Simple is a word often associated with rosé wines, but the adjective is not one you’ll hear at a tasting of Cotes de Provence wines from Chateau Roubine and Chateau Sainte Beatrice.
I recently had the pleasure of meeting the elegant and talented winemaker and owner of the pair of wineries, Valerie Rousselle at a special media dinner at Benoit.
Valerie’s involvement with Provencal vineyards is straight out of a romance novel – the land called to her on a visit and even when she returned to her home in Paris, she couldn’t put it out of her mind. Valerie’s holding include Chateau Roubine, which is located in Var. The region is rich in history and legend of the knights Templar, with renowned cru classé vineyards between Verdon and the Mediterranean.
Valerie’s second property is Chateau Sainte Beatrice, with south-facing 30-60 year old vines of Grenache, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, and more.
With 13 grape varieties grown on estates with different terroirs, Valerie is able to blend both within the cellar as well as take advantage of field blends. The wineries harvest both by grape and by parcel for the most precise control of wine blending. Valerie’s passion for Provence extends to nurturing a near-extinct and difficult-to-work native grape, Tibouren. It is used in blended rosé.
Paired with authentic French cuisine including Quennelles de Brochet, Nantua, the wines shone in a variety of hues and flavors.
Chateau Sainte Beatrice Summer Dreams Rosé 2018 – Grenache/Syrah/Cinsault - Fresh nose of clove spiced raspberries, good acidity and strawberries on the palate with a clean finish.
Chateau Sainte Beatrice “B” Rosé 2018 – Grenache/Syrah/Cinsault - More pronounced nose of rhubarb and mouth filling flavor with savory notes of white pepper and basalmic-drizzled strawberries. This is a full bodied rosé for red wine drinkers.
Chateau Roubine “R” Rosé 2018 – Grenache/Syrah/Cinsault/Rolle - Floral notes on the nose, a lighter bodied wine with delicate strawberry and red currant flavors.
Chateau Roubine La Rose 2018 – Grenache/Cinsault/Syrah – Gorgeous, pronounced nose of ripe wild strawberries and rose petals. The wine has good body with notes of cranberries and cloves, a full-flavored wine that paired well with the Quennelles.
Chateau Roubine Cru Classé Premium Rosé 2018 – Grenache/Cinsault/Tibouren/Rolle/Cabernet Sauvignon/Mourvedre – A carefully blended wine that includes Tibouren, it has a fresh nose of raspberries and on the palate, lively fruit including strawberries as well as a savory, salty hint of bacon, making it food-friendly.
Chateau Roubine Inspire 2018 – Tibouren/Syrah/Grenache – In this wine, Valerie lets Tibouren shine, giving it 90% of the blend. The organic wine is made with some of the Tibouren vines over 80 years old. It’s a full bodied, savory wine with clove and pepper burnishing rhubarb and star anise.
Chateau Roubine Lion & Dragon Rosé 2018 – Grenache/Tibouren/Mourvedre/Rolle – According to Valerie, the idea behind this wine is to create a “strong rosé” with “character and intensity.” The wine is made from vines averaging 50 years old, but with Tibouren vines over 80. The wine is full bodied, with concentration, and spice dusting the core of strawberry compote. It has a long finish that comes as a lovely surprise in a rosé.
The wines of Chateau Roubine and Chateau Sainte Beatrice are all about balance and blending. While some of them offer intensity, they are never heavy. Yet they are far from the light-weight quaffers people expect from rosé. They showcase the grape varieties that thrive in this Mediterranean region, as well as precise blending and care in the vineyard. Each cuvée is unique, and all well-suited to the fine French fare of Benoit.