Provence's Pastel Pinks

Provence's Pastel Pinks

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Thursday, July 16, 2020

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Wine lovers, you are in for a treat this week because, instead of focusing on one varietal, we switched up our game to discuss a region. But not any old region: The ever-so-fab wine region of Provence. After all, we are still celebrating summer and what better wines to complement the season? This week, Wine Lady Debra Taylor-Smith shares her beautiful photo-diary of her own experience while visiting the Provence region.

Provence Rosé 101

Rosé wine is perfectly aligned with the evolution of new consumer and lifestyle trends: Less structured meals, cuisines from around the world in our plates, simple and direct gastronomy, an interest in discovering new things, a desire for conviviality, and immediate enjoyment. Rosé provides a different vision of wine, one that is more accessible, without the burden of tradition: It is the wine of freedom.

Rosé is considered one of the oldest and most modern wines, proving that it is possible to combine trend and tradition. Rosé wines are not just the trendy wines of the 21st century. When the Greeks planted the first grapevines in Provence 2,600 years ago, they were already making rosé! This was because wine-making techniques in those days were different: The method of macerating red grapes, which gives red wine its colour, was unknown or, at the least, very uncommon. Wine made from red grapes was therefore rosé. In other words, Provence is the oldest wine region in France, and rosé is the oldest known wine!

In Provence, making rosé is a speciality, and a long-standing way of life, thanks to Provence's climate, terroir and varietals which are perfectly suited to this wine. It is only logical then that Provence should be the number one French region for the production of rosé wines: 156 million AOC bottles, accounting for 42% of rosé production nationwide and 6% around the world! In the minds of consumers, too, Provence is the top wine region associated with rosé. This is no surprise: The producers are the only ones to dedicate 89% of their vines to that wine! From vineyard management to winemaking, by way of the choice of varietals, every step is carefully thought out by Provence's winegrowers to ensure they produce high-quality rosé wines.

Provence rosé wines are not to be confused with your everyday pink offerings. In fact, the producers want you to know that not all pinks are equal. The Provence rosé wine experience mirrors that of finesse and decadence; the wine tends to have aromas of strawberry and red fruit but on the palate is medium-dry (not sweet). The wines pair very well with fresh seafood, and on these very warm days, a chilled glass delights the taste buds!


Popular Provence Varietals/The Grapes of Provence

Rolle (known as Vermentino in Italy): A white grape varietal that has always been cultivated in Provence. Rolle makes wines with bouquets of citrus, pear, almond and fennel. Rolle also adds structure, balance and finesse.

Grenache: A red grape varietal originating from Spain. Grenache gives wines full body and power. To young wines, Grenache provides elegant hints of berries and spicier meaty notes to more evolved wines.

Cinsault: A flavourful and attractive red Provencal varietal that has long been used as a table grape. Cinsault adds a fresh, delicate and fruity touch to wines nuancing the power of other varietals.

Syrah: A red varietal that creates solid deep coloured wines whose tannins make them coarse in the first years but benefit from prolonged ageing. Over the years, Syrah evolves into its characteristic notes of vanilla, tobacco, and candied berries.

Mourvèdre: A red grape varietal has been planted in Provence for a long time. This grape varietal grows best in warm calcareous terroirs, ripens slowly, and is happiest when facing the sea. Mourvèdre produces robust wines with delicate assertive tannins. To young wines, Mourvèdre offers hints of violet and blackberry. Its smooth suppleness accompanied by characteristic notes of spices, pepper and cinnamon are revealed after several years of ageing. Mourvèdre is often used in blends with Grenache and Syrah.


Feedback: “I enjoyed your article in the Observer on pinot noir, a great introduction and I really liked the slideshow idea to illustrate the article. I am in pretty deep on pinot noir myself. I live in British Columbia, Canada and we have a number of excellent ones that are produced here”. Thank you, Brent G, for continuing to follow our series. We hope to hear more about the wines in BC. Cheers!


Readers' Grapevine Club: If you are new to wines and want to join us on our wine discovery, then this is for you. On the third Thursday of each month, I will highlight your feedback on our grape variety/vine of the month. For August, we will focus on the amazing Zinfandel varietal. Looking forward to your feedback and comments!


Readers' Feedback:

Extraordinary wonder and joy are interwoven through ordinary life; seek them relentlessly. Please share with me your wine, spirits and cocktail experiences or comments on the above article at, or follow me on IG @debbiansm #barnoneja.


Debbian Spence-Minott

An Alumna of the US Sommelier Association

CEO of the Academy of Bartending, Spirits & Wines

President, Jamaica Union of Bartenders and Mixologists (JUBAM) Limited

Marketing Studies Lecturer – The University of Technology, Jamaica

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