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Commanderie de Peyrassol, Cotes de Provence, 2008, $17.99

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This is our harbinger of summer; when the Peyrassol arrives, we know that summer is not far behind. A blend of Cinsault, Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre, we buy this wine by the case and serve it at early evening gatherings when the sun is still out and parched throats yearn for something refreshing. When we first started going to France, the country of so much good wine, we were surprised to see so many natives drinking pink. We finally tried it in the south of France with a pissaladiere for lunch and have been strong proponents since.

Cotes du Provence, the appellation de controllée (AOC) in which the Peyrassol estate is located, is known for dry, minerally, floral rosés. We try lots of rosés when visiting France and when we travel domestically. The Peyrassol captures the essence of Provencal rosés: pale pink, with aromas of nectarine, pink grapefruit, carnation and just a hint of garrigue– a rosemary, thyme, lavender mix. In the mouth, wild strawberries, nectarine, and wet stones and that clean, bright finish with lingering minerality. If you’ve been to the Cote d’Azur, a glass of this will transport you back. Enjoy it on its own in the evening on your deck or pair it with anything Provencial, from aioli tossed with green beans and potatoes to pissaladiere or Caprese salads.

The following review appeared in the International Wine Cellar, a well-respected industry review of wines edited by Wesleyan graduate, Stephen Tanzer who, it turns out, gave the Peyrassol a 90. “Pale orange. Spicy aromas of wild strawberry, pear, orange, honeysuckle and white pepper. Fleshy, palate-coating red berry flavors display very good depth and are firmed by juicy acidity. Finishes on a sappy note, with strong mineral snap and floral persistence.”