First let me start with a fact that the local wine merchant where I found this does not mention. The 2019 La Grand’ Vigne Rosé Coteaux Varois was a Gold Medal winner at the 2020 Concours Général Agricole Paris, a well known French wine competition. At a price tag of under $15 a bottle, that ought to get our attention. I’m shocked our local wine shop doesn’t make note of it.
Ah, but more bottles for us.
This is a good time to mention the differences in wine awards. It is important to understand that not all wine awards are worth the same. Knowing what to pay attention to and what is just marketing fluff is important.
Unfortunately, some California vineyards make titles up for marketing (sorry, but true). They hold their own “contests” between two or three vineyards and everyone is sure to win something. Or sometimes they hire their own in-house wine expert to rate their wines, mostly to make sure at least a bottle of two of that year’s wine harvest have a numbered rating.
But the French are a lot more finicky about wine awards and ratings. Their contests are independently juried and are coldly real. If a wine wins a Gold Medal in France, it is legit. It’s a matter of French honor.
But all of that aside. This wine is a perfect example of why the Provence area is legendary worldwide for their fine Rosé wines.
The 2019 La Grand’ Vigne Rosé is a blend that is 40% Grenache, 30% Cinsault, 20% Syrah, and 10% of the coveted Mourvédre grape — which probably is why it has such a complex taste for a Provence Rosé.
But speaking of complexity. Let’s get to the flavor.
You can see it is a lovely peachy pink with a great deal of visual vibrancy. Color is the first hint of taste to come.
In France, wine is basically described in two parts. First, they note what they refer to the nez, which is roughly translated to the “nose” or the “fragrance” of a wine. And then second, they note what they call the bouche, or in English what we would call the “mouth” of the wine.
It is important to understand we are not simply talking about smell and taste. The two blend. Aroma is part of the taste. And taste is inherently part of the aroma.
Think of it this way. Would your morning cup of coffee taste nearly as wonderful if you could not smell it? And what about the cream alone? Liquid cream and whipped cream are exactly the same thing. But the mouth is very different between them. Our taste is not a simple on/off switch. Taste is a series of sensorial steps that add up to wonderful.
Wine can be a remarkable teacher of how taste works. Understanding the nez and the bouche is the best place to start.
The nez of this exceptional Rosé is floral, predominately rose, quickly transiting to white pepper and spice.
Get in the habit of taking your time with smelling before the first sip. Not just once. Take a whiff, swirl the wine to bring air into it, smell it again. Notice how the aroma changes with the air. Enjoy the fragrance, the nez. And see what aromas come up in your imagination when you take a whiff. Do you discern the floral? The rose? The spice? How about the white pepper? Others?
One of the great beauties of wine is that each of us humans have a slightly different nez. Where one detects rose, another may sense only floral or gardenia. Where one smells spice, another may specify white pepper. Neither is wrong. The aromas of these are very similar. But that is part of the joy of the nez.
Then we come to the bouche, the mouth of the wine.
The bouche of the 2019 La Grand’ Vigne Rosé starts with pitted peach followed by the barest touch of unpeeled lime, then mellowing into fig. Other tasters have described it as strawberry and cherry, quickly transiting to citrus peel and fig leaf. Whatever tastes are verbalized, this is not remotely a sweet wine even though the sweetness of delicate red fruit is present. But, unlike some of the Spanish or California Rosé wines, there is little acidity. The taste is soft, not sharp. And the finish is predominately rose, with an overly of mineral that tones it down to a very smooth ending on the tongue.
This wine is delicate, but full of flavor. Not sweet, but definitely not acidic. It is a truly lovely sip that makes an excellent apéritif. It marries exceptionally well with goat cheese or Gruyere or pretty much any type of what the French call entrées froider — or what in English we would call “cold starters.” But it also is a fine companion for fish or shellfish dishes. And it would be divine with escargot.
This La Grand’ Vigne Rosé also would pair exceptionally well with ceviche, fish terrine, tabbouleh with tomatoes, Asian food, barbecue, or almost anything with a significant dose of heat.
I would suggest that if you live in a hot climate, you chill this well and serve it in a long-stemmed glass and hold the stem closer to the base than to the bowl as you sip it. You definitely do not want your hand touching the bowl. You don’t want your body temperature to heat the wine as you drink it. But for heaven’s sake, do NOT add ice into your wine glass. That’s for Boone’s Farm, not for fine wine.
Instead, pour small portions into your glass and keep an ice bucket handy so the bottle stays iced. Opt to replenish your wine glass often instead of allowing the wine to heat in the ambient temperature before you drink it.
In France, a bottle of La Grand’ Vigne Rosé Coteaux Varois sells for 7,60€ — or roughly, as of the day of this post, $8.58. The best price we could find on it here in our local market is $12.59, and that is with a 6-bottle discount. Most of that cost is transportation cost.
All in all, we see why this wine is a Gold Medal winner. It is a lovely, light, and refreshing drink with enough complexity to hold up to a fairly wide range of dishes.
The 2019 La Grand’ Vigne Rosé Coteaux Varois is everything Provence wines are cracked up to be. And it certainly shows why they are so appreciated across the wine world.
Taste per dollar, this is a great buy that will not disappoint.
If you can’t find this award-winning 2019 La Grand’ Vigne Rosé Coteaux Varois at your local wine merchant, it is available for online order at Total Wine HERE.
This wonderful French Gruyere de Compte is available on Amazon and would pair with the La Grand’ Vigne Rosé brilliantly. Do try to get a French Gruyere rather than a Swiss Gruyere for this wine. You will find the tastes of the two are very different.
Another excellent pairing with this particular Rosé is Herbed Chevre (Goat Cheese) from Montchevre, also available on Amazon. Both of these are authentic premium French cheeses that are often difficult or impossible to find in local markets in the U.S.
So Frenchly is an Amazon Affiliate. We make a (very small) commission if you purchase something on Amazon by branching to it from our website. The purchase costs you absolutely nothing extra to do so. We are not in any manner affiliated with Total Wine.