Set The Bar
Lifestyle in Style

Southern Rhone’s Tavels: A Bit of a Rosé Revelation!

Many wine writers lather praise over the rosés of Tavel. I have rather thought of them as too dry and crisp preferring the more fruit forward rosés of Ontario. However, there is no harm in trying a couple to see if my opinion has changed over the last few years. I’ll be in the area in a few weeks and perhaps a refresher might prove useful!

We try a Marquis D’Aqueria Tavel from 2018.

A medium coloured pinkie.

On the nose lots of strawberry and raspberry and bright red cherry. On the palate some cherry, raspberry, strawberry with a slightly gritty minerality giving the wine a bit of roughness and scratchy feeling on the palate one often encounters with wines grown in granitic soils. It is thanks to the wines I tried grown in the granitic soils of the Dão I noticed and experienced this granitic raspiness on the palate there. Put another way there is dryness with character in this wine which strangely I tip my hat to Portugal for! The rough edge makes this wine perfect for washing down foods laden with garlic, olive oil and fresh wild herbs.

Taking us back to more Canadian cuisine I think a great match with roast ham, sweet potatoes and Brussel Sprouts with bacon.  Equally good would be with a smoked salmon pasta sauce with tomatoes, cream, oregano, basil and white wine. As fall approaches the grittiness of this wine makes it a great late afternoon fall sipper watching the leaves fall and noting the sun setting and a chill setting in. A pre-winter comfort wine!

If I was in Naples eating local pizza this wine would be a great match!

A blend of Grenache, Cinsault, Clairette and Mourvèdre.

While almost at its peak now it might develop a bit more in the next two years but I am rather taken by its stylistic gruffness.

(Marquis D’Aqueria Tavel Rosé 2018, Appellation Tavel Protégée, $19.95, LCBO # 556274, SARL Jean Olivier, Tavel, France, 14%, 750 mL, Set The Bar Rating, 92/100).

OK another Tavel Rosé this one being a Famille Perrin Tavel.

Mid pinkish colour.

On the nose lots of strawberry and raspberry with hints of watermelon and fresh sweet tomatoes. As for the sweetest tomatoes from the field it is difficult to surpass Douro tomatoes from Portugal although from the can in the winter San Marzano tomatoes from Italy are hard to beat!

On the palate very dry. Some faint notes of Sugar Babe melon, cherry, sweet field grown Sungold cherry tomatoes and raspberries. The fruit is guarded. And acids well hidden. This is one austere Tavel rosé and the reason I never really took to them. I need a road trip and a slew of winery visits to give a fair shakedown for Tavel. The Marquis D’Aqueria above was a delight. This Perrin is well made but just doesn’t exhibit much complexity.

My choice for this wine would be for a warm Greek potato salad which is made with boiled potatoes, fresh field tomatoes and chopped anchovies drizzled with olive oil. This is a dish that actually started me eating field tomatoes! It has become one of my favourite dishes. Sometimes a simple wine can rise to great heights depending on what food accompanies it!

Drink this before the snow falls.

(Famille Perrin Tavel 2018 Appellation D’Origine Contrôlée, La Famille Perrin, Orange, France, $ 19.95, LCBO # 680801, 13%, Set The Bar Rating 87/100).

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