Domaine de Cala Classic Rosé 2018, France
Cost: $16-19
A nice dry rosé is great to drink all year long, but the warm days of summer seem particularly suited to this treat.
American wineries have released many appealing rosés, but it is always worth going back to where the best rosés originated, in Provence. The Domaine de Cala Classic Rosé only began a few years ago, but the grapes are grown Provence, the most famous rosé region in the world.
A combination of soil, weather and great grapes give the wines of Provence something special. The Domaine de Cala is a great example of that at a bargain price. The estate consists of 600 acres in Brignoles, in the heart of Provence in southeast France.
I had the 2018 vintage, a blend of 40 percent estate Grenache, 14 percent Cinsault, 17 percent Rolle and 29 percent Syrah. The current release is the 2019 vintage, a blend of 48 percent estate Grenache, 35 percent Cinsault, 6 percent Rolle, 5 percent Syrah, 4 percent Carignan and 2 percent Grenache Blanc.
Although the blend is slightly different the taste should be much the same for Domaine de Cala’s flagship wine, as they try to create a consistent house style every year.
The wine is a beautiful pale peach color in the glass, with floral and citrus aromas. It has a full mouth feel, with peach flavors and notes of spice and minerality. It was good sipping before dinner, but it got even better with dinner.
The grapes are grown on multiple parcels, including vineyards on hillsides and on a plateau. The complexity of the wine is enhanced by the different slopes and the exposure to mistral winds, allowing cooler harvests and more complete maturity of the grapes.
The red grapes are harvested by hand in small crates, which allows the winery to protect grapes at the time of cutting and during transport to the winery. The wine is aged in oak barrels and vats, giving it a silky, pleasant complexity.
If you wonder what all the fuss is about Provence Rosé, this wine will make it abundantly clear.
Winery: Although great rosé has been made in Provence for many years, Domaine de Cala dates back only to 2015. That’s when acclaimed chef Joachim Splichal returned to his roots and opened this winery.
Splichal learned to cook in Provence and after gaining fame there, moved to California. His culinary empire went from one restaurant to more than 70 on the east and west coasts. He founded the Patina group, which has restaurants in and near Disney World, throughout New York including in Lincoln Center and in Boston. In California his restaurants are in Orange County, in Disneyland, in Santa Monica and throughout Los Angeles. The company even owns a restaurant in Tokyo.
Even while he was making a name for himself in the culinary world, he dreamed of making wine in Provence. He searched for the perfect vineyard for years before buying the property in Brignoles about 35 miles from the coastal town of Saint-Tropez. Splichal signed on his twin sons as partners
The estate has 600 acres, with 120 acres of vineyards planted to Cinsault, Grenache, Syrah and Rolle. Domaine de Cala wines are 100 percent estate grown and bottled, a rarity in a region dominated by négociant production models. The estate also features a newly renovated fortified town adjacent to a 19th century chateau. A state-of-the-art tasting and hospitality center will open on the property in the spring of 2021.
Winemaker Bruno Tringali, originally from the southern French town of Toulon, is known for his work with rosé wines.  He also brings more than 30 years of experience to the team and has been working with and studying agriculture since the age of 14.  At the age of 18 he earned his diploma of oenology from Montepellier’s Faculté de Pharmacie.
Today, he oversees every aspect of the production of rosé wines at Domaine de Cala. In addition to rosé, a Blanc and a Rouge are also produced at Domaine de Cala under the leadership of noted consulting winemaker Stéphane Derenoncourt.
Goes with: We had this beautiful wine with with an easy mid-week supper of tempura shrimp and french fries. The shrimp come frozen and all we have to do is pop them in the oven. Likewise, the fries are frozen, so we have a delicious meal without much work.
The shrimp come with soy sauce, which is what we usually pour over the shrimp, but sometimes I have them with cocktail sauce. It’s not exactly the same as making your own tempura shrimp but it’s nice to have this alternative when you are too tired or lazy to cook from scratch.
The wine was an excellent match for the food, with the citrus, spice and mineral notes complementing the shrimp and not overpowering them. It also would pair with a variety of foods, from light salads and pasta to fish, shellfish, grilled chicken, lamb, or even spicy foods. It’s great on its own or with cheese or an aperitif, but it really shines with a tasty dinner.

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