With rosé season upon us, why not start out with a classic wine from Provence? A wine that demonstrates why the region has long been celebrated for the rosés that arrive on our shores each spring by the container full.
These days, rosé from Provence is sometimes defined by quantity over quality, by celebrity (Brad and Angelina’s Miraval), or by overpriced and overhyped bottles (Domaines Ott). It is superb and affordable wines like the 2018 Domaine de Cala, however, that make the region in the south of France the world’s benchmark for rosé.
That’s not to say that Domaine de Cala is a quaint little backwater. With 600 acres in Brignoles, a few dozen miles north of the Mediterranean, the property was acquired several years ago by Joachim Splichal, a Los Angeles-based celebrity chef and co-founder of a restaurant group with dozens of establishments on the East and West Coasts.
He hired a well-known French wine consultant and a Provencal winemaker and, voilà, the first Domaine de Cala wines were bottled in 2016.
At $16 or so, the 2018 release is a superb value and one of the more exciting rosés I’ve tasted recently. The blend is 40 percent Grenache, 29 percent Syrah, 17 percent Rolle, and 14 percent Cinsault. (Rolle is the white grape better known as Vermentino in Italy.)
In color, this is one of the lightest rosés out there, with a barely perceptible salmon blush. But it is deep in taste and complexity, popping in the mouth with a zingy acidity that announces its refreshing character. Tastes that suggest white peach, orange and lemon, and a hint of strawberry are accented by subtle floral and herb notes on the long, slightly creamy finish.
It’s a rosé made for grilled fish, chicken, and vegetables, and for enjoying on its own — a wine I could drink all summer (and probably will).