10 Top French Rosé Wines
It’s a Fact: Rosé wines are trendy.
International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV) and the Provence Wine Council (CIVP) reported that rosé wine consumption reached 22.7 mhl in 2014, which already was an increase of 20% since 2002!
4 countries account for 80% of the global rosé wine production: France first (with 700 million litres produced in 2014), then Spain (550 mLitres), the United States (350 mLitres), and Italy (250 mLitres).
Why are Rosé Wines so Fashionable?
First and foremost, I would say, because they’re yummy. Well, most of them are!
Over is the time when rosés were considered inferior wines or by-products of the wine industry.
Over is also the time when pink wines were all quite sweet and tasting nowhere near what wine lovers would call wine.
Rosé wine producers and rosé wine drinkers have come together to make and enjoy more and more dry and refined, purposely-made examples of refreshing pink wines.
This is the second reason why rosé wines are in fashion, because we are reaching the heart of a warm summer. Rosé wines are thirst-quenching, as much as wine can be. They are tasty and fruity, often approachable with pleasing aromas and flavors, and come in a style that consistently goes down well with heat and outdoor meals.
If there is one area in the world that has benefitted more than any other from the growing popularity of rosé wine, it’s got to be the South of France, Provence in particular and the surrounding areas on the Mediterranean coast.
Why is This You May Wonder?
Why are Southern French Rosé wines so popular?
Or, why is Southern French Rosé wine the go-to style for wine connoisseurs in search of a colorful yet refreshing, dry and food-friendly wine?
I would say there are 3 main reasons:
- Because the French from that part of the country have been making this style of wine virtually forever. Rosé wine is part of Southern France’s lifestyle.
The Mediterranean coast is hot in summer, and quite warm all year long. It also has a rich food culture, full of tasty fresh ingredients, fish and seafoods, vegetables and fresh herbs that go into many traditional summery dishes. The Southern French have therefore always made the refreshing dry style of rosé that is so popular worldwide now. Consequently, they have arguably reached a high level of ‘mastery’ in this style.
- Rosé wine is such a part of the local culture, it has always been made with purpose from selected grapes.
In many other regions, such as Bordeaux, the Loire, certain areas of Spain or Italy, rosé wine was made from the same red grapes used to make red wines. Some pink juice was removed from the red grape tanks in order to obtain a more concentrated red wine, a technique called saignée or bleeding. The result was heavier rosés, with higher alcohol and fuller body, less mineral and less refreshing. On the other hand, in Provence and the French Mediterranean coast, some grapes were selected and purposely picked to produce rosé wine in a dry and lighter style. It’s always better to have grapes meant to be made into a certain wine style, than forcing inappropriate grapes into a different style through winemaking techniques.
- The third reason is that Southern French wines consistently come in the same style.
Pick a bottle of rosé from the French Mediterranean coast, and it will almost invariably be dry, light in body, with good acidity, and often quite pale. Very few are the regions that produce rosé wine in such a consistent style. It’s identifiable, recognizable and reliable so it’s often preferred to wines from other areas where you don’t know what you’re buying and you might end up with an undesired sweet-ish plonk.
However, despite this consistency in style, all Southern French rosé wines are not all born equal in quality.
Some are ‘better’, or let’s say more popular, and more appreciated than others.
Which Provence and Southern France Rosé Wine Should I Buy?
To find the answer, I have asked Paul Guillet, the France Country Manager for the popular Vivino wine app. Paul has been selling wine in France for over a decade.
Helped by the millions of wine drinkers worldwide that use the app and share their reviews, Paul is able to identify and access the most-highly rated wines on Vivino, the ones that many drinkers rate well. He also constantly tastes the wines to select the most interesting ones.
Here is therefore a selection of some of the Best Southern France rosé wines you can find:
Château Minuty Rosé Et Or, Provence
Vivino Average Rating: 4.2/5 Stars over 1495 user reviews
User Review: “Dry & clean with aromas of apricot, pineapple with a hint of strawberry. Bought it in Paris last week and brought back to Japan. Now, am enjoying a taste of summer in France.”
The Winery Says: This is a blend of Grenache with the local Tibouren grapes varieties. Manually harvested and manual sorting of the grapes in the cellar. Made with a light skin contact maceration at 15°C (59°F) before the alcoholic fermentation in stainless steel tanks at 14°C (57 OF). Malolactic fermentation stopped by sulfiting the wine. Ageing : Ageing in stainless steel tanks at 15°C (59°F).
Retails around $20. See reviews and find it on Vivino
Gérard Bertrand Gris Blanc, Languedoc-Roussillon
Vivino Average Rating: 3.7/5 Stars over 3114 user reviews
User Review: “Interesting wine. Mineral. Interesting color. Very light. Good for summer sipping.”
The Winery Says: Blend of Grenache Gris and Grenache Blanc, the vines are located in Tautavel area, between the Mediterranean Sea and the Pyrenees mountains, 30 km north of the city of Perpignan in the South of France area. The dry and sunny terroir enables Grenache, the emblematic grape variety of the Mediterranean, to express subtle aromas.
