Elizabeth David was famed for introducing the joys of Mediterranean food to a post- war populus suffering the privations of rationing. Her recipes called for exotic aubergines and basil, and even persuaded us to put olive oil onto salads instead of in our ears.
The echoes of her revolution can be seen in our obsession with celebrity chefs and exotic ingredients even today. Mrs David celebrated the regional cooking of France, and Provence was a particular favourite of hers.
However, the wines of the region were not high on her list of reasons to return; "I often wonder, when I hear people talking so enthusiastically of those fresh little wines of Provence, how they would feel about them if they had nothing else to drink. Most of them are made by the cooperative societies nowadays, and what they have lost in character they appear to have gained in fieriness. Of course there are goood wines in Provence but finding them is not easy."
Times have certainly changed and now Provence, particularly the pink ones, are some of the most loved wines on our shelves. Some clever marketing, distinctive packaging and photo friendly hues definitely helped the public image of this summer staple. It’s hard to not think of warm weather and good times when you pull the cork on the beautiful Edalise Cotes de Provence. Delightfully dry and well balanced with a touch of alpine strawberry and white peach. There’s a lot to be said for sensory associations so that even in dismal weather a glass of this makes the world seem a little sunnier.
One of the reasons we love Provencal rosé is that while elsewhere rosé is an afterthought to the real business of making red wine, in Provence it is the pinnacle. These are genuinely the best wines of the region and made with conscious and deliberate intent. This means that grapes are selected when they are ideal to produce aromatic and refreshing wines. It is fair to say that there is a common style to the region, which for wine lovers means that even at the affordable end of the market the flavours are recognisable, the wines retain a sense of the place they are made.
Imitation, they say, is the sincerest form of flattery and it seems the wine world is intent on flattering Provence. Our new Desir de Rosé Cote de Thau Cap d'Agde Rosé is a fragrant and gentle rosé with grapefruit and candied citrus giving it a moreish note. Hugely affordable as it comes from the Cote de Thau region where a similar blend of grapes is used to produce rosé wines in the same way as the wines of Provence. The perfect picnic wine ideal with olives, dolmade and grilled halloumi.
Chateau des Fesles Rosé from Anjou has a delicate Provence-like salmon pinkness and a little bit more fruit on the palate. However, unlike some Anjou it is delightfully dry and not remotely cloying. Casa Bollen Syrah Rosé is another new wine to our range and one of our favourite new world rosés. A gentle wild strawberry with a slight herbal note makes this a great wine to sip as the sun sets with nibbles. So far the sun has been shining this summer and we are looking forward to more lovely weather and plenty more wine coloured sunsets!
Blog post by Phil Probert