I’m quite sure that my mother put rosé into my feeding bottle when I was a baby as I have always found it as important to my mind and body as good spring water! Janie and I drink rosé year round and LOVE it!
I suppose the most appealing quality of rosé is its adaptability. It’s wonderful on its own as an aperitif or with fish, with chicken, with spicy food or even accompanying your coffee in the morning! Or course, as with every kind of wine, there are many styles. Rosé can be sweet (white Zin..yuck!), fruity, crisp, dark pink, light pink, full bodied, light bodied and so on. After many halcyon years of living in Provence Janie and I have always preferred the light, bright, fresh style rosé from that region.
When Janie and I first lived in Provence in 1970, our two daughters, Sophie and Amy went to the local nun’s school, Ste. Catherine de la Sienne. They were four and five years old. Everyday day at lunch the nuns would not pour them orange juice or milk but water with a tiny splash of rosé. The nuns told us it was part of the culture of the land but we always suspected it was to get the children to nap after lunch to give the sisters some peace!
There are essentially three wines that can call themselves Provence rosé; Coteaux Varois, Coteaux d’Aix en Provence and Cotes de Provence with Cotes de Provence usually being the most expensive. Each wine has its own geographical area from which its provenance is labeled. This June Charlie, Janie and I decided, together with our partners at Winesellers, that we wanted to source a really excellent rosé of our own and so, of course, we had to go to Provence!
I had written to the ‘syndicate of Provence growers’ to ask help in identifying potential producers for our wine. We had several responses to our enquiry and made many appointments to visit them. We spent a week in the region meeting growers and winemakers and tasting a great many samples of Provence rosé (in case you’re wondering – we spit when we taste!) We finally found a producer near the seaside town and famous wine region of Bandol (Cotes de Provence) and were totally captivated by the outstanding quality of the wines. So we have decided to work with this wonderful young wine maker and early in 2015 we will be introducing a delicious Cotes de Provence wine. Stay tuned!
During this extremely grueling week in Provence(!), we also had some wonderful meals and met up with a few old friends. We spent a night in the magical little fishing village of Cassis (about 50 miles East of Marseille) with our dear friend of forty-five years, Pierre Hugo (yes, same Hugo as in Victor). He took us to the oldest and best fish restaurant there, called ‘Nino’s’. It is owned by his buddy Bruno. We also stayed the night in Bruno’s palatial, super deluxe B and B next door overlooking the tiny port, the floodlit chateau and the highest cliffs in Provence … fan-bloody-tabulous!. It is called the Villa Meduse and it is fabulous. Check it at www.villa-la-meduse.fr.
We also spent a weekend with great friends whom we met in 1981 when we launched the Jordan winery with Tom and Sally Jordan. We have luckily remained close ever since. Leslie Bricusse is a two time Oscar winner lyricist. Leslie and his gorgeous wife Evie, live in St Paul de Vence above Nice and so we slowed down there for a couple of days where Janie cooked and we all drank!
Leslie gave us a memorable dinner at the world’s most beautiful restaurant setting, the ‘Hotel Colombe d’Or’ in St Paul. Another lunch was at the magical Michelin starred hotel restaurant Le Clos St Pierre in the beautiful hamlet of Rouret. www.hotel-du-clos.com. Janie and I also had the best fish for many years at Charlot in Cagnes sur mer; a perfect daurade and a perfect sea bass. Nothing fancy just simplicity in its finest form.
Before returning to the States, we flew to London to have dinner with my amazing little sister at our favorite London restaurant, ‘Clarkes’ in Kensington Church Street, owned and run by the wonderful Sally Clarke who is the British Alice Waters (but much better in our view!)
On our way to Provence we took the day flight from Boston to Heathrow and stayed IN the airport itself at the Sofitel hotel a 7-minute walk from the plane. After dinner at Clarke’s we stayed the night there again and took off early in the morning back to Boston. We didn’t even have to put up an umbrella as the fast train to and from London arrived INSIDE the airport and was just a 5-minute walk to our bedroom! Really, really civilized and best of all – NO JETLAG either way!
Home to sunny (for once) New Hampshire and new veggies appearing in the garden, and a cellar full of rosé (but of course!).