A Different Perspective from Provençe: Chateau Vignelaure Coteaux D’Aix Rosé #Winophiles

When you think of Provence, what comes to mind? Coastal breezes? Fields of lavender? Herbs of Provence? A fresh crisp rosé wine made from Grenache, possibly with some Syrah or Mourvedre or CInsault? So at first when you think of a different perspective in Provence, you’d think red wine, which are rare and lovely: of the 176 million bottles produced each year, 89% of the region’s production is rosé; only 7% is red and the remaining 4% is white. Read about biodynamic practicing and organic certified 2013 Chateau Guilheim Tournier “Cuvee la Malissonne” AOC Bandol, France, a red wine made with 95% Mourvèdre, 5% Grenache. 

But the different perspective we’re talking about today is that of  time, and no I didn’t mean the herb thyme although does come in to play, as well as grapes

Usually rosé wines from Provençe are remarkably vibrant, bright, and fresh rosé with Grenache the dominant grape. 

They are released quickly, usually in the spring or summer following its harvest– as early as February! (What’s not to love about a fresh rose for Valentine’s Day?) Generally, however, rose is not known to last, and if you keep it in the cellar too long, it will fade. It’s more like the rose flower in that way: the bloom is gone far too quickly. But this wine is a 2014 and still has lots of character left to love.

These older rosé wines are called rosé de garde or “rosé to keep.”

And speaking of time, for over 2,000 years, this region has grown grapes: just east of Vignelaure, archaeologists found relics of Roman viticulture dating from one century BC.

While Grenache is indeed the predominant grape, the Château Vignelaure Rosé 2014 is a blend of 40% Grenache, 30% Syrah, and surprise — 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, a grape better known grown in France in Bordeaux. 

Château Vignelaure pioneered the planting of Cabernet Sauvignon in Provence; Georges Brunet, the former owner of Château La Lagune in Bordeaux, supervised the building of Vignelaure in the late 1960s. No wonder there are Cabernet Sauvignon vines! The first wines produced in 1970 were red; it wasn’t until 1992 that they made rose, and only recently that have they offered a white wine blend.

An art lover, Georges Brunet brought artists to Château Vignelaure to create, and he built a substantive art collection. The current owners Bengt and Mette Sundstrom, art lovers from Sweden, have added to the collection developing further especially the outdoor sculpture garden pictured above in winter (now there’s a different perspective of Provence for sure!)

In 2007 Château Vignelaure began converting to organic farming, and the 2020 Château Vignelaure Rosé vintage is identified as organic. Of their 200 hectares, 55 have vines, with much of the rest of the land left wild.

The name Château Vignelaure means the vine of Laure, who was the muse of the poet Petrarch.

 

Menu

  • Gougeres
  • Brie en croute: double creme Marin brie nestled in ripe pear and pecans with pomegranate paste wrapped in  puff pastry 
  • Dates that Gretel stuffed with goat cheese
  • Pate
  • Buttermilk brined fried chicken with mashed potatoes and flour gravy

2014 Chateau Vignelaure Coteaux D’Aix en Provençe
In conversion to organic grapes: 40% Grenache, 30% Syrah, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon
ABV 13%
SRP $19
sample for my review  

Color: Rose gold or salmon is not your typical color for a wine from provence, but as it is an older vintage, it’s typical to turn a bit more orange. 

Aroma: Cucumber, watermelon, green apple, unripened peach,  cinnamon, black pepper, baking spices; it’s not super fruity or floral. 

Palate: Watermelon, herbal finish like sage, rose water, herbs de Provence (including thyme!). For Sue it was light and delicate, for me it was a bit savory. We both found it refreshing, clean, and with minerality. 

Pairing: The baked brie makes a fantastic combo. It has just a touch of sweetness from the fresh fruit and pomegranate paste, and that went well with the herbal notes in the wine as did the rich roasted pecan.

The wine was perfect with our fried chicken dinner. Loves the fried chicken, does not fight with the creamy gravy; it just loves the richness of the meal.

I could totally go with a grilled cheese sandwich with this wine. This would be a great wine to take for a picnic or concert in the park paired with fried chicken!  On a subsequent evening, I paired the wine with salmon sushi as well as a California roll. Both were wonderful pairing– sorry no pictures! 

Learn more about Chateau Vignelaure  

This month, we Winophiles offer to you wines of Provence in the following articles with  a twitter chat using the hashtag #Winophiles Saturday Jan. 15 at 8am Pacific.

 

 

Next month,  Wendy Klik from A Day in the Life on the Farm hosts #Winophiles as we show that “Romance is in the Air in February.” Articles will begin appearing on Friday Feb. 18 in advance of the Sat. 8am Pacific twitter chat.  

Let’s travel!

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Up next: Looking for more pairings with fried chicken? You’re in luck! Up next we have 5 sparkling wines from unexpected places around the world, including two “Sekt” which is name for sparkling wines from Austria and Germany, where they drink more sparkling wine than anywhere else!

 

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