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Sabine Aix-en-Provence Rosé

Tasting Notes

It’s hard to imagine when we started making rosé in Aix in the early 2000’s, that we often struggled to ripen the fruit to the level we wanted. We had to consider de-acidifying because the acidity was so searing! These days most Provence wineries need to add lots of acid to get balance (not us at our high elevation spot). The 2023 vintage started off very dry but early spring brought some rain and humidity that was welcomed, but the timing of it did create some mildew challenges which reduced crop size a bit. The warm and dry conditions returned for summer as has been the case the last decade. The harvest started for us in the
hills above Aix by mid-September (several weeks later than most in the lower elevation areas of Provence) and finished up late-October. We have been planting and grafting a lot within the last decade and we’re now being rewarded with a broader mix of varietals and percentages which is at the core of the ever-expanding flavor profile. Grenache and Syrah have always been at the core of the wine with Cinsault, Rolle and now Clairette coming on in recent years.

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The Region

As the oldest wine growing area in France and the world’s largest Rosé specialty region, Provence is the gold standard in Rosé. There are 8 different appellations in Provence but only 3 that you need to know: Cotes de Provence, Aix-en-Provence, and Bandol. Most of the biggest Rosé producers are in the Cotes de Provence AOC, where the warmest growing regions in the flats of Provence produce higher yields and harvests tend to be quite early. For our part, we instead focused on the cooler, more rugged and higher elevation vineyards in the hills around Aix-en-Provence. The cooler nights in the hills around Aix-en-Provence means that we pick on average 2 weeks later than Cotes de Provence, allowing for a gentler ripening and more natural acidity, two critical attributes to make the kind of Rosé we think is best. The Southern Rhone and Provence are on the front lines of global climate change and these relatively cooler sites in the region have become more important than ever to make wines with balance and energy.

The Wine

The classic Provence Rosé profile is what every serious winemaker around the world attempts to mimic and for good reason. Our goal is to find the delicate balance between floral, herbal, wild red fruit (not overly ripe), stone fruit and acid. Enticing aromatics of peach, white cherry and wild raspberry that are balanced by summer flowers, white tea and Provence herbs. These delicate flavors carry through to a creamy yet lifted palate that’s interwoven with rose petal and wet stones. We don’t want singular big flavors, we want more nuance, energy, soul and personality. To achieve that we don’t have a single approach to each fermentation. Instead, we break up each vineyard into parts using different yeasts, juice solids and lees treatments so each tank is a little different and brings a unique perspective in the final blend. We have been loving the results of circulating juice solids pre-fermentation to build depth and concentration. For a delicate, fresh wine like Rosé, oxygen contact can be crushing, so we have made investments in nitrogen coverage such that from the moment the fruit arrives it’s never exposed to oxygen again until it’s eventually poured from a bottle into your glass, resulting in a more vivid and precise expression of our Roséthan ever before. The wine is in no way heavy on the palate, but it has a tremendous silky length in addition to the ripe white peach, raspberry, cherry, herbal, orange blossom, sea salt and mineral core. We have been working with the same growers since 2005 and collaborate closely on every aspect. Over the years what we are planting and where has evolved significantly to make it a vineyard drivenrosé with depth, lift andcomplexity.

The History

In 1992, my father, Philippe Bieler, founded Chateau Routas in Coteaux Varois—a small appellation in the middle of Provence. The winery focused on Grenache based red blends and Rosé. My sister Mira and I got involved in the mid 90’s when we developed, through unorthodox winemaking and creative marketing and selling, one of the more dynamic Rosé brands in America at the time. In 2005 there was a great opportunity to sell the winery and estate and we took it. The same year we sold Routas, we founded Bieler Père et Fils with a single-minded focus on making Rosé. We have been making wine in Provence since 1992.

Awards & Accolades

90 PointsJames Suckling, 2022 Vintage

Wine Specs

50% Grenache 20% Syrah 11% Cinsault 10% Cabernet Sauvignon 5% Rolle 2% Ugni Blanc 2% Clairette