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Enjoying Wine and Beer in the Augusta GA area

Chateau Peyrassol Rosé Is A Provence Blockbuster

Chateau Peyrassol Rosé 2018, Provence

Cost: $25-27

Fall in Augusta is a great time for drinking rosé, so I have been drinking a lot of it lately. And there are a lot of great rosés being produced right now.

The best rosé wines are bright, full of fruit and dry or slightly off-dry. Many are not an afterthought to a winery’s portfolio, but a planned part of their program. In many cases the grapes are grown specifically for a rosé.

Rosé comes in all styles, but generally you can break them down by Old World and New World styles. The Old World standard bearers are the wines of Provence. (If you want to sound like a wine or food snob you would pronounce it Pro-VAHNS.)

Sales of rosé from Provence are soaring in the United States. In fact, outside of France we are the number one consumers of Provence rosé. There is a good reason for that. They generally are fresh, fruity and a little laid back.

New World styles are more fruit-forward, in-your-face and full-bodied. That can be good, in fact, great at times. But when you want something to match a good meal, you can’t beat a good Provençale rosé.

A great example is the Chateau Peyrassol Rosé 2018 ($25-27). It is a beautiful pale salmon in the glass with aromas of strawberry with notes of apricot and orange. The first sip hooks you immediately. The apricot and orange flavors hit first, followed by hints of peach and minerals.

It is a fresh, versatile wine, great for sipping before dinner, with appetizers or with a great meal. This is a complex wine that is easy to drink. You don’t have to think about all the flavors that are coming from your glass; you only need sip it and enjoy.

This blend comes from the oldest grapes in the domaine. Their low yield produces full-bodied grapes which bear the hallmark qualities of the terroir.

The blend is 46 percent cinsault, 27 percent grenache, 11 percent mourvedre, nine percent rolle, and seven percent syrah, picked when the temperature is coolest. The grapes are transported to the winery at the peak of their freshness and fermented in stainless steel vats.  During these operations the juice is protected from oxidation. 

The varietals are kept separate and aged on fine lees for four months, mostly in  stainless steel vats.

There are several sub regions in Provence, but Cotes de Provence, the area where this wine is produced, accounts for 75 percent of the rosé in Provence. Most rosé is low in alcohol (12 percent on average) and in price.

Provençal rosé producers say their their wines should be chilled, but not ice cold. The range is 45-55 degrees and your refrigerator usually is in the mid 30s. So chill it in the refrigerator and let it warm up for 30 minutes before drinking.

Provençal wines go back 2,600 years to when ancient Greeks arrived. When the Romans conquered the area, the name changed to “Provincia Nostra,” literally meaning our province.

Provence is a state of mind as much as it is a place in southern France. People dream about it because of the incredible food matched by great wine. Fields of lavender grow next to vineyards. Famous French painters such as Picasso, Cezanne and Van Gogh couldn’t get enough of it.

So you can sit on your porch and dream about Provence while sipping this lovely wine. If you have been there it should bring those memories back to life. If you only dream of going there, the wine can almost make you feel like you are there.

Winery: Chateau Peyrassol has a rich, lengthy history, dating back to the 13th Century when it was founded by the Knights Templar. It was used as a staging post and place of rest for pilgrims heading to the Holy Land.

When the Knights fell out of favor, the Commanderie de Peyrassol and all the other assets of the Templars went to the Knights of Malta, who held it until 1789.

The French Revolution changed everything again and the land became the property of the nation. The Rigord family then bought it and passed it down through the family until 1967 when Dr. Rigord replanted a large portion of the property.

Françoise Rigord decided to bottle and market the wines of the Commanderie in 1977.

Philippe Austruy, who owns several estates in France and elsewhere, bought the property in 2001 and restructured the vineyard and planted the first olive grove. He turned the management over to his nephew, Alban Cacaret, who has turned it into one of the crown jewels of Provence.

Goes with: We had this incredible rosé with bell pepper stew, a dish my mother made when I was a boy. It is essentially stuffed peppers in a tomato sauce.

This rosé was perfect for the stew. It had enough flavor and body to stand up to the peppers and ground beef, but it didn’t overwhelm the dish either. Sometimes red wine is too much for this somewhat delicate stew, so rosé is a good match.

I stuff the peppers with a mixture of ground beef, rice and raw eggs. Then I cook them in beef broth, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce and herbs. It is one of the favorite soups I make.

This wine is ideal as an aperitif, to accompany tapas, but also goes well with grilled fish, beef or fish tartare, chicken alfredo, shrimp scampi, carpaccios and fresh berry desserts.

If you have questions about wine you can email Dennis Sodomka at dennis@bottlereport.com

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