Chateau Riotor Cotes de Provence Rose
Few wines are more versatile than crisp, dry rosés, as almost any chef will tell you. The perfect summer alternative to bold, rich reds and a bright counterpart to hearty, difficult to match winter fare, rosés are comfortable in any setting. Nowhere is there more variety to the rosé spectrum than in the classic appellations of the south of France, and in the Côtes de Provence, rosé reigns supreme.
Château Riotor was acquired by the Abeille family, ancestors of current owner, manager and winemaker Jean Abeille, over four generations ago. During the mid 1900s, half of the property was sold out of family control, but was bought back in 1964 by third generation Roger Abeille, restoring the estate to its original configuration.
Roger’s sons, Henri and Jean, enlarged the property, which at the time consisted of seven hectares (17 acres) in the Côtes de Provence AOC and fifteen hectares (38 acres) in the Vin de Pays des Maures. Additional acquisitions brought the vineyards to their present size, all planted to an exceptionally fine selection of Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault and Rolle vines. On this revitalized estate, they established a separate vinification facility and cellars that now accommodate production of 2,500 hectoliters (28,000 cases) of wine.
The 94 hectare (232 acre) Château Riotor property is located in the heart of Provence, in the commune of Cannet des Maures, thirty kilometers from the Mediterranean coast and Saint Tropez. Vineyards cover fifty hectares (125 acres) in two delimited areas: thirty-eight hectares in the Côtes de Provence appellation and an adjoining twelve in the Vin de Pays des Maures.
The vines are cultivated in sandy soils with a high degree of red schist characteristic of these appellations, resulting in low yields and concentrated fruit, essential to producing great wines. The climate is typical of the Mediterranean basin, with hot, dry summers that are cooled by marine breezes from the sea.
The vintage takes place when the fruit has reached optimum maturity, and grapes are harvested by hand, allowing a qualitative selection in the vineyard. Harvested at perfect ripeness, the fruit expresses its full aromatic potential and preserves an excellent level of natural acidity and freshness in the finished wine.
Under the direction of Jean Abeille, the grapes are carefully de-stemmed, chilled and gently soft pressed in pneumatic presses. Fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks within a temperature range of 16°C to18°C (61°F and 65°F) over a period of 15 days. Color is imparted by cool maceration with the skins at 10°C (50°F) during the initial stages of fermentation for a period depending on grape variety. Grenache remains in contact with the skins for two to three hours, Cinsault for four to five hours and Syrah is pressed immediately without skin contact. Rolle, a white variety, is macerated with the skins at the same temperature for four to five hours to impart aromatic complexity. There is no malolactic fermentation or oak contact, and the wine is bottled early in the spring following the harvest to preserve its fresh fruit flavors and aromas.
Blended from Grenache and Cinsault grapes with a touch of Syrah and Rolle, Château Riotor strikes a delicious balance between sunny, ripe berry fruit and elegant freshness. Vibrant salmon pink in color with brilliant reflections, the wine is vividly scented with apple, pear, yellow plum and peach aromas that are repeated on the palate. The body shows lush breadth supported by finely tuned acidity, with beautiful balance and lovely length on the finish. Superb as an apéritif, it is delicious with crustaceans, grilled or roast fish and white meats.
45% Grenache, 40% Cinsault, 10% Syrah, 5% Rolle (Vermentino) reflecting the varietal distribution in the vineyard; varies slightly depending on the vintage.
at 8°C (46°F) within two years
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