It was a lovely day to taste Rose…that was and still is my opening as it sounds so good. But on the day of this particular tasting the skies had opened up as they have recently in LA and tried to ruin my day with about two inches of rain. The event, set for the Peninsula Hotel’s Roof Garden Terrace was moved to a private suite. Turned out to be much more intimate.
We were to taste the latest 2018 vintages from two of the most popular Provence rosé estates in France, my tasting notes are in italics following notes from the winery:
Inspiration Rosé is produced at the storied Château de Berne and authentically captures the Provençal spirit with its classic profile and referential square bottle shape. 70% Grenache, 20% Cinsault and 10% Syrah. I got notes of peach, hard candy and flowers on the nose and also sea minerality and low acid in the mouth.
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Romance Rosé launches this year as the newest addition to the Berne portfolio with a more affordable price point for those looking to explore the category. Previously name Emotion, the new Romance has aromas of rose petal, jasmine flower and saline, with the addition of white peach and a low acidity on the palate.
Chateau de Berne Estates is much more than just a rose. This is a hand crafted wine created from grapes specially selected by our winemaker from a unique vineyard block in the heart of the Berne estate, which is home to some of its oldest vines. Predominantly Grenache, the wine had a lovely balance with steeliness, peach, green kiwi and a gentle mouthfeel. A note on the square bottle shape: Cornu said that they had to redesign the bottling line to manage the unique shape.
UP Rosé, from the newly renovated Ultimate Provence estate, represents the bold, innovative nature of the region with its spicy blend and statement bottle. The UP stands for Ultimate Provence label, not Berne but 30 minutes away, and about 20 minutes from St. Tropez. Cornu explained that this area had more sandstone instead of limestone. I got that same floral notes as well as a more perfumy aroma with a bit of the sea. Cornu added that he enjoyed the wine with sushi and sashimi.
Chateau des Bertrands is located in the French commune of Cannet-des-Maures, at the heart of the Plaine des Maures nature reserve. Historically the crown jewel of Cotes de Provence, it offers exceptional wines thanks to an original geology and patient human effort. With more Cinsault than the previous mostly Grenache wines this one had what Cornu called “light, elegant and fine.” I noted a lovely pear in sweetened juice on the nose as well as minerality (wet pebbles) and saline.
Meeting with the winemaker for the estates, Alexis Cornu, proved to be an additional benefit. From Cornu I learned:
- Breezy and surrounded by pines, Château de Berne is the number one destination winery in Provence, France.
- Some of the names of the wines are different in France.
- Cornu thinks about how the grapes may grow; whether it be under late ripening, sunny, warm or windy conditions, he finds that these conditions allow for “more finesse and freshness.”
- Berne is one of four estates Cornu makes wine for. He feels that his wines in Provence are “always fresh with a nice texture on the palate.”
- Berne thinks that like Champagne, in the next 20 years wine drinkers will notice a sense of place when drinking their “fresh and dry” Rose wines.
- Harvest can occur at night, when workers will have had no sleep.
- The old vines region produces a dry Rose not common to some wine drinkers. Especially those expecting sweetness in a pink wine.
- The vineyards are working towards being 100% organic, they started the process in 2018. The wines already use less sulfites than before.
- Four wines per estate recently obtained Gold Medals from a prestigious French competition: the Le Concours General Agricole.
Eve Bushman has a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET), a “certification in first globally-recognized course” as an American Wine Specialist ® from the North American Sommelier Association (NASA), Level 1 Sake Award from WSET, was the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video (over 16k views), authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone” and has served as a judge for the Long Beach Grand Cru and the Global Wine Awards. You can email Eve@EveWine101.com to ask a question about wine or spirits. You can also seek her marketing advice via Eve@EveBushmanConsulting.com