Bieler P&F Sabine Rosé 2019
Coteux d’Aix en Provence
The wine is in no way heavy or fat on the palate, but rather the palate has tremendous length in addition to the raspberry, cherry, peach, herbal, citrus and mineral core.
As the oldest wine growing area in France and the world’s largest Rosé specialty region, Provence is the gold standard in Rosé. There are 8 different appellations in Provence but only 3 that you need to know: Cotes de Provence, Aix-en-Provence, and Bandol. Most of the biggest Rosé producers are in the Cotes de Provence AOC, where the warmest growing regions in the flats of Provence produce higher yields and harvests tend to be quite early. For our part, we instead focused on the cooler, more rugged and higher elevation vineyards in the hills around Aix-en-Provence. The cooler nights in the hills around Aix-en-Provence means that we pick on average 2 weeks later than Cotes de Provence, allowing for a gentler ripening and more natural acidity, two critical attributes to make the kind of Rosé we think is best. The Southern Rhone and Provence are on the front lines of global climate change and these relatively cooler sites in the region have become more important than ever to make wines with balance and energy.
The classic Provence Rosé profile is what every serious winemaker around the world attempts to mimic and for good reason. Our goal is to find the delicate balance between floral, herbal, wild red fruit (not overly ripe), stone fruit and acid. We don’t want singular big flavors, we want more nuance, energy, soul and personality. To achieve that we don’t have a single approach to each fermentation. Instead, we break up each vineyard into parts using different yeasts, juice solids and lees treatments so each tank is a little different and brings a unique perspective in the final blend. We have been loving the results of circulating juice solids pre-fermentation to build depth and concentration. For a delicate, fresh wine like Rosé, oxygen contact can be crushing, so we have made investments in nitrogen coverage such that from the moment the fruit arrives it’s never exposed to oxygen again until it’s eventually poured from a bottle in to your glass, resulting in a more vivid and precise expression of our Rosé than ever before.
The 2019 growing season started off cool and dry but the heat kicked in by June and was crushingly hot at times, particularly in July. The rain never arrived so yields were down across Provence. Picking started by early September, which is quite typical. Around the fall equinox there’s often a rain event, but it didn’t materialize, thankfully, and we were able to pick when the grapes were at perfect ripeness. The increasingly dry and hot seasons have had us adding irrigation, which is critical, and we’ve been seeking higher elevation and north facing sites to slow down ripening. Grenache and Syrah still dominate, but we’ve planted more Cinsault, Rolle (floral/spicy white grape) and even some Grenache Blanc. The goal is to add new layers of complexity to each vintage.
Varietal Composition: 35% Grenache, 33% Syrah, 13% Cinsault, 12% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Rolle