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May Advocate 2017

378 V O L . 7 5 P A R T 3 M A Y 2 0 1 7 THE ADVOCATE Sur le Pont d’Avignon On y danse, on y danse Sur le Pont d’Avignon On y dance tous en rond. Worldwide, rosé is enjoying a well-deserved growth of popularity. Exports of rosé to North America enjoyed a 25-fold increase between 2003 and 2013. Even the French are “drinking the pink”: rosé accounted for about twenty-four per cent of all wine consumption in France in 2010, compared to about eleven per cent in 1990. And when supermodels start wearing shirts that say “YES WAY ROSÉ”, you know that it has hit critical mass. Long enjoyed as a simple, unsophisticated patio sipper, it is now regarded as a “legit” wine and is well represented on restaurant wine lists and in shops. It is, without question, the perfect accompaniment to a light lunch, and because of its light, refreshing nature, it pairs well with many kinds of food. And nowhere is rosé so important to a region’s identity than in Provence. The wine map of Provence is relatively simple. Unlike Burgundy, which features about 3,200 domaines and more than 150 AOCs in a valley that is only about 40 km long and 2 km wide, Provence is divided somewhat sensibly into eight appellations, three of which account for most of the region’s wine production: Côtes de Provence, Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence and Coteaux Varois en Provence. Together they comprise about 65,000 acres of vineyards and produce an impressive 166 million bottles of wine each year. Over eighty per cent of that is rosé, with the rest divided roughly equally between red and white. Rounding out the list of the eight appellations are the appellations of Bandol, Les Baux-de-Provence, Cassis, Bellet and Palette. When you travel around Provence, you will find that the wines featured at most restaurants inevitably come from the immediate vicinity. The locals take the “locavore” concept to new levels. There are probably two reasons for this. One is that there are long-established business relationships between wine producers and the nearby hotels and restaurants that they serve. Secondly, it is often said that the eight designated appellations emerged as a result of political bickering and there is little love lost between them. Provençal rosé is made with red grapes—the same varietals that you will find in wines of the neighbouring Rhône valley: Cinsault, Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre and Tibouren. In the wines we reviewed for this column, some had traces of white wine blended in, most commonly Semillon and “Rolle”, a white variety known as Vermentino in Italy. Two techniques for making rosé are employed in Provence. The first is known as “direct pressing”, in which red grapes are immediately loaded into


May Advocate 2017
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