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A French Wine to Drink All Summer Long

Château Pibarnon Bandol Rosé 2009
James Molesworth
Posted: June 2, 2010

This latest entry might as well be called, “What I'm drinking now and for the next couple of months.”

Folks know I'm pretty fond of big reds made from Rhône varieties—except when it’s 85 degrees on the back porch. But during the summer, I don't want to give up complexity in a wine or the ability to match it with food when the weather gets warm. That's where a great rosé comes in.

This rosé from France’s Provence region is made from a blend of equal parts Mourvèdre and Cinsault. With its pale salmon color, porcelainlike mouthfeel and alluring notes of dried cherry, watermelon rind and rose petal, Château Pibarnon’s rosé can be a refreshing aperitif—but it also has the complexity and underlying acidity to match with food. I paired it with lamb burgers, heavy on the Vietnamese coriander and grilled over Alder wood. I rated the wine 90 points, non-blind, and found it for $24. members: Get scores and tasting notes for more recently rated reds and rosés from the Bandol appellation.

Plus, learn more about Bandol's Big Reds in our magazine archives or watch our free video Bandol Beauty: Introducing Mourvèdre.

Member comments   3 comment(s)

John A Martelly — Swansea, Massachusetts USA —  June 23, 2010 8:37pm ET

One of my new favorites is CAPCANES Montsant MAS DONIS Rosat. A nearly perfect blend of Grenache, Syrah and Merlot, Mas Donis is a rose' experience. Fruit forward with just a hint of Cherry Twizzler, it's flavors open like a flower with raspberry, strawberry and citrus zest. We enjoyed this wine with a Sunday brunch pairing it with everything like ham, bacon sausage and even quiche. At about $10.00 it definitely is my "goto"rose'

Robert Halpin — Lakeland, FL —  August 9, 2010 3:08pm ET

James, I recently took a tasting trip to Paso Robles where I saw a number of Rhone blends that had very small quantities of cinsault. I asked 6 different wineries what the cinsault added to the blend and nobody could answer. Can you?

James Molesworth — Senior Editor, Wine Spectator —  August 9, 2010 3:57pm ET

Robert: Odd that winemakers would use a grape whose characteristics they don't really know...?

But in any event, in the Rhône, Cinsault tends to produce very vivacious, black fruit flavors - more obvious in personality than the silky, seductive Grenache and more upfront in style as opposed to more tannic Mourvèdre and Syrah...

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