Tue 7 Jun 2011
I hope my readers don’t mind another rosé. Actually, I don’t care if you mind or not; I’m in a rosé state of mind and it’s my blog, so there. Besides, as an American and pronounced Europhile, I find the history behind a wine like the Chateau Saint Martin de la Garrigue “Tradition” Rose 2010, Coteaux du Languedoc, irresistible. There is indeed a grand chateau on this ancient property, erected around 1557 but, as you can see from the image, incorporating older and distinctively medieval walls and towers. The building seems to be a combination of castle, palace, manor house and farmstead. The oldest part of the chateau is a chapel that was built in 987. Artifacts and other materials unearthed by archeologists indicate occupation in the Roman era and even back to the Neolithic age, long before there were such concepts as wine and winemaking. The property, in the Coteaux du Languedoc between Béziers and Montpellier (inland from where the Mediterranean coast begins to slope in a southwesterly direction toward Spain), was acquired by Umberto Guida and his American wife Joëtta in 1992, and immense amounts of money were spent in improvements to the vineyards and facilities. Manager of the estate, which produces about a dozen different wines, is winemaker Jean-Claude Zabalia.
Chateau Saint Martin de la Garrigue “Tradition” Rosé 2010, Coteaux du Languedoc, is a blend of 50 percent cinsault grapes, 30 percent syrah and 20 percent grenache; the grenache and syrah are bled off the tanks in a method called saignée, while the cinsault grapes are pressed directly, given minimum skin-contact to keep the color a beguiling pale melon pink with a slight copper tinge and to reduce any element of tannin. This is a lovely rose, bright and clean and as fresh as a basket of just picked strawberries and raspberries, with a touch of dried red currant and whiffs of violets and cloves. Acidity is lively, crisp and brisk, and indeed the finish, for all its delicacy, seems to offer a note of salt-spanked sea-breeze amid hints — I mean hints — of dried thyme and tarragon, melon and peach and a concluding fillip of limestone, all of this amounting to an absolutely delightful quaff. A classic expression of the South of France for drinking now through the end of 2011 or into 2012. Very Good+. About $13, a Great Bargain.
Imported by Kermit Lynch, Berkeley, Ca. Tasted at a wholesaler’s trade event. Image of the Chateau Saint Martin de la Garrigue from stmartingarrigue.com.