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Saturday, 19 July 2014

Amy Abroad: Rosé Hunting in the Riviera

The French Riviera with its population of 2.08 million is known for its idyllic beaches and sense of the good life. The Riviera is part of the Cotes de Provence wine region which covers over 50,000 acres of land. It is the oldest area in France for wine production and the region is world renowned for its Rosé wine; with Rosé accounting for 88% of the region’s wine production. France as a country consumes the most Rosé wine in the world, representing 36% of total consumption!

Rich and I were lucky enough to spend a week in the Riviera and while basking in the sun and lounging beside the glistening sea, I got inspired to check out the local’s tipple of choice, Rosé. Here’s the story:

On day one we headed to the gorgeous, coastal town of Antibes. We pitched our tent by the sea and at the resort’s bar we purchased B&G Passeport Rosé. It was served on tap and poured into a 2 litre glass bottle. The wine was light pink in colour and taste-wise was an explosion of red berries and fragrant flowers. I learned that traditional winemaking techniques are still used at B&G and they take special care of the grapes after they are picked to avoid oxidation and to preserve the light pink colour.

The next day we drove inland to our rented house in Bargemon, our base for the next few days. Bargemon is an ancient village that dates back to the 9th century and during medieval times the village was fortified, with remainders of the walls and gateways still existing today.  We purchased a couple bottles of Château la Tour de l'Évêque Rosé to enjoy with dinner. This was a much richer and more full-bodied Rosé with concentrated flavours of raspberries and strawberries. It also had some minerality along with spicy, vanilla notes. Dinner that night was chicken carbonara and this Rosé matched it perfectly!

Feeling in the mood for a daytrip we headed to Saint-Tropez and were mesmerized by the super yachts. Here we purchased the local L'Opale de la Presqu'Ile de Saint-Tropez Rosé. Rich and I parked ourselves on a bench and watched the glamourous set get on and off these exquisite boats while we sipped away on this simple and joyful wine. I thought the citrus aromas would have worked well with some Mediterranean cuisine.

Throughout the week, we drank Domaine de l'Esparon Rosé beside the local pool, a Fiche Technique Chateau De Valbourges Rosé at a wedding and a Matin Chevron Villette Rosé sitting at the seaside, watching the sun set. All of these Rosés are from the vineyards of Côtes de Provence and were all very tasty. My favourite was the Fiche Technique Chateau De Valbourges Rosé so I decided to take a tour at their vineyard on the day we were leaving. However, the French tradition of closing all shops between 12pm and 2:30pm is also a practise observed in the wine world. When we arrived at the cave it was closed for another 2 hours. There was nothing else to do except hit the road and head to the Alps where the next adventure awaited.  It was disappointing not to get into the vineyard to do a tasting but my quest to sample plenty of Rosés of the Riviera was still a success!