It’s been a while. But I have a good excuse and, better still, stories to tell that came out from the time away. Starting with today’s.
This week, leading to the Canadian Thanksgiving, I am thankful for the source of the short hiatus, a late summer vacation that took me to Nice, France and the surrounding area.
The surrounding area being – Provence! Provence – home of amazing food and birthplace of such staples as aioli, ratatouille, and more particular to Nice, Salade Niçoise. And the benchmark place for the spirited, fruity and dry rosé wines that have been perfected for 2600 years to go so well with the local foods.
Alas, this visit being short as it was, didn’t allow for reaching the vineyards. We kept to the coast, popping up on beaches like these by the Promenade Des Anglais in Nice and La Croisette in Cannes,
strolling through old towns of Cannes and Monaco,
and admiring art in its many forms.
Granted, there are some reds and whites produced in Provence, but in its largest appellation – Côtes de Provence, the vast majority of the production, some 85 percent, is rosé. As everywhere in the region, the predominant wine varieties here are Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, and Cinsaut. Whether they may be a household name for you, or you may have heard of them for the first time, suffice it to say that they provide a great range of taste profiles that allow for a seemingly endless combination of flavours. And during our stay, we tasted a few.
One night, we tried La Croix du Prieur Rosé 2015 (mostly Grenache and Cinsaut, with some Syrah). It is gorgeous peachy orange in colour – the photo above does not do it justice, though it brings back memories of dining on an old-town sidewalk patio in the warm summer night air. But the light colouring disguises well the enticing tropical fruit aromas with some floral, herb, and citrus notes. It is rounded but lively on the palette, with exotic fruit flavours and crispness lingering on. It went beautifully with yummy local dishes of pissaladière – with olives, garlic, anchovies and caramelized onions covering a thin bread-dough base, and socca – a chickpea flour pancake, pictured below.
Looping back to the Thanksgiving, rosés would be a good match for your holiday dinner table, be it focused on turkey or entirely vegetarian. The rosé, as a wine category, is going through a resurgence these days and there are surely a few options in whichever store you buy your wine, with Provençal and Canadian selections permeating LCBO stores.