2017 Clos Cibonne, Tibouren, Cuvée Spéciale des Vignettes, Côtes de Provence Rosé, Cru Classe, Provence, France.
The heart and soul of Clos Cibonne is Tibouren, the ancient local grape that seems impossibly pale as a red grape, but makes for maybe the greatest Rosé in the world. André Roux, who ran the estate back in the 1930s to after WWII, was a great fan of this native varietal and believed it to be the ideal grape for the region, though had a tough time after Phylloxera and was largely forgotten by the Provence vignerons of the time. Roux, with great bravery and insight in fact replaced all of the estate’s Mourvèdre with Tibouren and Clos Cibonne soon became synonymous with Tibouren, which also led the A.O.C. to give special permission for the winery to list the grape on its labels. Bridget, André Roux’s granddaughter, and her husband, Claude Deforge, took over reins of Clos Cibonne in the late 1990s and have raised the profile and quality here beyond anyone’s hopes or expectations focusing on the vines and rebuilding the cellars. Clos Cibonne is only about 800 meters from the beautiful blue Mediterranean sea, set in a natural amphitheater that allows for wonderful ripening and with a unique constant air flow through the vines that keeps all the clusters wonderfully healthy. For Clos Cibonne’s Côtes de Provence Rosé, which is completely unique wine, the Tibouren, after harvest is fermented in stainless steel and then aged Sur Lie under fleurette (a thin veil of yeast like is found in Sherry) in 100-year-old, 500L foudres, which adds a touch of oxidation and stabilizes the wine allow it to age way beyond what a normal Rosé.
The 2017 Cuvée Spéciale des Vignettes Côtes de Provence Rosé, a reserve style bottling that is sourced only from the estate’s oldest vines is an amazing wine that transcends any traditional preconceptions on what Rosé should be, it is wonderfully expressive, lively and rich in texture with true vinous hedonism. Grown on schist soils from 60 plus year old vines at 50 meters above sea level the Clos Cibonne Cuvée Spéciale des Vignettes comes from a single parcel known as Le Pradet and farmed all organic. The orange/pinkish Cuvée Spéciale des Vignettes was aged in cask on the lees for a full year, making it feel more like a normal wine wine on the palate, but still it has a sense of mineral charm and good acidity on the medium bodied palate. The flavors are an array of complex fruit and earth along with a touch of pecan oil and saline showing tangy cherry, grilled citrus with Moro orange, reduced strawberry, peach flesh and distilled currant along with a hint of leather, lavender, lemon rind, stone fruit pit and wet rocks. This iconic pink wine is lees dense, chewy and crunchy with enough pithy bite to refresh the taste buds, it is so good, no bottle of Clos Cibonne Tibouren lasts long enough, magnums would be a way better way to enjoy this stuff! Drink over the next 3 to 5 years, I had the 2015 vintage last month and it was spot on and still incredible and this 2017 is a bit more vibrant at its core, enjoy it with classic Mediterranean cuisine or anything you have in the fridge!
($35 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive