2016 Clos Cibonne, Tibouren, Cotes de Provence Rosé, Cru Classe, Cuvee Tradition, Provence, France.
One of the great wines of the world, the Clos Cibonne Rosé is crafted to age and made from the rare and ancient Tibouren grape that once was more widely planted in Provence, before Mourvedre and Grenache moved into the area in the late 1,800’s. In fact the Roux family even ripped out Mourvedre to make room for more Tibouren in the 1930’s and gained the rare Cru Classe states for his heroic efforts with this grape and wines. The vinification is ultra traditional and old school, with what I believe is direct pressing and a short soak on the naturally light pigmented skins, with the winery adding that after fermentation the wine is aged on the lees under fleurette for 1 year in 100-year-old foudres (large French oak oval casks) that allows for the wines complex details, stability, textural qualities and age worthiness. The 2016 Cuvee Tradition, from 30 plus year old vines set of rocky schist, is all organic and was made up of 90% Tibouren and 10% Grenache, which adds a touch of color and juicy fruit, grown on the estate’s 15 hectares of vineyards that are located, as the winery notes, a mere 800 meters from the coast and are surrounded by hillsides in the base of a bowl that faces the sea. Explaining the terroir elements, the winery infers, that this topography creates air circulation that allows for perfect maturation of the grapes and helps to reduce any vintage variations, providing healthy ripe and balanced fruit year to year. The other Tibouren by Clos Cibonne the Cuvée Spéciale des Vignettes that is sourced only from the estate’s oldest vines, and was reviewed prior is one of my all time favorites, but this is classic stuff too and I love this 2016 vintage, it’s intriguing and pure. I wish I had sampled this one before tasting the Cuvée Spéciale des Vignettes, because it is just not quite as thrilling or impressive, even though it’s a great wine on it’s own! The palate is full and round with layers of earth red fruits, citrus and cool mineral charms, adding an intriguing slightly oxidative tone, even though full of life and acidity, it shows poached cherry, strawberry, orange zest and wet stone as well as a hint of dried herb, almond oil, earthy/leaf and a faint hind of rosewater. With a cult like following, Clos Cibonne is never easy to find, but is a steal for the style and class in the bottle, drink these 2016 up over the next 2 to 3 years.
($26 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

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