Thursday is the day when I often hear myself saying, "I feel a blog coming on!" This is because Thursdays are my wine tasting days, when Tara and I meet with some of our wine vendors to taste their latest releases. This is the day when I find that little jewel of a wine that I want to get on the wine list immediately and rattle on about in my blog. Fortunately for me, spring is here and that means that rosé wines are making their way state side.
I've always been a huge lover of rosé wines. I keep plenty of rosé on hand at my home and during the late spring and summer months, I can have up to five rosés by the glass at AOC. After a long time in which very few people were making rosé well, we are finally at a wonderful rosé moment when it's becoming much easier to find good wine at a variety of price points from around the world. And although there are a few Italian, American and Spanish rosés that I really like, I will say that I am a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to this and tend to like rosé from the South of France more than most other areas. Domaine Tempier and Domaine de Fontsainte are two labels that come to mind as almost always being on my wine lists throughout the entire year.
This last Thursday I had the pleasure of tasting a rosé from one of my favorite southern French producers, Mas de Daumas Gassac. This winery was founded by Veronique and Aimé Guibert in 1970 while they were searching for a family home. The property which was originally owned by the Daumas family was in the heart of a beautiful, untouched valley though which the Gassac River flows. The Guiberts actually had no experience whatsoever in grape growing, but were advised by professionals that their property with its underground springs and moist location near mountains, was much like that of Medoc. Naturally, they planted Cabernet Sauvignon, among other Southern french varieties, and with the help of Professor Emile Peynaud, a renowned oenologue and advisor to Chateau Margaux, Haut Brion, Le Mission Haut Brion and others, they began to make wine. They bottled their first white in 1986 and have since gained an immense amount of respect and recognition for their outstanding quality. They are definitely not a household name, as they produce a relatively small amount of wine, but they should be.
This rosé is bottled under their second label, Moulin de Gassac and is made from a blend of 55% Syrah and 45% Grenache from 20 year-old vines. The grapes were 100% destemmed, bled after 10 to 12 hours of maceration and fermented and aged for 5 to 6 months in stainless steel tank. The wine shows rich yellow peach and candied nectarine aromas with notes of fresh strawberry and plumy stone fruits on the palate. This is a lean, racy wine that blends high acidity and freshness with a delicate floral perfume and exotic quality. It is clean and bright while also being complex and rich.
When I tasted this wine, I immediately described it as one of my "Saint Tropez wines" that remind me of the summer that I spent in Saint Tropez with my husband Michael and my business partner Suzanne. We were all there together for two weeks of much needed rest and relaxation after our first year of business at Lucques. For each day of that vacation, we ate just about every lunch at the same little beach cafe. And each time, we would order the exact same thing, steak tartare, french fries and a bottle of bright, fresh, aromatic rosé. There is a saltiness in the Moulin de Gassac that recalls the sea air at that French beach.
Oh how I miss that summer. And lord knows when I'll be able to experience that again. In the meantime at least, I can close my eyes and take a sip of Le Moulin de Gassac rosé and be transported there in my mind if not in my body.