• Deep Provençal Dive: 2020 Bagnol Rosé

    Deep Provençal Dive: 2020 Bagnol Rosé

    Popular Provence producer, Domaine Ott, might be distracting with its glossy, double-page magazine ads, but the smaller grower-producer estates here offer the highest quality and complexity. Mediterranean's seaside towns, Saint-Tropez and Nice, represent some of France's most luxurious enclaves. You may even be lucky enough to come across Cassis, a more private setting that nearly resembles Hollywood hills.

    Bagnol's Cassis rosé is comprised of 55% Grenache, 31% Mourvedre, and 14% Cinsault. The setting of the vineyards is directly on top of the Mediterranean, endowing a salty sea-breeze element taken a step further than your typical ocean-influenced pink. My first sip of Bagnol's rosé was a proverbial light bulb moment. The combo of deliciousness with finely-etched mineral threads woven throughout this complex rosé was simply in a category of its own.

    If Tempier's Mourvedre-dominant rosé shows the most exquisite full-bodied form, then Bagnol's Grenache-dominant rosé is about racy, wild strawberry and citrus tones. Bagnol might not have the same wide-cast spotlight as other Provence producers, but with only 500 cases imported annually to the U.S., it's one of my go-to secret pinks for the home cellar.

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    Posted by Max Kogod
  • Featherweight Champion: 2021 Marquiliani Rosé

    Featherweight Champion: 2021 Marquiliani Rosé

    Marquiliani's pale copper-hued, diamond-cut rosé from Corsica is one of our most highly anticipated rosé releases each year. The native Sciaccarellu grape is grown here on decomposed granite terraces a couple of miles from the Mediterranean, just below the towering 8,000 foot Mount Renosu, ensuring cool breezes to balance out the island's hot summer temperatures.

    Here, every single grape grown is destined to be rosé. Vin de Corse Rosé shows the domaine's more incisive, linear style of rosé. The smaller production Rosé de Pauline is a touch broader on the palate but counter-intuitively paler in color than the Vin de Corse. Even with Syrah's more prominent role here, this is rosé at its most featherweight and saline-driven.

    Anne Almaric tends these minuscule two hectares of vines, which her family took over in the 1950s. There was a 20-year span where this centuries old domaine was abandoned, and Anne's father was the first to plant Sciaccarellu on the eastern side of the island. Anne's background in agricultural chemistry lends a keen eye toward viticulture, and the vines have prospered under her watch.

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    Posted by Max Kogod
  • Anjou's Salted Cotton Candy: Thibaud Boudignon Rosé

    Anjou's Salted Cotton Candy: Thibaud Boudignon Rosé

    If Thibaud Boudignon's Chenin Blancs are the lightning of Anjou, then his rosé brings the thunder. Here lies a prime example of how Cabernet Franc-based rosé can still be true to the variety, with crunchy, dark fruit notes, electric tones, and minerality often elusive in these parts (Direct pressing still keeps this rosé ultra pale, though). The unusual melding of a cotton candy element with a healthy dose of sea salt makes this one of the most irresistible pinks.

    A June 2016 visit to Boudignon's estate on the outskirts of Savennières left a lasting impression. He's shaking things up in Central Loire, shifting the conversation on everything from aging vessels to picking dates and fermentation philosophy. In short, Boudignon's Chenins re-define Anjou, and his rosé carries that same hallmark of verve. Provence usually gets the spotlight during rosé season, but the Loire delivers just as much refreshment!

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    Posted by Max Kogod
  • Pink Granite Rosé: 2020 Thivin Beaujolais

    Pink Granite Rosé: 2020 Thivin Beaujolais

    While Beaujolais red wines have always been a cornerstone, the region's more limited-production rosés never quite made the cut. That all changed when Kermit Lynch asked Château Thivin (our favorite producer in Côte de Brouilly) for a small amount of their rosé for California. From a single hectare of vines planted on pink granite atop the steep slopes of an ancient volcano—this is not your standard rosé.

    Pink granite and sand surround the ancient Mont Brouilly volcano, and here, on some of the steepest slopes in the region, Gamay is endowed with purple-toned fruits and wild lavender notes. I was hesitant before tasting, imagining those very bouncy and fruit-forward Gamay traits wouldn’t translate to the crisp and mineral personality I look, but Thivin's rosé has a great sense of salinity and freshness.

    This rosé of Gamay is sourced from one hectare of 50-year-old vines. Grapes are pressed immediately giving just a slightly pink hue. The wine is fermented with native yeasts, goes through full malolactic, and spends its life in stainless steel prior to bottling. As a result, it's a snappy and lively rosé that finishes with salty punctuation.

    This two-hectare was purchased at auction by Zaccharie Geoffrey in 1877. His grandson, Claude, was pivotal in the creation of the Côte de Brouilly appellation during the great depression. Now, his grandnephew, also Claude, his wife Evelyn, and their son Claude-Edouard are behind the production of this benchmark. Kermit Lynch visited the domaine during his first trip on the wine route with Richard Olney in 1976.

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    Posted by Max Kogod
  • Provençal Power Duo: 2020 Triennes Rosé

    Provençal Power Duo: 2020 Triennes Rosé

    Started by Burgundy legends Jacques Seysses and Aubert de Villaine in 1989, the success of this Provençal brainchild shouldn't come as a surprise. Triennes impresses each year for the delicate and floral qualities that are indicative of the best Provence. For me, the best rosés must be in the value realm, and over the years, it's become clear that this category has little room for competition.

    The Triennes estate is situated on a high-altitude parcel of limestone and clay soils just 18 miles from the Mediterranean Sea. No doubt, the wine's finish is driven by salinity and ocean breeze, taking me back to my visit to this picturesque estate. As usual, 2020 is mostly Cinsault blended with small portions of Grenache, Syrah, and Merlot.

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    Posted by Max Kogod