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May Advocate 2017

THE ADVOCATE V O L . 7 5 P A R T 3 M A Y 2 0 1 7 379 a wine press to release the juice, which then goes straight into a fermentation tank. The brief contact of the clear juice with the dark skins imparts a pale pink colour to the wine. The other method, often criticized by wine purists, is known as saignée or “maceration and bleeding”. This method is not a form of torture banned by the Geneva Convention, but is actually a wine-making technique in which crushed grapes soak in a vat for between two and 20 hours at a controlled temperature. The colour of the wine depends upon the length of contact with the skins of the grapes. When the winemaker is satisfied with the desired pigment, he or she opens a filter at the bottom of the tank and “bleeds” the pink juice into a fermentation tank, which becomes rosé. Then the remaining juice, more concentrated as a result of the bleeding of the pink juice, is retained and used to make red wine. The former method is used by most Provençal producers. This explains why, when you are strolling down the aisles at your local wine store looking for a rosé to enjoy with your cassoulet, you can immediately identify the ones from Provence by the pale colour in the bottle, not really pink but more like the centre of a perfectly cooked piece of spring salmon. (The other cue is the large sign that says “France” above the aisle in which you are standing.) Any discussion of the wines of Provence should not ignore the reds. The Bandol appellation, next to the Mediterranean between the cities of Marseille and Toulon, produces excellent reds from the Mourvèdre varietal. The wine is produced from steep stony sites overlooking the sea but protected from the harsh northern winds known as the Mistral. The red wines of Bandol tend to be a deep garnet in colour with intense flavours of blackberries and complex notes of spice and tobacco. Bandols age very well but are also most enjoyable in their youth. Look for reds from Domaine Tempier, Domaine du Gros ‘Noré, Domaine de la Bastide Blanche and Domaine Bunan. The other appellation producing quality wine is Les Baux. One of the leading producers in this small area is Domaine de Trévallon, owned by the Durrbach family, which makes award-winning reds from Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah and fine whites from Marsanne and Roussanne. One should also look for reds, whites and rosés from Domaine des Terres Blanches, founded in the 1960s by Noel Michelin (who pioneered organic farming practices in the area) and now owned by Christian Latouche. Will drinking the Provençal reds evoke the same memories of sundrenched days in the south of France? We hope so. But the songs you begin to sing during the fourth glass may be different.


May Advocate 2017
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