Côté Mas"Aurore" 1 L ($12.99)
From the producer:
"Innovation and a passion for the Languedoc are what drives Jean-Claude Mas. Innovation and a passion for the Languedoc are what drives Jean-Claude Mas. Since taking the helm of his family’s winery in 2000, he has prioritized sourcing the highest quality grapes to craft wines of authenticity and refinement.
20% of estate vineyards are farmed organically; the rest is farmed using sustainable practices, certified under Terra Vitis.
Soil is composed of clay and limestone. The Mediterranean climate is warm and dry, with some regulating influence by the Atlantic ocean.
The grapes are destemmed and each variety is vinified separately. Gentle pressing occurred with a pneumatic press; only the free-run juice is used. The fermentation occurred at 62°F in temperature controlled stainless steel for two weeks. The wine was aged on its lees with regular stirring for 40 days in new coated cement vats. This process is to obtain maximum fruit flavor intensity while preserving natural acidity and aroma.
Aromatic with cherry, strawberry and floral aromas evolving toward soft candied fruit notes. The palate is rich and smooth with ripe red fruits and well-balanced acidity. Have an aperitif or pair with grilled chicken, shrimp, and goat cheese salads."
Light, bright, well-made for its price point, easy to drink, larger bottle. What more could you ask for? This is a larger production wine than I usually carry, and you do see it everywhere, but I hold onto it because I think it overdelivers for the price, and because I like to offer a bigger bottle size. I noticed that this vintage is a little more refined than last year's, too, so I'm 100% on board with this wine.
Mas de la Dame "La Gourmande" ($13.99)
Les Bau-de-Provence, France
From the producer:
"Cited in the predictions of Nostradamus, painted by Van Gogh, evoked by Simone de Beauvoir, the Mas de la Dame has been producing wines and olive oil for four generations.
Caroline Missoffe and Anne Poniatowski , the great granddaughters of the founder, today manage this estate which covers three hundred hectares including 57 hectares of vineyards and 28 hectares of olive trees.
Located at the foot of the mythical village of Les Baux de Provence , on the southern slopes of the Alpilles, sheltered by the mountain barrier, the wines benefit from a unique terroir and a very specific microclimate.
On a very draining soil, consisting of stony scree of clay-limestone origin, resulting from the disintegration of the rock, specific to this part of the Alpilles, the vines grow and mingle with the surrounding scrubland in a harmonious balance.
The persistent 'mistral' favors a good sanitary condition and the exchange of aromas.
WINEMAKING & VINTAGE NOTES
Entirely hand-harvested in late August early in the morning under cool temperatures. Elaborated partly by bleeding at low temperature, and
by direct press. Vinification in stainless steel at low temperatures. Each variety is vinified separately then blended. The wine was filtered and bottled late December.
Tender pink color. On the nose, ripe red fresh berry, blood orange, peaches and rose. On the palate, crisp on the attack, subtle, aromatic. Round and perfumed on the finish. This wine is best served chilled with any kind of relaxed meal like barbeque, salads, and pesto pasta, or fish and grilled meat. Also as an aperitif with olives and tapenade."
I was lucky enough to visit the commune of Les Baux-de-Provence when I was 14, and it left its impression. There's a small medieval mountain village whose streets lead up to a ruined castle--magical is not an overstatement for this place. In the area surrounding it, there are only a handful of winemakers, whose standard farming practice is, and always has been, organic. The wines are a little like Provence and a little like the southern Rhone, but they really are a thing unto themselves. This particular wine's light salmon hue belies the strength of its flavor profile, which is distinct enough to hold up to stronger meals.
Tres Palacios Rosé of Cabernet Franc ($10.99)
Cholqui Valley, Chile
From the producer:
"The Viña Tres Palacios winery and vineyards are located in the Cholqui sector of the Maipo Valley, 16 km (10 miles) from the city of Melipilla. Cholqui is a closed valley 9 km (5.6 miles) south of the Maipo River, although it is separated from it by a chain of hills that surrounds the area to the north, east, and south. The Horcon de Piedra Mountain, one of the highest peaks in the Coastal Mountain Range, lies toward the eastern end of the valley. The western side is open to the influence of the Pacific Ocean 30 km (25 miles) away, and cooling breezes from the sea and inter-mountain circulation refresh the vineyards in the summer. Tres Palacios is the only winery in the Cholqui Valley and all of the wines are estate produced.
A vibrant rosé of Cabernet Franc that is bursting with flavor. The Palacios family and winemaker Camilo Rahmer bring a zippy value from Maipo with the second vintage release of this wine."
I really like the balance of fruit and vegetal notes in this wine. It's not completely "savory," but you certainly know it's different from most other pink wines. It's clearly not from southern France! The unique flavor profile and the slight weight on the palate make this wine unusual, but very approachable. Particularly if you've not had Chilean rosé before, you should try this one.