Tavel is an appellation of the southern Rhone, unique in its specialization in dry rosé wines. The vineyards that produce the appellation’s wines are located around the town of Tavel, just south-west of Orange and north-west of Avignon. The soils here are mostly stony and sandy and boast excellent drainage qualities, which force the vines to dig deep, creating strong root systems in search of water and nutriment. There are areas of limestone which generate the lighter, more-delicate element of the otherwise robust rosés, and patches of red, iron-rich soils which fill out the palate with richer, earthier notes.
A hot, dry Mediterranean climate means that the grapes have no difficulty in reaching full phenolic ripeness here. It is this that brings the unique depth of flavor to the resulting wines, coupled with extended skin contact during fermentation. Soaking the skins of the red grapes with the juice allows it to develop the deep pink color and higher tannin levels characteristic of AOC Tavel wines.
The wines are made predominantly from the Grenache, and Syrah as well as other varieties, depending on the soils and are intended to be drunk chilled, as a more complex alternative to white wines during the hot summer months. We have also found them to be great wines to serve with the Thanksgiving Holiday meals.
This dry, full-bodied rose, made from tiny yields of 27 hectoliters per hectare, is a blend of 55% Grenache, 15% Syrah, 15% Cinsault and the rest Carignan. This classic orange/salmon-colored wine offers up an exquisite nose of dried flowers, framboise, strawberry jam, Provencal herbs and spice. Its considerable depth of flavor and full body make this very dry rose the quintessential example of a great Tavel (which is increasingly hard to find). Revealing excellent ripeness, and palate impacting fruit and glycerin, this rosé is full of flavor and character. Drink it over the next 1-2 years.
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