Kosher Wines

The Other Side of the Cork: Château Roubine and the Kingdom of Rosé

Yael E. Geller August 21, 2023

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Sponsored by Chateau Roubine

As we are basking in the hot summer sun for another few weeks, one of the best ways to refresh is enjoying a glass of cold rosé wine. Rosé wines are characterized by their color, ranging from pale salmon pink to a bright fuschia. They are arguably the epitome of summer wines. While rosé gained popularity in the non-kosher wine world as early as the 1980s, the kosher market became a hotbed of rosé options in the mid to early 2010s. The most recent vintage year, 2020, has afforded the kosher wine market with over 100 rosés!

A few styles of rosé wines grace the kosher market. The most sophisticated is arguably the Provençal style originating from the region of Provence in the south of France. Provence rosés are easily identified as pale pink wines that are dry, with loads of mineral flavors (think licking a wet rock from your garden – at your own risk) with a hint of very delicate, tart fruit. Most Provence rosés are blends, with at least 10% of the wine composed of at least a second grape variety. Some varieties used in smaller quantities in the wine have stronger personalities than others, which may have a more significant impact on the flavor profile than the others.

I am not one for trendy wines. Although I would rarely decline a glass of sparkling or dessert wine, rosé is not one of my favorite categories of wines. However, there are a few exceptions to the rule, and the rosés from Château Roubine do not disappoint. I greatly appreciate a nice cold glass of wine on a hot day, at the beach, or a backyard BBQ with friends.

Château Roubine is arguably one of the best rosé-producing wineries in the region of Provence. It is one of only 18 estates in Provence with the Cru Classé moniker, a mark of top quality acquired and maintained since 1955. It is located between the lower Rhône Valley’s left bank to the Italian border on the east.

Provence has an excellent climate for grapes with a nice amount of sun and a decent amount of rain with mild temperatures. The soil is composed mainly of granite with a nice sprinkling of limestone, which adds to the mineral characteristics we love to taste in Provençal-style rosé. The largest appellation and wine-growing in Provence is called Côtes de Provence. Roughly 89% of the wine production in this area is rosé. The most interesting thing about this area is how the climate varies, affecting the outcome of the harvest season and the timing of the harvest. In some years, the harvest in one part of this area can begin almost two months after the harvest in another corner of the region.

Château Roubine made its debut on the kosher market in 2015 with the Château Roubine Cru Classé Rosé. It is crucial to drink Rosé fresh. Meaning in 2023, you will want to drink Rosé almost exclusively from the previous harvest year 2022 – as these wines are not intended to be cellared or stored past vintage. In 2023, we are incredibly spoiled with not just one rosé from this Château, but six offerings ranging from $20 to $60.

The current offerings are the Château Roubine ($30), Roubine La Vie en Rosé (~$25), R de Roubine (~$20), Château Roubine Lion & Dragon Cru Classé (~$40), Château Roubine Inspire Cru Classé (~$60), and my favorite for this year from Roubine’s sister winery – the Sainte-Béatrice Cuvée B (~$20). We have already sampled the Cru Classé, La Vie en Rose (which has probably the most attractive packaging with roses covering the entire bottom of the bottle), R de Roubine, and the Sainte-Béatrice Cuvée B.

If you feel like indulging, a tasting of the top-of-the-line Lion & Dragon Cru Classé and Inspire Cru Classé is a special treat. It is safe to say today that this year the wines of Château Roubine did not disappoint! L’chaim!

Yael Geller is a longtime wine enthusiast known for her bluntly honest opinions and advice about kosher wine. She can be reached for comments and recommendations at [email protected]