ARRIVING TOMORROW, APRIL 25th!
Couly Dutheil's 2011 Rose is Here!
The Wine of Summer
Chinon Structure & Cabernet Franc Aromatics
By Cynthia Hurley
I've got my chair tipped back, my feet up and a chilly glass of fresh, fruit-filled, shimmering, gorgeous Couly Dutheil Rosé in my hand, as I watch the late afternoon melt kaleidoscopically into early evening. A refill, please!
I'm drinking Rosé all year 'round but in the summertime it has a special place. Barbecues and patio time - all outdoor eating - beg for Rosé and a vacation weekend is incomplete without it. With Memorial Day and the Fourth of July coming you should be stocking up.
Let me tell you what makes this Rosé so irresistible: everything about it is first class. To start with, it is made by Arnaud Couly, the master winemaker of Domaine Couly Dutheil in Chinon (in the Loire Valley) whose wines appear on the wine list at 21 of the 26 Michelin 3-star restaurants in France. This is a man whose wines you already love (his white Chanteaux is so popular it is impossible to keep it in stock) and his reds (La Coulée Automnale, Baronnie Madeleine, Clos de l'Echo and Crescendo) are a showcase of Chinon character and an education in the potential of Cabernet Franc. He knows what he is doing.
Now about that Cabernet Franc - that is the grape type of this stunning rosé. The fruited aromatics will overwhelm your senses. The focus on the nose and palate is on bright berries and other red fruits.
Arnaud achieves this pronounced flavor with another first-class touch that sets the Couly Dutheil Rosé apart from so many others: it is grown in a vineyard dedicated exclusively to the making of this one wine where, from vine to bottle, it is crafted to be the best Rosé it can be.
The grapes are picked by hand and the yields are low. This rosé is harvested on its own timetable, unlike most roses that are merely the byproduct of a red wine. Arnaud harests this Rosé up to two weeks earlier than his grapes bound for red wines, which maximizes the bright red fruit flavors found in this rosé (as opposed to darker, blacker fruit flavors that Arnaud emphasizes in his red wines).
The wonderful thing about a rosé from Chinon, is that it has the acidity and structure necessary to stand up to all those wonderful grilled summer foods. A rosé should never taste like just a pink white wine - it should have some structure, some backbone! Of all the wine villages in the Loire Valley, Chinon is known most for the structure of its wines. As in all of the wines I import, here the characteristics of the terroir really shine.
Vinifying the best Rosé begins with pressing the grapes the way you normally would for any red wine. The juice is then allowed to sit with the grape skins briefly (usually just a few hours) picking up color, but also tannins, pectins and proteins which give the wine structure. Then the juice is drained off, put into another vat without the skins and the fermentation proceeds.
This is what gives Rosé its beautiful, seductive, pale color and the structure to stand up to foods on the grill. Are you ready to put your feet up? This Rosé says you are. Cynthia Hurley
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