose but more concentrated and oily on the palate. All together a fresh and pleasant wine with good concentration and a food-friendly style, 86 p.

No best or worst votes.

2017 Château Minuty Rose et Or
Côtes de Provence. Composition according to Minuty: Grenache and Tibouren. According to the Swedish importer: Grenache (≈95%) and Syrah (≈5%).

Nose with mineral and stone dust, red berries, citrus, blood grapefruit with its zest, some herbs, some candy notes. Young and fresh nose but at the same time with a firm impression. Definitely dry on the palate, mineral-dominated, good acidity, citrus, red berries, hints of green and herbaceous notes. Definitely good in a firm and food-friendly style, 88 p.

2 best and 0 worst votes. Shared the first spot.

2017 Château Minuty 281
Côtes de Provence. Grenache, Syrah, and Cinsault.

Nose with prominent notes of nettle, mineral, citrus, herbs, and just a hints of red berries. Taken together this gives a rather demanding nose with a lot less focus on berry notes than the previous three wines. The nose reminded me of more than a little of Sauvignon Blanc. Definitely dry and demanding on the palate, good acidity, completely dominated by mineral, some smoke, and not so much berries. Firm and demandning, and a bit odd, 86 p?

0 best and 2 worst votes. Ended up in the last spot.

It was very surprising that the top wine from Minuty was so different than the rest. The four Minuty wines were ordered by price and this was the most expensive wine of the tasting. Many of the other participants were tougher than I on this wine, in comments, and found various plastic notes etcetera. By the way, 281 is a colour code for the blue colour found on the bottle.

2016 Château de Selle (Coeur de Grain) Rosé, Domaines Ott
Côtes de Provence. Grenache 60 %, Cinsault 30 %, Mourvèdre 7 %, Syrah 3 %.

The palest in colour, more like a white wine that just blush a little. Discrete and elegant nose with citrus, yellow raspberries, hints of red berries, mineral, and smoke notes. A balanced nose that gives an impression of a mineral-heavy white wine. Dry palate, some berry notes with e.g. yellow raspberries and red currants, citrus, mineral, and good acidity. A firm and balanced wine with very restrained rosé character, 87 p.

1 best and 2 worst votes.

2017 Henri Bourgeois Les Baronnes Rosé
Sancerre, Loire. 100% Pinot Noir.

Medium pink colour. Young and fresh nose with red berries, in particular raspberries, some green notes (both grassy and herbaceous), apple, and some mineral. Rather dry on the palate, some mineral, hints of green notes on the palate, a berry-dominated aftertaste. A fresh wine with a lot of berries, 85 p.

2 best and 0 worst votes. Shared the first spot. För mig ett OK vin, men flera andra var mer positiva än jag. Kanske var det Pinot-toner som utlyste dessa känslor hos entusiasterna, men för mig var det inslaget av gröna toner som drog ner.

2017 Domaine de la Mordorée Tavel La Reine de Bois
Travel, Southern Rhône. Grenache 60%, Cinsault 10%, Syrah 10%, Mourvèdre 10%, Clairette 5%, Bourboulenc 5%.

Deep pink colour, much deeper than the rest. Nose with ripe red berries, raspberries and red currants, blood grapefruit and some other citrus zest, mineral with stone dust, hints of herbs. A deeper nose and more red berry notes than the other wines. Rather dry on the palate and with a lot of berry notes with raspberries, red currants, some berry sweetness, good concentration, some spices, and hints of tannins (that weren’t in the other wines). A food-friendly rosé in a heavy style but with good balance, 89 p.

1 best vore (mine) and 1 worst vote. Tasted blind, it got some negative comments because it was in a different style and perhaps a bit less “easily drinkable” than the others, with its tannins.

La Reine des Bois is the better Tavel from Mordorée, out of two. The slightly simpler is called La Dame Rousse. These two names are used for wines from most appellations included in the Mordorée range. Domaine de la Mordorée is a producer that I like irrespective of the colour and appellation of the wines.

In my opinion, this tasting demonstrated that there are differences in style among rosé wines, and that there are serious rosés to be hand by moving up just a little bit in price. I mention this because I’ve noted that many wine geeks are quite dismissive of all rosé wines (rosé Champagnes excluded) and write off all consumptions of rosé (higher-priced rosés included) as being done by easily fooled people who fall for fads and who don’t really now anything about wines. 🙂 Or, at least, these are opinions that I often encounter in Sweden. As you may understand, I don’t quite agree, since I enjoy drinking rosés during summer, when it’s hot enough to spend some time on the balcony and when lighter food might be preferred. Rosés are basically the only style of wine where I don’t see any point in cellaring the wines. Again, I’m talking about still rosés and not rosé Champagnes, which I definitely do prefer to drink with some age on them. Although these rosés are DYA (drink youngest available), there is little harm in forgetting the odd bottle or two until the next summer, but if they spend some three or four years in the cellar, they may lose some of their berry notes and in general become more boring.

A word or two about other similar wines tasted during the summer. In the early days of the summer, I drank the 2016 of both Minuty Prestige and Minuty Rose et Or, which were then in distribution. My recollection of them (no notes takes) is that the 2016 Minuty Prestige was a bit more powerful than the 2017, and even a little better. The 2016 Rose et Or, on the other hand, was very similar to the 2017. So I couldn’t say that I found any systematic differences between the 2016 and 2017 vintages in the Minuty range. A wine similar in style and quality to the lineup in this tasting is the 2017 By.Ott. I remember it as similar to the two “middle” Minutys, but slightly fresher and slightly more elegant than the 2017 Minuty Prestige.

Swedish version here.

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