Thursday, July 2, 2015

A Provence Wine Dinner

Organized by Sopexa, it was a wine dinner which showcased local cuisine paired with rose wines from Provence (at New Ubin Seafood Restaurant).

Mr Francois Milo, Director of Provence Wine Council and Edwin Soon (author of Wines of France) were at hand to share with us about rose wines and its versatility with local cuisine.

While these two experienced food and wine enthusiasts shared with us their past experiences and opinions on this subject, we the guests had the opportunity to pursue some experiential learning ourselves by trying a variety of local seafood dishes (and steak too, not to forget that one) with a variety of rose wines.

The 5 rose wines we tasted during dinner were:

2014 Rimauresq 'R' Cru Classé Rose, Côtes de Provence AOP
(Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah, Rolle and Cab Sauvignon varietals).

2013 Le Pas Du Moine Rose, Château Gassier, Côtes de Provence Sainte-Victoire AOP
(Ugni Blanc, Grenache, Syrah, Rolle and Cinsault varietals).

2013 Chateau d'Esclans Cotes de Provence Whispering Angel Rose, Provence
(Grenache and Rolle varietals).

2014 Domaine De La Croix Cru Classe, Cotes de Provence AOC
(Grenache, Cinsault, Tibouren, Mourvedre, Cab Sauvignon and Syrah varietals).

2014 Chateau Paradis Coteaux dÁix en Provence
(Grenache, Syrah & Sauvignon Blanc varietals).

By and large one can identify 2 noticeable styles among these rose wines. A few showed themselves with a light and gentle body, refreshing acidity, lovely minerality with subtle citrus and red fruit notes. Dry, pale coloured, refreshing rose wines true to nature to delight one’s palate on a hot evening and certainly soothe one’s soul with a lightness of being about them. You can sip a glass, then another for good measure and you get to feel relaxed, happy and wanting some more; a great aperitif, a happy sip I dare say.

Then there were the ones exhibiting a study body and structure, good body weight and with a degree of seriousness about them. Rose wines exhibiting a stronger flavour intensity, with a sense of depth and complexity about them. The latter were rose wines which make one pause and take heed of their character and personality.

The lighter styled wines were a delight to have on their own, though when paired with food of strong flavour intensity or body weight, these wines played a more passive/background role in the pairing. The 'sturdier' rose wines (though a tad serious to have on their own) complemented and stood well when paired with local dishes. What’s important to note is the fact that neither style of rose wines actually clashed with the food for the evening or made for a bad combination.

The lower tannin level exhibited in an average rose wine (as opposed to a still, red wine like Shiraz, Malbec or Cab Sauvignon) makes for the rose’s advantage when chosen as pairing companion for local cuisine. Tannic, red wines can present a challenge when paired with oily, salty or spicy food dishes (and some local dishes can easily go the way of such flavour characteristics). And one sips rose wines chilled; a pleasant and ideal temperature to negotiate local dishes on a hot evening I dare say.

Compared to a few years ago, there appears presently a growing awareness and acceptance among wine enthusiasts with regards to rose wines. One reason could be that more wine enthusiasts are taking up wine courses and therefore are willing to be open minded about consuming different types of wine. Another reason could be that holiday makers are including wine regions within their itinerary when travelling abroad these days and come back willing to try new sips. The hot weather in recent weeks, with the assurance of more such days in the near future, puts up a convincing argument for rose wines as well. Whatever the particular reason, prospects for rose wine consumption seem better these days than before.

More pictures of this dinner can be viewed via this link: Provence Wine Dinner

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