Obscure French Rosé Wines – Drink Now

      19 Comments on Obscure French Rosé Wines – Drink Now

French rosé wines provenceA diversity of rosé styles exists through out the world. They’re made from a variety of grapes in a rainbow of shades and styles. Rosé comes in mass-produced and boutique quantities, the later of which are more difficult to find. Both are good, but it’s the obscure rosé that excites me.

Skimming The Rosé Surface – Intentional or Saignée Method

Last year Master of Wine Elizabeth Gabay released Rosé – Understanding the Pink Wine Revolution. In it she discusses questions related to making rosé. Two of these are whether to farm grapes specifically for rosé production (intentional) or produce it via the saignée method. I’ll explain that below…

When a decision is made to make rosé, grapevines are planted in a location and farmed for rosé. Along with this choice there are other location considerations: altitude, site exposure and soils. When harvested, the grapes are directly pressed and all the juice is used to produce the wine.

The saignée method is different; grapes are grown for red wine. When crushed, a bit of juice is drained off in the process. That juice makes rosé. While this sounds simple, it requires important decisions too.

Is There A Better Method?

When writing about the Italian rosé Chiaretto di Bardolino, I had an email exchange with wine expert Elaine Chukan Brown. She shared the following regarding the two methods

“With the increase of intentional rosé there has been a lot of prejudice against saignée, treating it as automatically lesser quality or less desirable. In actuality there are quite a few very good saignée-method rosés out there, and a long tradition of it in parts of France and Italy to admirable results. In some cases the later ripening of saignée actually means the wine has more to offer on the palate.”

Both methods can produce great rosé, and both can produce bathwater.

A Variety of French Rosé

How a rosé ends up tasting depends a lot on the producer in terms of quality and style. And also the grapes. For example, a rosé from Provence commonly made with some blend of varieties – Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah, Mouvedré, Tibouren and Carignan – tastes different than rosé from Bordeaux where Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Carménère and Petit Verdot are used. And that’s different from the French Basque area Irouleguy where rosé is made mainly of Tannat and both Cabernets. Yes grapes differentiate the wine but also elements of an area like vegetation, geography, climatic influences and people. What this means for consumers is an ocean of possibilities to discover your favorites.

france basque wine region

From the cooperative Cave d’Irouléguy known as “Les Vignerons Pays Basque” – raspberry and blackberry with spicy freshness and faint tannins on this earthy, fruity rosé from Irouléguy in southwest France. Made from Tannat and Cabernet Sauvignon.

If you want to dig beyond the surface, here are a few to try. Thankfully in the US, importers like Coeur Wine Co., Zev Rovine Selections, and The Source Imports are making it easier to find different, lesser-known rosé by seeking them from smaller producers. Kermit Lynch too; he’s not small anymore but does have an amazing portfolio.

Wines Worth the Search

Domaine Les Serrals 2017 Pimprenelle – Faugères AOP

domaine les serrals faugeres languedoc wine

Just need to say I’m excited about these two and their wines! Chloé Barthet and Frédéric Almazur started this 5-hectare estate in the Faugères appellation of Languedoc-Roussillon 3 ½ years ago. Wine is made in the vineyard for this couple. They choose preserving the soil’s life and promoting biodiversity by farming organically (biodynamic by the 2018 harvest). A variety of natural grasses grow between vine rows throughout 80% of their vineyards. Hands do most vineyard work!

This past year essential orange oil was carefully used to dry mildew in vines. Caution is taken as it can be harmful to bees.

In the winery they’re preserving what the grapes offer, wanting to obtain a balance of terroir expression. The Grenache, Mourvedré and Cinsault grapes for the rosé go straight to the ‘horizontal pneumatic’ press then into stainless vats. Grenache clusters for their primary red wine are pressed of which 20% is drained off (saignée) and added to the stainless vat with the other Grenache, Mourvedré and Cinsault juice. They ferment using indigenous yeasts and minimal intervention. Just prior to harvest, Chloé picks grapes specifically for fermentation purposes. She stomps them, heats them to 25 celcius until fermentation starts and lets the mixture go until fermentation is well underway. She adds them to the juice mixture in vat to start fermentation. Once complete the juice is aged on lees in refrigerated stainless vats below 17 celcius for 4-months.

An elegant medium bodied blend of Grenache Noire, Mourvedré and Cinsault; rosy-peach; wild strawberry, raspberry and earthy spice; dry with pronounced acidity; rich and fresh palate of red berries, a brush of white pepper; fresh minty-menthol finish I sometimes get with Mourvedré. After the wine sat we detected a bit of salinity too. Domaine Les Serrals


Chloé and Frédéric having a happy moment at Domaine les Serrals in Faugères in the Languedoc. Photo courtesy of Les Serrals.

“What is most important is what you do with your soil.” Frederic Almazur

Clos de L’Ours L’Accent – Côtes de Provence AOP

provende rose Clos de l'Ours


This is a favorite since discovering it last year. The winery is newer; the current owners opened their doors in 2012 and farm organically. They’re located in the village of Cotignac, in the northern part of Coteaux Varois in Provence. Read about their 2016 Rosé here. The grapes are grown specifically for rosé.



Rosé de Carsin, Château Carsin – Bordeaux

Bordeaux Rosé de Carsin wine France

The latest release of Rosé de Carsin is 2017. A deep rose-pink color from Merlot, Malbec and Cabernet Franc.

Located in Cadillac Côtes de Bordeaux, Nea Bergland is doing some cool stuff at this Château! She recently started a second label – Charivari Wines. This is her traditional rosé, a delight for aperitif and sipping anytime, or with any foods – fresh and fruity. At just under €10, “cheap and cheerful” according to Nea. A blend of Merlot 43%, Malbec 37%, Cabernet Franc 20%. A subset of vines from these three vineyards are harvested specifically for rosé production. Note: They ship anywhere!

