Recall that feeling of hot sand between your toes as you sit down to lunch in the cool shade of an awning at some beach-front café just steps from the Mediterranean? That’s the image these rose-hued beauties conjure up for me.
I have never figured out if there is a definite causal relationship between the pale pink/orange color of these wines and their delicate, elegant flavor, or whether it just seems that the two must to be linked, but in my mind they certainly are.
And the Domaine Houchart Côtes de Provence Rosé 2009 ($13) is just what I look for because it displays both these characteristics with élan. It’s a quintessential Provence rosé – delicate, soft and subtle, quite dry, but with enough ripe fruit flavors – strawberries, of course, the calling card of this sort of wine – to ensure it’s quafability, another essential requirement of rosé.
But this alone describes many Provence rosés, many decidedly ordinary, boring wines good only for drinking ice cold in the swimming pool, as long as one isn’t too demanding. No, what I also want in a rosé, and what the Houchart most decidedly delivers, is a distinctive flinty minerality that provides depth and complexity – not an insignificant achievement in a wine at this price – and also, incidentally, makes it far more interesting with food.
And, talking of food back at the beachfront café, please pass that plate of delicious black olives, and the crusty baguette.