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95-point Provence rosé - August 2019

The main story for us in August 2019 is that we have one of the two 95-point, Outstanding Provence rosés at a UK-best price (and it's hard to find in any event)! of £18.95. There's more detail below.

Rosé ... always a divider of opinion. For some (many?), it's not seen as 'proper wine'. This time last year, Decanter reviewed French-but-not-from-Provence rosés. We forcefully made the case then that rosé is not (at all) to be seen as not-very-good just because it's pink in colour.

Indeed, if that case is easiest to make anywhere, it's with the rosé of Provence, which has managed to define itself as the homeland - certainly in aggregate - of the world's best rosé. Provence, one might contend, has become to rosé what Champagne has long been to sparkling.

Some part of that is fine marketing and branding, of course: Châteaux Miraval and d'Esclans (they of Whispering Angel) have been paramount here. But much lies in superior (often higher/cooler) vineyards, careful vineyard management and superior rosé-making techniques. As said last year, much of the best/most elegant/refined rosé is made by the direct pressing/pressurage direct method. Here, where one is essentially making a white wine from red/black grapes, only the best-quality juice is used and this has a large impact on overall quality, albeit at a price (the volume of wine yielded is markedly lower when compared with the saignée method). 

The Decanter review puts 90+ Provence rosés through their paces and finds two Outstandings of 95 points. Interestingly, although there are some 15 Highly Recommendeds (90+ points), none rise above 92 points, making the two Outstandings just that.

Ours is the Abacus 2018 from Domaine des Mapliers; it's categorised as a Cotes de Provence AOP, from Lorgues in the Var département. There's a bundle more info on the domaine, its owner etc on both their website and our product page.

It's a rosé minimalistically made (and very much made in the vineyard), so there's only so much one can say. But, crucially and manifestly, this is a very-well made rosé. It stands out, we would argue, for a few key reasons:

- it comprises a rare - and not insignificant/token - proportion of Cab Sauv, which adds a sense of something extra - body, flavour - than is typical. With Syrah, Cinsault and Grenache as the other components, this is a rosé of some substance. 

- it's silky and smooth in a way that many rosés are not; and

- it's organically produced (seeking certification).

It's telling that the Abacus out-shines such major names as Châteaux Léoube and Minuty; it's also interesting that neither Miraval nor any of the Angels from d'Esclans were submitted for test. 

Here's the Abacus's review:

Availability/delivery: we have 150 bottles that can be with you (in the UK) by Friday of next week (5th July) - beyond those, it's 2-3 weeks before new stocks will arrive from the domaine. So, if you want this to provide refreshment while watching the tennis/rowing/World Cup cricket/footy etc, we do suggest speed of ordering. We're not limiting order size, but it's worth saying that the domaine only have quite limited supplies left (it was a small harvest), so don't linger too long.

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Domaine des Mapliers Abacus 2018 (1x75cl)

Awarded 95 points and Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their August 2019 edition panel tasting of Provence rosé (see blue link below).

Domaine des Mapliers Abacus 2018 - August 2019 Decanter review

Jean Gallo had been passionate about wine and Champagne for a long time. He had already transformed this passion into his work as a well-known distributor on the French Riviera, specialising in Provence rosé wines. He had transmitted his values and passion to his son. They both dreamt about acquiring a vineyard...  and the dream came true in 2013 when they purchased this small area of land - barely 10 hectares in area - and created Domaine des Mapliers.

The vineyard is located in the heart of Provence's Varoise, between Lorgues and Saint Antonin du Var and boasts a long history of viticulture. The vines spread across the south-facing hillside on calcareous clay soil and is surrounded by Mapliers' olive grove and a forest of oak trees. Moreover, the vines are located at an altitude of 300m (+), lending the fruit a natural and vital acidity often lacking in Provencale rosés.

Domaine des Mapliers applies sustainable cultivation: soils are treated naturally with mechanical weeding and ploughing while, for treating the vines, only organic products are used (ie no pesticides or weedkillers). From 2015, the domaine has been in the process of conversion to certified organic standards. 

For this, the Abacus 2018, please see the blue link below for the fiche technique/technical and tasting note from the winemakers at the domaine.

Domaine des Mapliers Abacus 2018 - fiche technique

Very pale salmon in colour. Strong florality on the nose, along with apples and peaches (predominantly) plus hints of fennel, liquorice and star anise. On the palate, some minerality and salinity, but the dominant presence is plenty of fruit (peaches, apples, some red fruit). A surprisingly full body and long finish complete the picture.

ABV = 13.5%.

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