Arnaud and his father in the Couly Dutheil cellars

This Rosé with its nervy charm and Cabernet Franc essence will completely win you over. You will be passing up your favorite summer white for it, I promise. And, you do know that pouring a Rosé these days makes you exceedingly cool, or hot, depending upon your generation.

Domaine Couly Dutheil, famous for their Loire reds (Clos de l'Echo, Baronnie Madeleine, and Diligence), are making one of France's most refreshing and best Rosés I've ever put in my glass - and I've tasted a lot of them.

Couly Dutheil winemaker Arnaud Couly's Rosé brings summer to my lips. You can taste the hint of red berries (Rosé should never just taste like pink white wine. It is made, afterall, from red wine grapes.) and there is that zing of fresh, perfect acidity in your mouth.

The Rene Couly Rosé comes from one of the most beautiful wine villages in all of France: Chinon. I've been drinking Chinon for twenty-five years. I cannot taste a Chinon without a vivid picture of the village popping into my mind.

For a quarter of a mile in each direction along the Vienne River are charming stone houses built right into the hillside. The land rises steeply from the bank and on its highest part sits a chateau, noble though in ruins, and of course backed by vineyards in all directions.

All up and down the river are France's signature plane trees, stumpy and squat from rigorous pruning in the winter and bursting with shade-giving leaves in the summer. There is an open-air market once a week. You can sip your noir double in the morning and watch the trafficking of ripe peaches and aromatic melons and cheeses and feel a few million miles away from anything flashy and artificial and second-rate.

Domaine Couly Dutheil has been making some of the Loire's best wines for 80 years now. This Rene Couly Rosé is produced on gravel and sandy soils, from mature vines. The grapes are picked by hand and the yields are low. They treat their Rosé the same as they do any of their other award-winning red wines. And speaking of awards, this wine just won a Gold Medal at the prestigious Paris Agricultural Fair.

Do you know how Rosé is made? First, you press the grapes the way you normally would for any red wine. The juice is allowed to sit with the grape skins briefly picking up color, but also tannins, pectins and proteins which give the wine structure. Then, -and here's where the process differs from red wine vinification- the juice is drained off, put into another vat without the skins, and the fermentation proceeds. The process is called saignée.

This is what gives Rosé its beautiful, seductive, pale color and subtle red fruit notes. Are you ready to pour a sunset into your glass? Cynthia Hurley

Couly-Dutheil René Couly Rosé 2008  

Couly-Dutheil René Couly Rosé 2008

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