The past decade has seen rosé become a symbol of summer drinking and dining. It sits alongside Champagne in people’s consciousness – bubbles for celebration, rosé for less formal alfresco and BBQ occasions, pool-side if you’re lucky. While Champagne is the nexus of the sparkling wine category, Provence rosé occupies the same status in the rosé category.
Overall exports of Provence rose have increased 64% compared to five years ago (CIVP 2022) and UK imports rose 50% in just one year between 2019 and 2020.
The growth in the past decade is not the result of a campaign backed by vast marketing dollars. It’s been driven by consumers asking for Provence rosé, particularly in the more sophisticated parts of the world in the summer months. There’s apparently a direct link between Provence rosé sales and the popularity of coastal hotspots around the Western World, particularly out of restaurants and bars where the chattering classes insist on Provence rosé ahead of rosé from any other part of the wine-growing world.
At a small gathering on the roof terrace bar of Louie in London’s theatreland we are being given these thoughts by Francois Matton, whose family have been running Minuty in Saint-Tropez since 1936. Francois is over in Britain to launch the 2021 vintage of Minuty. This is the time of the year when Matton gets to travel extensively across Europe. It’s the start of the rosé season when the spirit of the French Riviera is evoked across the continent, and the UK is one of their key markets.
Situated in the beautiful Provençal village of Gassin, Château Minuty has been in the Matton-Farnet family for over eighty years, making it one of the oldest rosé estates in Provence and now spanning four generations. Boasting 160 hectares of vineyards that look down towards the bay of St Tropez, Château Minuty is one of the few estates to be certified ‘Cru Classé’ in the Côtes de Provence appellation.
Sustainable farming practices and advances in both the vineyard and the winery have meant continually improving wines. The key grapes are Grenache, Cinsault and Tibouren. The latter gives a delicious herbal dryness to the more rounded white peach flavours of the Grenache and the red fruit and spiciness of the Cinsault! They now produce around 7 million bottles each vintage and sell in 120 countries across the world. In the cellar they are at pains to avoid skin contact so that the wines remain delicate and uber fresh. Generally it is recommended that these wines be drunk in the year that they are released to enjoy them at their best.
Minuty Prestige, Rosé 2021, Côtes de Provence
With its delicate pink colour and fresh, lemon-kissed nose, restrained in style with hints of red berries and rose petal, this elegant rosé offers a clean, slightly herbaceous palate with loads of steely minerality. This is an ultra fresh, bone dry wine (a classic feature of the Tibouren grape), whose red berry fruit shows nicely when paired with spicy food. The grapes come from a mix of the estate’s own vineyards, alongside those from other vineyards across the Côtes de Provence.
Where to buy: The Secret Bottle Shop
Château Minuty Rosé Et Or, Côtes de Provence Rosé
Made from grapes from the estate’s oldest coastal vineyards, this wine is refreshing and light, with hints of nectarine and jasmine on the nose leading into a fruit-forward thwack of pink grapefruit and stone fruit on the palate. Its creamy complexity makes if delicious with seafood or white fish.
Where to buy: The Secret Bottle Shop
Château Minuty 281, Côtes de Provence Rosé
In its distinctive bottle that takes inspiration from the pantone colour 281 reflecting the colour of the sea in Provence after a storm, this beautifully balanced wine shows off vibrant notes of stone fruits and blossom on the nose which are perfectly complemented by a crisp and refreshing palate of white peach and melon and an attractive iodine core. Soft and silky in texture, with good fruit intensity and lovely length, 281 is extremely food-friendly, with Mediterranean classics and Asian spices. The grapes, which are all harvested by hand, come from a clonal selection of the estate’s finest Grenache vines that date back to 1938.
Where to buy: North and South Wines