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Summer Wine: Provence vs Rhone Valley Rosés

“Strawberries cherries and an angel’s kiss in spring, my summer wine is really made from all these things.” Summer Wine, by Lee Hazlewood and Nancy Sinatra.

The sky outside may disagree with me, but my calendar says it’s June. Time, therefore, for the first of this summer’s rosé round-ups. Here, I’m putting the Roséfine rosé (made by the Luberon and Ventoux producer Marrenon) head to head with Le Grand Cros’s L’Esprit de Provence (from slightly farther south, in AOP Provence).

Now, it’s important to note that, despite the title of this piece, this is a comparison, rather than a competition. These two wines are, after all, at somewhat different price points. The Grand Cros (pictured on the right) retails at £16.95, while you can grab the Roséfine for just £11.

The Roséfine hails from the beautiful IGP Méditerranée region, which actually emcompasses part of Provence, as well as the Rhone Valley, in south-eastern France. In classic style, it’s a blend of Grenache Noir, Syrah and Merlot. It’s pale pink in colour, although not as pale as the Grand Cros, with floral and citrus notes and flavours of strawberry and redcurrant. There’s also a slightly creamy feel to it, while it lacks a little of the intensity of the Grand Crose on the nose.

L’Esprit de Provence, meanwhile, is Le Grand Cros’s flagship wine, and it reminds me very much of the wines I tried on a press trip to the vineyards of Bandol in Provence a couple of years back.

It’s a blend of Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah and Rolle (aka the white grape Vermentino), and its delicate, pale colour hints at the elegance of its flavours. I detected peach, strawberry and passion fruit, along with that subtle, saline sea-saltiness that’s a trademark of Provence rosés.

Both of these wines exhibit the classic flavours and aromas of southern-French rosé. L’Esprit de Provence has the edge in terms of elegance and complexity, but then it is over 50% more expensive. So, you take your money and you make your choice. Both come highly recommended.

Roséfine IGP Méditeranée rosé, by Marrenon. 12.5%. £11 (75 cl) or £23 (magnum) from Oddbins

L’Esprit de Provence Rosé 2018, by Domaine du Grand Cros. 12.5%. £16.95 from Berry Bros. & Rudd


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