Domaine les Haut Cances Rose 2011
Is This The Best Rose made in France?
by Cynthia Hurley
After all, summer days are now on the horizon and one of the best ways I know of to enjoy them is to slip your hand around the sweating, cool neck of shimmery salmony-pink Rosé and get that corkscrew twisting. It's like a sunset in your glass. Suddenly you're on
v-a-c-a-t-i-o-n. Uh, I'll have a second glass if anyone's getting up...
But, here's the very important part: there are a lot of Rosés out there - some with those ultra-modern abstract labels that just don't seem very authentic and they certainly can taste very boring or poorly made. They are nothing like this Rosé born in Provence where the sun splashes over the vineyards all day long and folks know what a good Rosé has to taste like to warrant the name.
The Rosé from Domaine les Hautes Cances was named one of the best Rosés in all of France and it's no surprise. This Rosé comes from 50 year-old vines. Nobody does that! That's right, 50 years old. Anne Marie and Jean-Marie, the proprietors of Domaine les Hautes Cances don't make their Rosé from leftovers or inferior plots as a lot of winemakers do. They reserve a special parcel of old-vine land just for their Rosé.
This is a Rosé that's made just like a very expensive red wine. It's 37% Syrah with some Cinsault, Grenache and Carignan in the blend too. The soil is that perfect combination of clay and limestone. The yields are an amazingly low 35 hectoliters per hectare and every grape is sorted through meticulously to eliminate all the bad ones. Does this sound like Rosé? Yes, it's just a very extraordinary Rosé.
Oh, and if I haven't convinced you by now that this isn't some hosed-out factory stuff, there are only about 200 cases made. I bought nearly the whole production. I wanted more, but the cellar had run dry. This Rosé is made without chemicals and pesticides. Anne-Marie and Jean Marie are environmentalists.
By the way, do you know how they make Rosé? The best Rosé is made by pressing the grapes, the way you normally would for any red wine. The juice is allowed to sit with the grape skins picking up color, but also tannins, pectins and proteins which give the wine structure. It's this structure that makes this Rose an ideal pairing with food on the grill. Then the juice is drained off, put into another vat without the skins and the fermentation proceeds. This process is called saignée.
The best Rosé shouldn't taste like pink white wine; there should be always be a slight red wine presence. But, the most important thing is that little zing of acidity on your tongue. That's what makes great Rosé. That, and the crisp, freshness which makes it perfect for a hot day.
Start that Rosé chilling. Cynthia Hurley
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