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.
In 1941, Lulu and Lucien Peyraud put Bandol on the AOC map by petitioning for official recognition. Today, Domaine Tempier is perhaps more synonymous with its appellation than any domaine in France. While there's a push each year to get the new vintage of their rosé on the market to quench the ever-increasing thirst of summer's appetite, the best of Tempier's rosé is always yet to come through bottle development.
Domaine Tempier's rosé blend is 55% Mourvèdre, 25% Grenache, and 20% Cinsault, planted on limestone and clay soils above the Mediterranean Coast. The secret to this highly coveted pink is its ability to transform over time while holding onto that critical freshness. Visiting the domaine in July 2016 proved these back-vintage rosés and reds deserve their place among France's most cherished estates.
The red wines are all Mourvèdre-based blended with Grenache, Cinsault, and Syrah. La Tourtine sits above Cabassaou and receives the most cooling influences from the famous Mistral wind that barrels down from the north. Among French wines that transform with age, I'd put Tempier among the top names. In their youth, the single-vineyard cuvées are very tannic and structured; though, they soften with time, with their ripe fruit remaining perfectly intact. Bottles going back to the early '80s remain immensely concentrated in their primary red and black fruit qualities.
Today, I'm happy to offer one of our first rosé releases of the year, the 2020 Arnot-Roberts rosé of Touriga Nacional for $28 per bottle. Always a house pink of mine, year in and year out.
This is the rosé I find myself reaching for continually through all occasions and all times of the year. Based on Touriga Nacional planted at 1,400 feet in the Clear Lake AVA, this pink always follows a high wire act of melding topicality with a salty and refreshingly mineral finish.
Duncan Arnot and Nathan Roberts have long been celebrated for carving their own path in California. They've proved time after time that marginal climates once considered too severe can actually craft some of America's finest and most age-worthy wines. Between Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Falanghina, Gamay, Pinot Noir, Trousseau, and today's favorite rosé, this duo is unrivaled in how they excel across such a wide spectrum.
In the obscure Clear Lake area, Duncan and Nathan have tapped the variety most known for comprising Port. Here, on volcanic cobble, Touriga Nacional has annually been the backbone of this rosé that's seen its loyal fan-base continually expand. There's always a dizzying array of tropical fruits like guava, pomegranate, and passion fruit that meet savory orange peel with a quintessential saline snap on the finish that evokes sea breezes.
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At our annual rosé tasting we regularly have brand new additions to our lineup. We cover a wide range of regions, varieties, and styles. The room is always packed with thirsty San Diegans scribbling notes and getting acquainted with the new vintage. When the dust settles and orders have been placed one truth seems to carry over each spring: Triennes dominates.
As a category, rosé should be able to deliver in the value realm as well as any wine. And over the years it's become clear this space that has little room for competition. The success of the Provençal brainchild of Domaine Dujac & Aubert de Villaine of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti shouldn't come as a surprise at $17 per bottle. These hallowed names of Burgundy came together in 1989 to form this estate on a high altitude, limestone and clay-dominant parcel 18 miles from the Mediterranean.
Triennes impresses each year for the delicate and floral qualities that are indicative of the best of Provence. Where it truly shines is in texture, suave and seamless in showing a pedigree that wines 2x the price claim through glossy marketing ads, but never deliver in glass. Its finish driven by salinity from the Mediterranean sea breeze takes me back to my visit at this picturesque estate.
As is standard, the 2017 is comprised of Cinsault with small portions of Grenache, Syrah, and Merlot.
It's always a pleasure to offer this home run rosé each Spring. We've included magnums for those who plan their parties proper.
2017 Triennes Rosé
$17 per bottle.
2016 Triennes Rosé 1.5L
$35 per bottle.
The 2015 Mosel rosé from Ulli Stein was the biggest pink hit last season, and it was unfortunate when we weren't able to fulfill follow up requests as the limited quantities had vanished. So, we're getting out way ahead of this one. The just-released 2016 is not available online, and will likely be sold strictly through today's offer.
Quantities are very limited and orders will be fulfilled based upon time of request.
Stein's rosé is comprised of Pinot Noir with portions of Cabernet Sauvignon (yes) and Merlot (that's correct). The addition of the latter varieties explain why this Mosel gem is endowed with such distinctive textural characteristics.
The Mosel's blue slate gives a cool fruit quality and salinity to the finish. There's a mélange of bright red and blue fruits with herbs and flowers in abundance. The total picture is one that's wrapped seamlessly together with mind-boggling texture and an explosively long finish.
Ulli's un-grafted vines on the very steepest slopes along the Mosel River (see below) lie on terraces that were once abandoned as the hand work required was simply a non-starter for many. Ulli has been described as a "true bohemian", living with his wife atop a mountain overlooking the Mosel. Their "Inn" doesn't have rooms to book, yet it's always filled with friends, musicians, artists, and writers. Conversations here fuel the eccentric mind of Ulli who's beloved in this idyllic setting among his vines on ancient terraces. As you can imagine his attention to detail and natural approach to viticulture and winemaking is the foundation for the dynamic, intricate wines he produces.
I began to write about the 2016 vintage to give an impression of what to expect, but I realize there's no more informative words on the region than from the inimitable importer, Terry Theise:
"It is a medium-weight vintage and its weight is elegantly and gracefully dispersed.
It is graceful overall, and also lithe, limber and lissome. It is strong when it needs to be, but it measures its strength judiciously and with restraint.
It shows every aspect of superb German Riesling, but doesn’t emphasize any at the expense of the others. It is neither a fruit driven nor floral driven nor mineral driven nor acid driven vintage – it is all of these. Whatever you like about these wines, you’ll find it in plenitude. Except, perhaps, for brash acidity. If you really are someone who craves a yelping brusque acid profile, you might find 2016 too demure.
But I don’t. I find it nearly perfect, with gazelle grace but with the gazelle’s sinewy energy when it wishes to leap and run."
2016 Stein Rosé
$23 per bottle.
2015 Stein "Blue Slate" Riesling (Dry) (From un-grafted 80-year-old vines)
$22 per bottle