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I've enjoyed wine as a lifestyle all of my adult life, and I fondly recall my first introduction to serious pink wine. If you're in my age group or older, you'll remember years back that your typical Rosé was sweet, insipid, and most likely from Portugal. That all changed for me when I discovered dry Rosé from France -- specifically, Tavel.
Tavel is a village, an appellation, and also the name of the wine produced in the region. You'll find Tavel's appellation in the southern part of the Rhône Valley, on the right bank of the Rhône River, just across the river from Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
Notably, Tavel is the only appellation in France that produces Rosé exclusively -- quite unusual since it's surrounded almost entirely by regions that produce full-bodied, rich red wines from the classic GSM (Grenache-Syrah-Mourvedre) blend.
What's so special about Tavel? When you pour a glass of Tavel, you're guaranteed to be enjoying a top-quality Rosé. Since the AOC only produces Rosé, you can bet they take it very seriously. Tavel is also one of the few Rosés that is equally enjoyable on release and after time in the cellar -- a year or two of bottle age on a Tavel yields a softer rounder Rosé.
Guillaume's 2019 "La Nymphe" Tavel is a blend of 70% Grenache, 20% Syrah, and 10% Cinsault, sourced from 25-year-old north-facing vines on sandy limestone soil. As with all of Guillaume's wines, his Tavel production is entirely organic in both the vineyard and winery. It's quality from start to finish, including hand-harvesting, careful hand sorting, and using only natural yeast.
In the glass, it's classic Tavel. I love the balance of fruit, minerals, acidity, and earthy notes in this wine. The textured nose offers red berries and herbs, leading to cherry, strawberry, peach, and nectarine on the palate. The classic briary, herbal notes gently mingle through the middle palate and on through to the pleasingly dry and refreshing finish.
Enjoy this outstanding Tavel with all of your favorite Rosé pairings, including Paella, Parma Ham, Cajun, Creole, and a favorite Tavel paring for Hammond and me: shrimp and grits. It will also shine with grilled white meats and grilled tuna or salmon.
In previous years, this wine sold out in Europe before I could even place an order. This year, I was able get a small resupply after selling out in the summer, so don't hesitate to place your order. As we all know, the "Bird" wines don't hang around the shop very long!