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"If you are looking for a rosé with personality and grace, Clos Cibonne offers both in spades. The Roux family specializes in Tibouren, a rare variety also found in Liguria, where it’s called Rossese di Dolceacqua. Vinified in stainless steel, then aged under a layer of yeast (à la Sherry) in old 500-liter foudres, it makes for a substantial, complex rosé in Cuvée Tradition: It’s dark and earthy in feel, suffused with flavors that range from tangy citrus to woodsy spice, orange zest and fresh, fruity mushrooms. Delicious now, it has the structure to gain more complexity with age. 93 points." Wine & Spirits.
The property of Clos Cibonne dates back to 1797 when the Roux Family purchased it from Jean Baptiste de Cibon, captain of the royal marines of Louis XVI. In 1930, André Roux modernized the winery in order to pursue his goal of producing top quality wines at the estate. This revival ignited an era of fame for the rosés of Clos Cibonne.
In the 1980s, hard times fell upon the estate and it drifted without clear direction until Bridget, André Roux’s granddaughter, and her husband, Claude Deforge, took it over in the late 1990s. Their immediate goal was to bring the estate back to its former grandeur. By renovating the cellars while preserving the tradition of aging in old foudres, the family began to re-establish the vaunted reputation of the domaine. Thanks to their effort, Clos Cibonne once again lives up to its standing as one of the 18 Crus Classés in Côtes de Provence.
NB: There are 18 estates in the Côtes de Provence classed as Cru Classé – a designation created in 1955, as much as 22 years before the appellation itself (!), their reputation based on history rather than commonality of terroir.
The heart of the estate is their Tibouren. André Roux was a great fan of this native grape variety and believed it to be the ideal grape for the region. As part of his revitalisation, he replaced all of the estate’s Mourvèdre with Tibouren. Tibouren had been in drastic decline since the onset of the phylloxera blight. An ancient Mediterranean variety reputedly favoured by Julius Caesar, it was transported over the Alps by Napoleon’s troops and took root in Liguria as Rossese. Here in Provence, it makes thirst-quenching, smoky, sapid pinks, and earthy, red-fruited fine reds.
Clos Cibonne soon became synonymous with Tibouren and received special permission from the AOC to list the grape on its labels.
The estate’s 15 hectares of vineyards are located a mere 800 meters from the coast and are surrounded by hillsides in the base of a bowl that faces the sea. This topography creates air circulation that allows for perfect maturation of the grapes and helps to reduce vintage variation.
Organic production, albeit without certification yet.
After harvest, the wines - and this applies to this, the Cuvee Tradition rosé - are fermented in stainless steel and then aged under fleurette (a thin veil of yeast) for 12 months in 100-year-old, 1,500-litre old oak foudres.
Clos Cibonne thus crafts a wine that is completely its own through combining a rare grape with a unique aging process.
For more/all the winemaking detail, see the blue link below for the excellent fiche technique/technical note from the Clos itself; it does feature some interesting translation. It features the 2017 bottle in image; the fiche applies to all vintages.
Clos Cibonne, Cuvee Tradition Tibouren rose - fiche technique
90% Tibouren, 10% Grenache.
Salmon-orange colour. A smooth, spicy, gastronomic rosé with some lovely texture and structure, clean fruit avours of orange peel and peach, good acidity and balance, with a long-lasting finish.
ABV = 13.5%.