Today I’m looking at a rosé from Provence: the Bieler Pere & Fils 2019 Aix-en-Provence Sabine Rosé. Wine has been made in Provence at the southern end of the Rhone Valley for over 2,500 years. Greek settlers first planted grapevines there, but many were later uprooted by the Romans so that food crops could be planted, and possibly to avoid competition with their own wines. Today, most of Provence’s production goes to rosé. Along with Bandol and Cotes de Provence, Aix-en-Provence is in the top tier of the eight appellations producing rosé in Provence.
The Bieler Family involvement with rosé wines began in 1992 in Provence, France when Charles Father, Philippe, founded Chateau Routas. The winery focused on rosé along with Grenache based red blends. Philippe’s children, Charles and Mira, entered the business in the 1995 time-frame performing winemaking, marketing, and selling. Chateau Routas was later sold when the family founded New York based Bieler Père et Fils. Charles has so many business ventures going that you might wonder when he makes wine, but he says, “I’m Charles Bieler, and I’ve been making wine this way for more than 20 years”.
Charles has toiled over time to improve his Sabine Rosé. For example, beginning in 2017 smaller yields from vineyards gave creamier concentration and greater length to the wine. In order to improve dynamic aromatics Charles continues investment in temperature control for fermentation. Likewise, to increase palate weight he has raised efforts in pre-fermentation solids work. To elevate the complexity of the wine, dozens of small fermentations are employed using a spectrum of yeasts. This diligence can’t help but remind me of a Cromwell maxim, “He who stops being better, stops being good.” After reviewing this wine, I’d say Charles must be both good and better.
The blend for Sabine is generally Grenache 40%, Syrah 20%, Cinsault 20%, Cabernet Sauvignon 15%, and Rolle 5%. Volumetric alcohol scales at about 13%, with at PH 3.3, and RS reading 0.1%. The wine is a pretty pale Salmon in color with soft gold and orange hues. Delicate aromas of raspberry, wet gravel, and garrigue are quickly revealed. A nicely focused rosé, Sabine especially delivers purity of fruit, lift, and structure.
Sabine is also a super partner for food. I paired it with rotisserie Chicken, lemon wedges, and garlic cloves. The rosé proved an excellent foil, cutting through the rich bird like a saber. As well, the wine’s fruit complimented and enhanced the roasted meat in a way not unlike the effect of my slices of citrus.
A sample for review
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