At our tasting at the Britannia last night, over 40 Richmond Wine Society members discovered that there is a lot more to Provence wines than rosé.
Yes, the region is enormous, yes it produces a lot of wine, but if you are prepared to look beyond the pink haze, you will find some very special wines (some rather pricey!).
We tasted a lovely Vermentino/Sauvignon Blanc blend, vintage 2012, from Chateau Beaulieu, in the Coteaux d’Aix en Provence – aromatic, minerally on the nose, and rich and complex on the palate – just crying out for seafood. Perhaps the £35 price tag might be a bit off-putting…
Also from Ch Beaulieu was a 2016 rosé, a blend of Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Cinsault and Mourvèdre which was pale (some lads felt it was a bit girly), with a delicate strawberry note, and a gentle but complex palate and a more approachable price point £13.
After our gravadlax, we compared two rosés with similar grape mixes, both from the AOC Côtes de Provence: Grenache, Vermentino, Cinsault, Syrah. The Whispering Angel 2016 had a fresh herbaceous nose and a delicate but structured palate. The Miraval 2016 was softer and richer on the nose, and rounder and fuller on the palate with spicy notes. The room split evenly in preference. Both priced around £20/bottle.
Onto reds: the Mon Coeur Violettes 2014 from Domaine Tour Campanets (AOC Coteaux d’Aix en Provence) was a Syrah Cabernet Sauvignon blend, with a spicy chocolatey nose and a very pleasant food palate with great balance between tannin and fruit. A bargain at £14/bottle, and the bottle was very pretty.
Finally (after a rather nice chicken dish rustled up with the Britannia’s usual skill), a comparison of two wines:
Villa de Beaulieu Rouge 2013 (Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache) was spicy with a real blackcurrant character.
Domaine du Trevallon 2011 (IGP Alpines – a table wine appellation allowing them more flexibility with grape mix though this was a Syrah/Cabernet Sauvignon 50/50 blend) was more brambly and complex, and probably because of its bottle age more elegant.
Everyone agreed that the quality of wines we tasted was very high, and there were some very pleasant surprises. So Teddington Wine Society can look forward to a pretty good tasting this Friday!