Monday, April 20, 2009
French Rose Wine from Provence, Chateau Romanin and La Cave du Mas de Longchamp
Rose wines of Provence
Provence is the birthplace of fresh and fruity rose wines. Vines have existed there since the fourth century BC but it was the Greeks and Romans who introduced grape growing techniques to the area. The original wines were similar to today’s roses that have come to symbolize Provence. Rose is an easy going wine served as an aperitif in France but equally at home with a typical Mediterranean meal. Half of the rose wine made in France comes from Provence and eighty percent of the wine made in Provence is rose.
Many times we would be sitting on our stone terrace enjoying a glass of rose in the spring of 2007 and look up to see white gliders doing ballets in the clear almost cloudless skies overhead. Intrigued with the thoughts of gliding high above the Alpilles in France, my husband inquired as to where he might rent one since he is a private pilot and we had our own plane for many years. We were told that there was a gliding club aerodome nearby on the grounds of the vineyards at Chateau Romanin.
Chateau Romanin is a wine growing estate with an old castle from the Middle Ages with 58 hectares of vines located in a gap that forms into a “V” on the northern slope between Saint-Remy-de-Provence and the charming tiny village of Eygalieres. This “V” creates natural updrafts allowing easy takeoffs in gliders as well as protecting the vines from disease and frost. The vineyards are spread around the aerodrome.
One look at the tiny gliders with one small seat in front for the pilot and another in the back for the passenger told him he was likely to experience claustrophobia, so we came up with a new plan and proceeded to tour the winery and enjoy the degustation (free tasting) offered by the lovely French mademoiselle. Although tastings are generally free in France, it’s expected that you will buy a couple of bottles.
La Cave du Mas de Longchamp’s local Vin de Pays rose wine
For years we had heard stories about people taking an empty wine bottle to a winery in France and getting it filled with a Vin de Pays (local wine) and longed to have the same experience. Our caretaker suggested we try La Cave du Mas de Longchamps in nearby Molleges. We were delighted to discover that we could purchase their fruity rose for 1.65 Euros a liter and fill our own jug.
Madame Benoit, the owner’s wife, filling our plastic jug
My husband Meakin giving it a try