Chateau Routas 'Rouviere' Rosé 2013 - Provence, France

Drooling around at all of our rosé this year, it is becoming a pain in the ass to decide which to drink and which to write about.   I know, first world problems.  We have some of the best Oregon, Greek, Spanish, Portuguese & French rosés to choose to drink this Spring and Summer.  Recently, a bottle of Chateau Routas was knocked down and I have to say, it always over delivers.  I do not know how the wine maintained the pricing this year.  Everything else climbs in price, this is getting ridiculous.

Chateau Routas is located in the heart of Provence, equidistant from the French Riviera on the Mediterranean coast and the foothills of the Alps in the AOC Coteaux Varois.  It is surrounded by tiny medieval villages that cling to steep cliffs and overlooks miles of spectacular hillsides, woods and rivers.

The 642-acre property includes 135 acres of strategically planted vineyard parcels that create a mosaic throughout the rocky, heavily-wooded terrain in this unspoiled, high-elevation sector of Provence.  Some vineyard sites have soils that are red as crushed brick, while others consist of crumbly grey limestone mixed with pockets of iron-rich, red clay, and stones that reflect the hot summer sun.

At 1,300 feet above sea level, the elevation is among the appellation’s highest, providing cool nights that slow the ripening of the grapes, contributing fresh notes, good colour and complexity, plus dictating harvest dates that are up to a month later than other estates.

The estate also encompasses dense woods, olive trees, and oak trees hiding black truffles. Bright red poppies grow alongside brilliant yellow sunflowers, and the surrounding forests hide a substantial number of wild boars – which are unfortunately a little too fond of the Routas grapes come harvest time.  They practice lutte raisonée, or "reasoned struggle" and avoid chemicals and pesticides.  

The 2013 Rosé is comprised of 45% Cinsault, 35% Grenache & 20% Syrah.  The grapes are gently destemmed, cooled and pressed.  The juice and the skins remain in contact for 24 hours.  After this brief maceration, 8% of the Syrah goes straight into wooden barrels for primary and malolactic fermentation.  The Cinsault, Grenache and remaining Syrah are fermented in stainless steel tanks, blocked from malo- lactic fermentation.  The two different lots are aged separately, and blended prior to bottling.

The awards for this rosé are sickening and their winemaker is famous so I will spare you.  Let us just be humble and say that this is the best regional example of rosé from Provence for the money in the world.  

This year serves up freshly cut watermelon, ripe peach aromas and floral notes that lead to a palate alive with wild strawberries and hints of mineral notes.  Finishes with crisp acidity and an alluring, refreshing finish.  Serve with sunshine.