2020 Domaine du Dragon Grande Cuvée Rosé, Cotes de Provence, France (750ml)
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A Seasonal Rosé Club Selection
High up in the hills of southern France, above the Côte d’Azur and the crowds at Cannes, you’ll find the cool, terraced vineyards of Domaine du Dragon. While much of Provence is a patchwork of different terroirs, this corner near the town of Draguignan is unique in that it is almost exclusively limestone, more commonly found in places like Burgundy.
Cooling winds whip through the forested valleys to moderate the southern sun, so grapes are not only perfectly ripe but also balanced. This symbiosis of soil and sun results in flavorful, elegant wines. Soils are rich in gravel and limestone—part of the Triassac plateau of the Haut Pays—unusually mineral terroir for the region. The chateau of the Dragon takes its name from the legend recounted by Jean de Nostradamus of a monster in the forest of Ampus, slain by St. Hermentaire. Its two original buildings no longer exist, but partially preserved ramparts and the remains of a watchtower look out over the lush Nartuby Valley, while the walls retain their arrow holes, and there is a gateway into the buildings. According to official and religious documents, including Napoleonic records, this castle with a surface area of 200 m2 had an interesting history. The property in 1340 of Aubert Vaquet, it remained uninhabited during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries before being bought in 1700 by Baltasar de Harness, Sieur d’Auroules and Châteaudouble, first consul of Draguignan. The chateau of the Dragon was inhabited until the early twentieth century, with the winery being founded in 1990 by winemaker Aurelien Fournier. Many of Domaine du Dragon’s vineyard terraces were replanted in the 1990s (in addition to the estate’s cellars being modernized) to improve clonal selection, vine density and the mix of grape varieties. Vines are cared for sustainably, following organic practices as much as the season allows. This Rosé is a blend of 36% Grenache, 25% Syrah, 23% Cinsault, 18% Mourvèdre, from 20 year-old vines. The grapes were hand-harvested and immediately pressed (rosé de pressurage) and fermented on indigenous yeasts in temperature-controlled, stainless steel tanks. Malolactic fermentation was allowed, the wine was then aged in tank. Delicate pink color. Enticing aromas of strawberries and red plums. The palate is bright, with red berries, lemon zest, and peach, delicate but super bright and juicy. A charming wine that will take you seamlessly from picnic to dinner.