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A Rose of Provence

Ros? wines are among the chief joys of summer and the 2009 Domaine Houchart C?tes de Provence Ros? is the perfect summer quaff

Summer is finally here, so it is time to talk of that quintessential wine of summer, ros?. No ros? better captures the spirit of the season than the sun-blushed ros?s of Provence. 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 caf? 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 C?tes de Provence Ros? 2009 ($13) is just what I look for because it displays both characteristics with ?lan. It's a superb example of a Proven?al ros?: delicate, soft, and subtle, quite dry, but with enough ripe fruit flavors??trawberries, of course, the calling card of this sort of wine??o ensure its quaffability, another essential requirement of ros??. This alone describes many ros??s, most of them 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 ros??, and what the Houchart decidedly delivers, is a distinctive flinty minerality that provides depth and complexity??ot an insignificant achievement in a wine at this price??nd that incidentally makes it far more interesting with food. Speaking of food back at the beachfront caf??: Please pass that plate of delicious black olives??nd the crusty baguette. When to Drink: Now Breathing/Decanting: Not necessary Food Pairing: Meaty fish, salads, cold meat, pasta, pizza Grapes: Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon Appellation: C??tes de Provence Region: Provence Country: France Price: $13 Availability: Good Web Site:

Nick Passmore is an independent wine writer and consultant based in New York. For five years he contributed a widely read monthly wine column to, in addition to which his work has appeared in such publications as Forbes, Discover, Town Country, the Robb Report, the Wine Enthusiast, Saveur, Sky, and Golf Connoisseur. He is currently Artisanal Editor for Four Seasons magazine and contributes the Nick Passmore: Wine of the Week column to He is also a judge at the widely respected annual Critics' Challenge wine competition.

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