Snow plows are still at work in the Big Apple, the salt is corroding old electrical wires in the outer-boroughs, and yet wine enthusiasts and geeks have begun to huddle in small groups and large cocktail parties and whisper the word Rosé. For some, it is the allure of spring and outdoor luncheons, for others it is a forum to debate inoculations and residual sugar. At Slope Cellars we believe that regardless of the month, it is always rosé season. Some wine geeks might suggest that rosé’s are not as complex as red or white wines, and we can debate this at a later date. In the meantime, let us tell you about one rosé that is truly worthy of our attention.
Situated on the outskirts of the town of Saint Cyr-sur-Mer that lies directly on the Mediterranean ocean between Toulon and Marseilles, Chateau Pradeaux has been in the hands of the Portalis family since before the French Revolution. There is Bandol and then there is Pradeaux. Cyrille Portalis continues to maintain the great traditions of this estate, and is assisted by his wife Magali, and his two sons, Étienne and Edouard. Tended in as natural a manner as possible with a reliance on organic methods, the soils here produce wines with vibrant fruit, and distinctive, complex minerality. Most of the vineyards are planted to Mourvèdre with the exception of a small amount to Cinsault that is used in the rosé. The rosé which is usually an equal blend of mourvèdre and cinsault is macerated for a short period on the skins to extract some color. The juice is fermented at low temperatures to retain its freshness and fruit, and aged in cement tanks. Malo-lactic fermentation is stopped and the wine is usually bottled in mid-April.
Pure like an idiochromatic mineral, this Bandol powerhouse delivers on all cylinders. Saline and iodine aromas integrate seamlessly in the background as savory earth, and stone fruits dominate the nose. It is wonderfully dry and it even comes in magnums! A beautiful experience with seafood from the get go, this rosé will do nicely in the cellar. We recommend that you put a few away. Dhrubo Mazumdar