While most of the wine industry is typically focused around the production of red and white wines, Rosé is also an extremely cherished part of French viticulture. In fact, Rosé remains one of the oldest types of wine known to be produced, which is mostly because the aspects of winemaking that produce the darker red wines, such as longer maceration and more intense pressing, were not as common during ancient times. Even when techniques began to evolve which could allow the production of darker, heavier wines, most people during the times of Ancient Greece and Rome, as well as the Middle Ages, actually preferred the lighter color and sweet fruitiness Rosés.
Since Rosé still plays a prominent role in French wine culture, in this post we will explore the main regions that produce this delicate and delicious wine.
When it comes to Rosé, Provence stands out as a popular producer, with nearly two-thirds of their viticulture solely dedicated to Rosé. Located in the south-east corner of France, with a beautiful Mediterranean coastline, Provence is typically regarded as the oldest French region to produce wine. As a region with a temperate climate, Provence receives just the right amount of sunlight, rain, and wind to provide its grapes the perfect conditions to grow and mature. While the grapes of this region include popular types such as Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon, the most popular grape grown for Rosé in Provence is actually the Grenache grape, but since it tends to lack strong color and tannins, it is usually blended with the other grape varieties, such as Cinsault, Carignan, and Tibouren. With eight distinct AOC regions across Provence, which are certified areas based on specific environmental characteristics that are regulated with strict standards in regards to the grapes grown and wines produced, the Rosés found throughout will each have an incredibly unique flavor.
Situated right above the region of Provence, Tavel is commonly referred to as France’s “capital of Rosé,” specifically because the AOC guidelines permit only the production of Rosés in the Tavel region. Similar to Provence, the Grenache grape is the dominant grape grown in this region; however, the AOC standards require that the blends be made up of at least fifteen percent Cinsault, while the rest of the blend can include Carignan, Syrah, Bourboulenc, Calitor, Mourvedre, and Picpoul. As with most Rosés, the skin-contact method is typically the production technique used across Tavel, which simply refers to a shorter maceration period, but more interestingly, Tavel Rosés are also traditionally produced with a co-ferment method, which involves using both red and white wine grapes together in order to combine the flavors of both, producing a truly robust fruit flavor.
On the opposite side of France, and with a history of viticulture dating back to the first century, the Loire region is made up of beautiful vineyards, encompassing the production of all types of wine, including delightful Rosés. Two of the most well-known Rosés of this region are Rosé d’Anjou and Cabernet d’Anjou, which can be found in the Anjou wine region, near the French town of Angers. While Rosé d’Anjou, produced primarily with the Groslot grape, is known to be of a lighter color and sweeter flavor, the Cabernet d’Anjou is made with the Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, producing a dryer Rosé with higher acidity levels. Along with these wonderful wines, one can also find the Rosé de Loire, which is known to be dry and moderately acidic, while also having a subtle sweet cherry flavor. Based on the AOC standards, at least thirty percent of a Rosé de Loire blend must be from Cabernet grapes, while the rest can be a combination of Groslot, Pineau d’Aunis, Pinot Noir, and Gamay.
Stop by one of Left Bank’s locations today and try the unique Rosé yourself!