2019 Chateau Pradeaux, Cotes de Provence Rosé, Provence, France.
One of the Rosés of the year so far, the alternative version from Bandol’s famous Chateau Pradeaux that’s labeled as Cotes de Provence Rosé, is made from 45% Cinsault and 40% Mourvedre along with small doses Grenache and Carignan making for a full flavored, but wonderfully dry example of what this region, set on the Mediterranean, is most known for, high quality pink wines to enjoy all day and all year. Over the last 10 years I’ve become a huge follower of this winery and of winemaker Etienne Portalis, who now among the best and highest regarded for his Bandol wines at his family’s historic estate, when I last tasted with him I was blown away with his extended aged Bandol Rouge, which much like a Gran Reserva Rioja saw 10 years of cellar time, with at least 4 of those years in cask, before release, as well as his regular bottlings, including his Rosé(s). Château Pradeaux, founded by Etienne’s ancestors in 1752, is located close to the town of Saint Cyr-sur-Mer, a small village that sits directly on the Mediterranean Ocean between the bigger town of Toulon and the ancient port city of Marseilles. The main Château Pradeaux Bandol Rosé is composed of entirely of Cinsault and Mourvèdre and well known as one of the finest and most complex in Provence, joining the likes of Domaine Tempier, Clos Cibonne, Domaine Ott and Bastide Blanche in the must have top shelf elite producers. This terroir driven version is one of the best kept secrets, labeled differently and in fact, uses organic vines that were classified as Bandol AOC as recently as 2012, set on the well-drained, highly calcareous Jurassic or even Triassic age, red and white limestone soils.

The 2019 Chateau Pradeaux Cotes de Provence Rosé is bright, mineral driven and layered on the palate with classic Bandol character and substance in a slightly fresher and lower alcohol style with crisp detailing showing crushed raspberries, tart cherry, strawberry, Summer melon and zesty citrus along with hints of earth and spice. This wine gains intensity and body with air as well as adding crushed wet stone, floral rosewater and saline or sea shore elements, this Pradeaux, led by the high percentage of Cinsault really seduces the senses and is exceptionally refreshing with an inner energy and brightness that keeps all the flavors in balance. While the main Bandol Rosé is awesome and a touch more serious, this Chateau Pradeaux Cotes de Provence Rosé is an outrageous value and lacks for nothing in terms of taste and depth, I highly recommend snapping this vintage up, it looks to have another year or two of drinking pleasure ahead of it too, though I wouldn’t likely have that kind of patience! All of Pradeaux’s reds are stellar, with about 95% Mourvedre they are monumental structured wines and are mostly all 100% whole cluster, they usually are held back a bit longer than their competitors as patience here is much more needed, these monster Bandol Rouge(s), that see extended élevage in large oak foudres are wines that will likely outlast many First Growth Bordeaux! After a short maceration on the skins, the Rosé, in order to extract a vivid color, the juice is fermented at low temperatures in stainless steel tanks, according to the winery, to retain freshness, fruit and bouquet. This dry pink was aged about 6 months in cement cuves on the lees, then usually wine is bottled in the Spring of the year following harvest. This is a fabulous Rosé to experience with Fall sunsets and close friends, don’t miss it!
($24 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

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