As consumers, we often overlook the importance that marketing has in determining whether a wine will find a devoted following of drinkers, sometimes even more so than its taste or price. And, in recent years, few regions have done a better job of marketing and image management than Provence.
Although pink wines have long been made there – and very little else of vinous substance – Provençal wines were seldom consumed outside the South of France and almost never in the United States until they caught onto the rosé wave.
We have mental impressions of most wine regions – the enfolding mountains around narrow Napa Valley, bare slopes of straggly vines plunging down to the Douro for Port, the centuries-old châteaux in Bordeaux – and Provence has captured us with an image of spa-like purity, the color palette of Van Gogh and, above all, its lovely fields of lavender. The image of Provence wine inside the bottle may be a delicate pink, but outside the bottle, the color is pale lavender.
And so, as we transition into summer and the continued pink parade flooding the sample closets of reviewers like me, we again feature a couple of rosés from Provence with their elegant bottles, fanciful names, and images of lavender fields shimmering in the background.
2022 Virgen Mendoza Chardonnay ($13) – Baked apple flavors, a lot of spiciness, some minerality – nice.
2022 Balletto Russian River Valley Gewurztraminer ($24) – A pleasant floral nose and tastes of spicy fruit, but with a dull touch of whey that gewurzes often feature.
2022 Priest Ranch “Block 71” Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc ($28) – Very crisp and tart citrus and apple flavors, yet full-bodied with some fruity sweetness in the finish.
2021 Gai’a “Thalassitis” Santorini White Wine ($41) – Very enjoyable, with a lot of flavors – quince, barrel notes, orange juiciness – and a crisp finish.
2022 Domaine Sigalas Santorini Assyrtiko ($46) – Very nice, very fruity with apple and pear flavors, silky body and a crisp, clean finish.
2019 Estate Argyros “Cuvée Evdemon” Santorini White Wine (~$50) – Juicy , flavors of tangy crab apple and cloves with a metallic crispness in the finish.
2021 Josh Cellars California Rosé ($15) – Pleasant creaminess, moderate body, a little short on the finish.
2022 Fleurs de Prairie Rosé ($20) – Quite nice – floral, very lively flavors of citrus, dry honeycomb and light tannins with a crisp finish.
2022 Fleurs de Mer Côtes de Provence Rosé ($22) – The archetypical smooth Provence pink with creamy berry and citrus flavors, lush on the palate and a good finish.
NV La Marca Prosecco Rosé ($19) – Lively, nicely fruity – strawberry and orange – a little sweet and creamy but with a rush of bubbles and good acidity.
2019 Château de Pez Saint-Estephe ($55) – Very enjoyable mix of red and dark berries with almost-neutral oak blended in.
2015 Appassionata “Andante” Dundee Hills Pinot Noir ($135) – Ernst Loosen’s Pinot held in bottle for five years is an excellent wine – gamey, inviting flavors of cherries with peach skins. More deep in flavors than complex, with a medium body and good acidity.
Prices listed are generally SRP or from wine-searcher.com. As more wineries are now shipping direct-to-consumer, check the winery website if you can’t find a bottle in your retail store.