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.