Retails around $12. Find it on Vivino
Mathilde Chapoutier Grand Ferrage, Provence
Wine Advocate/Robert Parker Score: 91/100
Vivino Average Rating: 3.9/5 Stars over 88 user reviews
User review: “Refreshing, dry with nice finish. Good value and great summer wine.”
The Winery Says: Blend of Grenache noir, Cinsault, Syrah, and Rolle grown on clay-limestone soils. Machine-Harvesting is carried out at night to keep the grapes as cool as possible. Short, cold maceration on the skin followed by direct pressing before a low-temperature alcoholic fermentation and 5-month ageing in stainless steel tanks. Alcohol content: 12,5%.
Retails around $18.
Château Puech-Haut Saint-Drézéry Tête De Bélier Rosé, Languedoc
Vivino Average Rating: 4.0/5 Stars over 172 user reviews
User review: “About as deep, rich and fulfilling a rose you can find while maintaining the (somewhat) gentle class the best French styles are known for. Great wine.”
The Winery Says: A Languedoc AOP wine made from Grenache and Mourvèdre grapes grown on clay and limestone soils with pebbles. Cold alcoholic fermentation in stainless steel tanks before traditionnal ageing in tank for 6 months.
Retails around $30. See reviews and find it on Vivino
M de Château Minuty Rosé, Provence
Vivino Average Rating: 3.8/5 Stars over 7254 user reviews
The Winery Says: Grenache, Cinsault, and Syrah grapes are carefully selected from some of the best soils in Côtes de Provence. Manual harvest of grapes at optimum maturity. Crushing and destemming. Short skin contact (3 to 4 hours) before pressing. Alcoholic fermentation at 16°C (60.80°F) in stainless steel tanks. Malolactic fermentation stopped by sulfites added to the wine. Ageing in stainless steel tanks at 15°C (59°F).
Retails around $15. See reviews and find it on Vivino
Château Puech-Haut Saint-Drézéry Prestige Rosé, Languedoc-Roussillon
Vivino Average Rating: 3.9/5 Stars over 3747 user reviews
User review: “The 2014 Puech Haut rosé is up to its predecessors. A beautiful and expressive rosé on the top side. Great winery!”
The Winery Says: Grenache (60%) and Cinsault (40%) Direct pressing. Cold settling. Fermented and aged in stainless steel tanks at low temperature.
Retails around $18. See reviews and find it on Vivino
Château Sainte Roseline Cuvée Lampe De Méduse, Provence
Vivino Average Rating: 3.7/5 Stars over 897 user reviews
User review: “Brilliant smooth wine that was worth the cost”
The Winery Says: Blend of Grenache, Cinsault, Tibouren, Mourvèdre, Syrah. From the end of August to the end of September. The grapes are harvested manually, carefully sorted, and vinified separately. During fermentation, the temperature is maintained at 18°C throughout the fermentation, which lasts between 10 and 14 days. Once the fermentation is over, the wines are refrigerated to stop the malo-lactic fermentation and clarify wine.
Retails around $35. See reviews and find it on Vivino
Domaines Ott ‘By.Ott’ Cotes de Provence Rosé
Vivino Average Rating: 3.9/5 Stars over 1182 user reviews
User review: “Again this delicious Provençal rosé delivers. Great mouth filling palate of watermelon strawberries salted caramel and just a hint of licorice.”
The Winery Says: BY.OTT is blended and bottled in the new Château de Selle cellar, where part of the winery is exclusively devoted to its production. The entire process is controlled – from the blending to the storage -, ensuring the perfect quality expected of these wines.
Retails around $22. See reviews and find it on Vivino
Château La Tour de l’Evêque Pétale de Rosé, Provence
Vivino Average Rating: 3.8/5 Stars over 884 user reviews
User review: “Excellent. Acidity is great.”
The Winery Says: Certified organic wine. Blend of Cinsault 47%, Grenache 29%, Syrah 11%, Mourvèdre 4%, Ugni Blanc 4%, Rolle 2%, Sémillon 2%, and Cabernet Sauvignon 1%. Wines ferment in temperature-controlled stainless steel, gravity-fed cuves. The Pétale de Rose is exclusively made of 1st quality juices. The wine undergoes malolactic fermentation.
Retails around $40. See reviews and find it on Vivino
Clos Canarelli Corse Figari Rosé, Corsica
Vivino Average Rating: 3.7/5 Stars over 155 user reviews
User review: “Really nice rose! Fun weeding through to find the notes from the grapes I was unfamiliar with.”
The Winery Says: blend of local grape varieties Sciaccarellu, Niellucciu and Grenache. Whole cluster fermentation. Juice obtained by direct press. Wine undergoes partial (50%) malolactic fermentation in 100% stainless steel.
Retails around $30. See reviews and find it on Vivino
Hope you’ve enjoyed this selection. If you get to taste this wines, let me know your thoughts in the comont section below on Social Media.