'Like sucking on the breeze of the sea, a thick stew of saline fog scraping off the seaside rocks as it rolls through the car window of my Aunt's freshly cleaned Chrysler where I'm left nibbling on milk chocolate bits and breathing in the medley of freshly picked berries warming quickly in the back seat with the day...'
Sadly I didn't start this blog last summer, but it was filled long stretches in the sun, working and relaxing with what I remember being a great number of Rose wines. And as summer turned to autumn and then autumn to winter, I still found myself eyeing this section because I wasn't quite done with it yet --whether it be recalling the warm days or the delicate tastes or because my Brooklyn apartment is kept at a constant seventy-or-so degrees...
So in keeping with my spontaneous palate and shopping habits, I decided to revisit the Rose section of my local wine shop knowing it would be perfectly chilled on the return home from walking the dog. Granted by this time I've tried most of the limited selection and so chose one of the few I hadn't tried yet and then found through my research that... well... there wasn't much information on the origins, makers, or reviews on this specific wine.
It took a little sleuthing to track down any information on the Maison Bourron Rose, though to be fair the origin is noted directly on the bottle: 'Mis en Bouteille par La Cave des Vignerons de Cogolin' or 'bottled by the winemakers of Cogolin winery' (thank you google translate!)-- but I'm guessing since I couldn't find more in-depth information on the makers, a single review, a website, the grape precentages, or the particular production methods used I began to think that perhaps it says something about the Cote de Provence AOC and its wines. (or I just didn't search the vast open ocean of the internet enough...)
So instead of leaving this to the above, I thought that I'd give a little snapshot to reacquaint myself with the history, grapes, and current events of this region. First off, Provence is part of a wine-making history stretching back to the Greeks who founded Marseille in 600BCE, was conquered by the Romans renaming it provincia romana, only for wine production to be given more serious consideration in the Middle Ages by the monastic orders to fill their coffers--and then of course the phylloxera epidemic hit in 1880s devastating the vineyards. It was interesting to learn that wines made in the time of the Greeks and Romans were of a paler hue, not truly red wine as we know it; it's believed that this is due to the fact that they didn't leave the wines to macerate for long periods of time and it wasn't until the Romans that reds were made popular as we know them today.
Perhaps one of the difficulties in trying to track down this particular wine is due to the fact that the Cote de Provence AOC is made up of over 85 communes, stretching from the Alps in the north straight out to the Mediterranean Sea while incorporating some pockets further west towards Marseille. It was only until relatively recently that in 2009 three sub-appellations were introduced in an effort to recognize peculiar soil types and microclimtes--a move that will no doubt help focus the terroir and techniques. Geographically Cogolin lies in an area dominated by the Mediterranean climate, being just off the Gulf of Tropez in the south-eastern part, a short distance from St. Tropez where winters are mild, summers are very warm with little rainfall and abundant sunshine.
With this said, I'm excited for this season of Rose!
Though not mind blowing -and perhaps this speaks to my jaded senses- this wine is typical of Provence Roses, which is to say perfectly fitting for its geography and climate. The Maison Bourron Reserve 2011 evokes a striking (and perhaps even dominant) and stewy saline minerality right off the bat with soft plumes of strawberry and wild berry notes rising from behind this shroud, as if thickened by the heat of the sun, creating a weighty yet breezy combination.
Geography: I love trying to find out what soil varieties affect the wine being made. From what I can gather this region has a grab bag of types spanning limestone and shale along much of the coasts, schist and quartz at the southern-most parts, and clay and sandstone inland and to the east.
Main Grape Varieties: 80% must be at least Cinsaut, Grenache, Mourvedre, Syrah, and Tibouren but no two can be more than 90% with 10% being Clairette, Semillon, Ugni Blanc, Vermentino.
Winery: Cogolin Winery; 49 Rue Marceau, Cogolin, Provence-Alpes-Cote, France.
Importer: Apollo Fine Spirits, Freeport, NY
PoP: Vino En Wyckoff, Brooklyn, NY - $11.99