MIP Rosé, Domaine Ste.-Lucie, Côtes de Provence 2010
Available at Wine Geeks Armonk
Retail cost: approximately $17
French Rosé: First Impressions Are Everything
Last weekend, I found myself in a midday dalliance with a flirty Provençal rosé, called MIP, from Domaine Ste.-Lucie. Sure, there had been numerous other French rosés over the years, but I was once again seduced by the pretty and uniquely Provençal palate of underripe strawberries, watermelon and cassis, supported by lingering lavender and anise, with a hint of frisky pink peppercorn just to keep things fresh. After all, that is the endgame of a good rosé, a bit of guilt-free caprice with which to keep company.
If first impressions are everything, rosé wines have an undeniable visual advantage. Traveling the spectrum of pale orange to light purple, one can sometimes judge or at least begin to understand a rosé through its color. More often than not, the darker color signals fruitier and sweeter wine. Nearly all rosés are made from red- or black-skinned grapes whose juice is allowed contact with the color-enhancing skins for a limited period of time. Longer contact with the skins leads to darker and more intense color in the final product. MIP’s translucent ultralight pink signals its dry style—like looking through glass beads and being able to catch a glimpse of gold and silver reflections. The first impression is positive.
A casual blend of cinsault, grenache and Syrah, this light- to medium-bodied wine, with a reasonable alcohol level of 12.5 percent, is simply an invitation to frolic in the radiance of spring and summer. France never lost faith in its beguiling pink wines, even after rosé’s lengthy decline in popularity abroad. Fortunately demand for rosé wines, especially French rosés, is on the rise again. Critics and connoisseurs who dissect and fuss over the finer points of rosé are missing the whole point. Rarely will a rosé improve with age; some may hope to retain their structure but won’t actually improve . . . don’t hold your breath! Instead, I’d recommend a more casual, in-the-moment kind of relationship. Find one that suits you and arrange for many a rendezvous.
Serve with salade niçoise, tarragon chicken salad, grilled shrimp, mild cheeses.
Editor’s note: Food and wine lovers heading to Paris might want to try one of the Girls’ Guide’s favorite cooking classes.