August 2013
Beverage Media
Cru Classé Château
Roubine 2012
Always one of the most reliably
well-crafted and complex
rosés, this vintage is robust and
complex, with layers of flavors
and mouthwatering acidity and
a finish that lingers. (European
Wine Imports)
Château Saint Martin
“Cuvée Eternelle” 2012
Classic wild berry and floral
aromatics are filled out with
apricots and peaches in this
delicious, fuller-bodied wine.
(Fine Terroir Selections)
Château Marguii 2012
A blend of Cinsault and
Grenache with a splash of
Vermentino, this is made from
hand-harvested, low yielding
vines. It’s crisp and fruity with
sweet-and-tart grapefruit
flavors. (Bradley Alan Imports)
Château d’Esclans
“Whispering Angel” 2012
Vibrant and refreshing with
loads of ripe fruit and some nice
mid-palate weight. (Shaw-Ross
International Importers)
Château Ferry Lacombe
Haedus 2012
Made from sustainably farmed
vineyards, this shows floral
aromas and tasty citrus flavors
on the long-lasting finish. (Fine
Terroir Selections)
Bieler Père et Fils 2012
Fragrant with citrus-laced
cranberry and raspberry, this
refreshing combination of
Syrah, Grenache and Cabernet
is also one of the best values
from Provence. (Bieler Père et
Fils; disclosure: the author’s
husband owns this label.)
Château Minuty 2012
One of the most well-known
rosés in France; herbs,
strawberries and white peaches
come together on the beautifully
balanced palate. (Romano
Chêne Bleu 2012
Grenache dominates this
blend, rounded out with Syrah
and a bit of Cinsault. Aged in
large oak casks for a short time
before bottling, it is silky smooth
with a rich, viscous texture.
The Seeker 2012
Of this international brand’s
wines, the Provence rosé is
the best seller and it’s not hard
to see why: Juicy, fruity yet
elegant, it is fuller-bodied than
many examples. (Kobrand)
Vie Vité 2012
Spiced cherries and herbs
are upfront in this uniquely
packaged rosé. (Turquoise Life
Beverage Brands)
tique importers have popped up, such as
Turquoise Life, founded by Tunch Doker,
which focuses on “lifestyle brands”—start-
ing with a Provence rosé, Vie Vité.
Suppliers are pushing upward on the
pricing ladder, too (though Domaine Ott’s
$40 price tag hasn’t slowed its sales for
decades). Spearheading the new luxury
trend is Château d’Esclans in Provence
founded in 2006 by Sacha Lichine.
Retailing for $20 a bottle and fetching
up to $17 by the glass at restaurants. The
château’s entry-level bottling, Whispering
Angel, commands a large share of
the Côtes de Provence rosé category
in the U.S.
Lichine reports taking a Champagne
marketing approach to the brand. “We
sell close to 70% of d’Esclans on-premise,”
shares Paul Chevalier, fine wine director at
Shaw-Ross International Importers, who
imports the d’Esclans line. “Our mission is
to get people to take rosé seriously,” he says,
adding that there hasn’t been this kind of
excitement about a French category in
recent memory.
Chevalier and his team are also trying
to create acceptance for older rosé with
bottlings like d’Esclans’ Garrus, which
spends time in French oak and is released
two years behind the current vintage (“It
could be compared to white Burgundy,” he
describes). Nicole Rolet of Chêne Bleu is
also an advocate of older rosé, conceding
it only works with very well-made wines.
“They can evolve magnificently, but it’s a
difficult sell because sommeliers and retail-
ers are so obsessed with only having the
newest vintage,” she explains.
Multi-Season Wine?
At the same time consumers seem willing
to pay more for rosé (Nielsen numbers
reveal the strongest growth has been in
imports over $12), it will be interesting to
see if their thirst is extending beyond the
once rigid sales window of summer. “We
carry 30 to 40 rosés from May to Septem-
ber, and narrow that down to about four
for the rest of the year, and that demand
is growing,” reports Knight at The Wine
House in LA.
Yet as with any wine category, de-
mand is largely a function of gate-keeper
acceptance and market exposure. “We’ve
always been big promoters of dry rosé,”
says Gnarly Vines’ Robinson. “So this re-
ally isn’t a new explosion for us. We stock
250 reds, 150 whites and 50 rosés. From
my perspective, in most places rosé is still
Vie Vité, a new “lifestyle brand” aimed at
the U.S. market, has two expressions; the
opulent Vie Vité Extraordinaire uses fruit from
exceptionally old vineyards and is produced
in small quantities.
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