(2020) From English MW Justin Howard-Sneyd and his family, this blend of Grenache and Syrah is made by Jean-Marc Lafage of Domaine Lafage, with a limited run of individually numbered bottles. It's an unashamed homage to Provence from its pretty, pale salmon pink colour, to its sheer acidity and cool red fruit profile. As in the 2018 there's a whiff of exotic pot-pourri of flowers and spices, dry reducrrant, downy peach and watermelon fruit. That bracing shot of acidity revs up the finish, so whilst delicate and light, it has a bit of tension and grip too. Note that members of Domaine of the Bee's wine club can buy for £12, and bibwine.co.uk will be selling a limited number of 2.25-litre boxes of this wine.
(2020) A very unusual non-vintage wine in that it is 90% Chenin Blanc, with 10% of added Merlot. In a 250ml can, Cloof stress its low carbon footprint and unaffected quality. Its a deeply coloured pink, the nose showing a little toffee apple character, some pulpy strawberry too. In the mouth it is crisp, apples and lemons, just a hint of briar and cherry, and dry in the finish. Pretty far from 'Provençal' in style, as it is described in the Cloof literature, but the standard two-glass serving in its lightweight can may appeal for picnics, etc. Coming into stock at time of review.
(2020) Based on 50% Cinsault with Syrah and Grenache, this Rhône rosé is a full-flavoured and full bodied rendition, but not without delicacy. The colour is pale and attractive, the nose has a little confiture and watercolour paintbox lift, and the dry palate loads of small, dry, raspberry and reducurrant fruit flavours, sliced by fresh lemony acidity with a little salty edge into the finish.
(2020) I'm a fan of Torres' aromatic white version of the Viña Esmeralda and I have to say this wine put a broad smile on my face. Pretty and pale pink in colour, it is 100% Grenache from Torres' vineyards in the Penedès, and is fragrant with old roses, pomegranate and strawberry. On the palate some residual sugar makes it summery and very easy-going, the tang red fruit and citrus acidity balancing nicely, so that it finishes basically dry, and quite pure and long.
(2020) Something a bit different in amongst a sea of Provençal styles on the market, this is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon which is deeply coloured following 36 hours skin contact. The nose is all confiture with Morello cherry and raspberry jam notes, and a sense of creamy roundness. In the mouth there's an unmissable bit of residual sugar, and balancing is not just some crisp acidity but a little tannin, which along with more berry-ripe fruit gives this a bit of savouriness to offset the sweetness of the finish.
(2020) From the Bordeaux vineyards of Chateau Surain, but designated as a Vin de France, so possibly the fruit coming from elsewhere, this is cool, fresh and dry, a nicely pitched savoury pink straddling lemony savoury qualities and small, firm red berry fruitiness, and really very nicely done.
(2020) What a lovely rosé from Ventoux in the Rhône Valley, a blend of 50% Cinsault with 25% each of Syrah and Grenache. It's pale in colour and had beautifully lifted floral, watercolour paintbox and bright kirsch aromas, so bright, elegant and vivacious. In the mouth the 12.5% alcohol early-picking is obvious with a little flinty, sulphide note adding intrigue and the fresh but juicy and substantial weight of dry redcurrant and cherry fruit behind, the pert acidity perfectly judged. A very nice style this, gastronomic and mouth-watering, yet vivid and flavourful.
(2020) A really very charming rosé this, pale in colour and extremely fresh and appetising. Equal proportions of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Tannat and local speciality Pinenc form 90% of the blend, along with 10% of the local white grape Petit Courbu. Viticulture is carried out according to phases of the moon, and the wine harvested in the early hours of the morning of a 'fruit day', according to the biodynamic calendar. There's a litghtly herbal note, stone fruit aromas and a mineral, slightly smoky sense, before tangy raspberry, grapefruit and passion fruit in the mouth, plenty of zesty acidity and a mouth-watering, dry finish.
(2020) One of the more unusual and more interesting pink wines here, principally because it is a rare barrel-fermented rosé, the blend composed of 54% Garnacha (Grenache) and 46% Tempranillo, from Chivite's Navarra vineyards in northern Spain. There's a white partner too, which I'll be tasting soon, and both come in a striking amphora-shaped bottles with an inscription on the back that explains that the wines are produced in collaboration with the fabulous 3* restaurant, Arzak, in San Sebastian, where I had a fabulous meal a couple of years ago. The rosé is pale in colour and pretty on the nose, the aromas immediately betray that barrel influence from the Alliers oak, vanilla, toast and a touch of truffle, but that's amongst the fragrant raspberry and summery, blossom fruits. In the mouth that creaminess and toast from the barrel is evident again, adding lots of intrigue, and melting into the soft pillow of red berries, a good and slightly salty acidity, all completing a fascinating picture.
(2020) The very minimalist packaging of this Provence rosé is explained by the eco-conscious brand behind it: made by Château Pigoudet, like all Sea Change wines each bottle purchased results in a donation to marine conservation charities to fight plastic pollution. No plastics are used, the bottle coming without a capsule, its label made from plant cellulose. The wine is suitably pale in colour and has a very vibrant, and very appealing nose, with plenty of zestiness but also a vivacious fruit salad character with juicy mango and peach to the fore. In the mouth there's a touch of confectionary tutti-frutti character, but that juicy peach dominates and the balance really is very good, a crisp citrus freshness leaving the finish dry and moreish. The price drops to £13.99 for a mix of six Sea Change wines.