In Provence, making Rosé wines is a speciality and a longstanding way of life, thanks to the climate, terroir and varietals which are perfectly suited to this wine. Provence is the number one French region for its production.
Traditionally sipped al fresco in summer, such is the popularity of rosé, also called Rosato or Rosado wine, that it is now consumed year round. Not much more than a decade ago, the market was led by semi-sweet blush wines from California, but today it’s bone-dry, pale pink wines primarily from Provence. The Greeks planted the first grapevines here over two thousand years ago, the oldest wine region in France, and Rosé is the oldest known wine.
The consumption of rosé wine has continued to rise such that one in three bottles of wine purchased is a bottle of rosé. Exports of Provence wines have skyrocketed by nearly 500% in just 15 years!
Jumping on the bandwagon, Kylie Minogue has even launched her own Côtes de Provence Rosé to mark her 52nd birthday this year. Her name is on the label, but she is not the winemaker!.
It was in 1989 when the retired Canadian diplomat and businessman, Sir Hugh Faulkner and his English wife, Jane, an artist, bought the Grand Cros domaine. Located near Carnoules, 50km north-west of St Tropez in the valley of the Maures mountains, it’s surrounded by pine and olive trees.
Their eldest son, Julian, completed Masters degree in Bordeaux and in 2000, took over the management of the 24 hectare estate which now produces a range of classic white, red, rosé and sparkling wines. One of their rosé wines was especially chosen for the banquet at Windsor Castle celebrating the Queen’s Golden Jubilee.
Julian runs the family vineyard in the traditional style with a modern, entrepreneurial, business approach. The “Jules” label was launched in 2005 to offer a range of good value wines from different regions and appellations across the south of France. He developed new technology, a computer-linked weather station and embarks on sales trips from Hong Kong to New York. To reach a younger, international market, the “Jules” brand is promoted on YouTube.
Le Grand Cros is known mostly for its quality rosé wines, so I was delighted to have the opportunity to sip and sample two of their award winning wines.
Le Grand Cros, L’esprit de Provence, 2019
Julian Faulkner introduces it thus:
“Dry and fruity, this rosé seduces with its tenderness, elegance and freshness. With its pretty texture and beautiful aromatic concentration, it is particularly suitable for gastronomic moments.”
This is a carefully crafted blend of grape varieties – Cinsault, Grenache, Mourvedre, Shiraz
With a beautiful shade of peach or perhaps smoked salmon, expect an aroma of apricot, grapefruit, a hint of lychee with floral and herbal notes. The first taste offers a tart, soft berry and citrus fruitiness, well balanced to release a refreshing, dry, crisp character. The complex layered, depth of flavour would complement a diverse range of cuisine, especially seafood – ceviche, sushi, pasta with clams, fish soup and indeed a slice of delectable smoked salmon. An elegant, easy drinking Rosé to experience over a leisurely lunch.
Gold Medal at the Vinalies Internationale and Mundis Vini; Best Rosé Œnologues de France competition, 2019.
Jules – Cote de Provence, 2019
Grape Varieties: Grenache, Semillon, Cinsault, Rolle
This pink blush wine offers a rich aroma of ripe white peaches, sweet orange and the tang of lemon, presenting an initial gooseberry tartness, akin to a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. But the underlying flavour is softer, lighter and mellow. Sip and savour to detect strawberry and crème de cassis with a slight acidity of grapefruit. Luscious, ripe, and summery – year round.
A great value rosé, delightfully delicate to sip, day or night, as an aperitif or to accompany classic Provençal Provencal dishes, such as Bouillabaisse, Ratatouille and Pissaladière, the region’s sophisticated take on pizza with caramelised onions, garlic, anchovies and pitted olives.
The Jules label has created the quintessential Provence Rosé, winning a clutch of major awards over the past decade not least, Gold Medal, Concours des Grands Vins de Mâcon, 2010 and Silver Medal, International Competition of Rosés of the World, 2011.
With a respect for the environment and climate, Julian blends science and art, passion and instinct to ensure the quality of our wines that best reflect the spirit of this Provencal estate. Faulkner Wines produces over 500,000 bottles of quality wine and sells to over 20 countries.
Another leading Faulkner wine is Le Grand Cros –Aurélia named after Julian’s eldest daughter. Such was the overwhelmingly positive reaction to the Aurélia 2015 that a 2016 release followed. A three-year gap ensured the vintage was once again perfect to launch Aurélia 2019, with a creamier texture and greater complexity.
“If you have tried previous vintages, the 2019 is more feminine with less vinosity. Just like her namesake, she is growing up and showing immense charm and finesse.” Julian Faulkner
For the Faulkner family and Le Grand Cros vineyard, life is rosy.!
For more information, suppliers and purchase on line: http://www.faulknerwine.com