Beaujolais Rosé, Château des Pertonnieres, Beaujolais


Ghislaine Dupeuble makes red, white, and rosé in southern Beaujolais. Beaujolais rosé isn’t common and I’m not sure why because the Gamay grape imparts red fruits and tart cherries that will make any day better. I tasted this 100% Gamay last year. Here’s an article about Ghislaine’s “Elle et Beaujolais” group. Her wines are available through Kermit Lynch Wine Merchants.






The French #winophiles have a lot of rosé for you this month!

Join us on Twitter July 21st at 11 a.m. EDT for a chat using the hashtag #winophiles.

Depending on what you’re looking for there’s a rosé for everyone and every budget. Our July #winophiles host Lauren from The Swirling Dervish invites you to join us here. Below are several articles that should tempt your wine palate and persuade you to cook. Heck, you might even decide to hop on a plane to visit France and find your own favorite rosé!

Robin from Crushed Grape Chronicles shares her vision of Côtes de Provence through Rosé Filled Glasses.

Mardi from Eat Live Travel Write goes From Rosé? No Way! To # RoséAllDay.

Camilla from Culinary Adventures with Camilla shares Warm Weather Rosé and Cheese Pairings.

Michelle from Rockin’ Red Blog will be Celebrating the Provençal Lifestyle with Three Rosés.

Gwendolyn from Wine Predator gives us a two-part treat: #RoséAllDay with Grilled Cheese Gourmet for #Winophiles and It’s Summer! Time for Rosé Wine from Provence, France and Seafood Pasta.

Nicole from Somm’s Table adds Cooking to the Wine: Ultimate Provence Urban Rosé with Herbed Sous-Vide Chicken Breasts and Roasted Eggplant Sheet Pan.

Jane from Always Ravenous offers up a Summer Cheese Board with Rosé.

David from Cooking Chat says it’s Always a Good Time to Sip Provence Rosé.

Jill from L’Occasion explains Why Rosé Matters, According to French Culture.

Liz from What’s In That Bottle advises us to Live a More Rosé Life.

Martin from Enofylz Wine Blog discusses The Pleasures of Provençal Rosé #Winophiles.

Payal from Keep the Peas will share Rosé: The Original Red Wine.

Julia from JuliaConey.com talks about Rosé: Not from Provence but Just as Delicious!

Wendy from A Day in the Life on the Farm tempts us with Soupe au Pistou Paired with Rosé.

Lauren from The Swirling Dervish, shares Celebrating Our New Home with an Old Friend: Rosé from Provence”

And here on Savor the Harvest you’ll find “Obscure French Rosé to Look for Today”.


19 thoughts on “Obscure French Rosé Wines – Drink Now

  1. Wendy

    I would have never tried Rose if I didn’t belong to this group and now I can’t get enough. I’m anxious to seek out some of your suggestions.

    1. Lynn Post author

      That’s great to hear Wendy! I’ve also been exposed to many wines. Hope you’re able to find some of the rosé I mention here, truly special.

  2. Robin Bell Renken

    I love that you have pointed out the pros and cons to both direct press and saignée. Both can make good wines, depending on the winemaker. It all depends on the intent. And I love that you have featured a rosé made with both methods at once! What great care they seem to take at Domaine les Serrals . And the method of natural fermentation that she uses I just learned about from a winemaker in Oregon. Pied de Cuve , (the method of stomping, the grapes and getting a fermentation started on a small scale first) seems like a perfect way to keep a fermentation natural and to have a backup in case it gets stuck! Thank you for sharing some more obsure wines, these are the little known gems to search out!

    1. Lynn Post author

      Glad you liked my article Robin! I can tend to take nose dives when researching and learned there’s much involved when making a rosé-. I wasn’t convinced saignée produced nice rosé until I dug, contacted the winemaker if I couldn’t determine how it was made, talked to wine experts and tasted through several. Hope you’re able to find some of these, or others.

  3. Jane

    Interesting “obscure wines” that I will definitely try to find. You are so right, the Gamay grape does seem like a natural for making rosé.

    1. Lynn Post author

      Thanks Ed, glad you enjoyed it. October?!? We would love to see you both where ever you land over here!

    1. Lynn Post author

      Hope you’re able to find these, and lots more obscure rosé. Yes with raising a glass with you!

  4. Lauren Walsh

    I’m so jealous of the variety and range of wines that are available to you! Each of the ones you tasted sounds delicious, really reflecting the special place it comes from. Cheers to French rosé!

    1. Lynn Post author

      When it comes to French wine, I can order just about anything. I’m thankful to have this adventure in France. Santé!

  5. Martin Redmond

    Great post Lynn. I especially appreciate your handling of the Intention v saigneé methods of producing rosé. That’s been my experience. Much seems to depend on the producer, farming terroir, etc. love the sound of that Tannat Rosé! Had a Beaujolais rosé before that was pretty good. Cheers!

    1. Lynn Post author

      Thanks Martin. So much goes on behind the scenes from vineyard to bottle. I’ll bet you can find a Tannat based rosé when you’re in France later this year!

  6. David @ Cooking Chat

    Great info about the different ways of making rosé, and some good finds! I like the way you’ve gotten off the beaten path with these; I’m pretty sure I’ve never had a rosé form the Basque region, for instance.

    1. Lynn Post author

      Thanks David, hope you’re able to find a French Basque / Irouleguy rosé. Tannat makes for bold, slightly savory rosé sip!

  7. Michelle

    I agree with Elaine. I don’t think most people would know the difference in how the wine is made in a blind tasting. Well done.


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