The 2018 vintage marks the fortieth year we’ve imported this rosé, which makes it something of an O.G. in the vastly expanding world of rosé. While new, fresh, and funky rosés arrive on the scene annually, this classic remains one of our most popular. Not much has changed over time: not the old label (one of the greatest old-school labels still in circulation, in my opinion), nor the dark color, nor the resolutely retro dry strawberry and watermelon tang to the juice. I’ll let you in on a couple secrets: 1) given our history and track record with this wine, nearly all of the production comes to us; and 2) the little that remains at the domaine is often bottle-aged for one year and released late for local sales to allow all the complexities within to reveal themselves with time. Don’t be in a rush to drink this down.
Besides having one of the best names in the wine business, Cyriaque Rozier has one of the best jobs. He runs the historic estate of La Roque with carte blanche. The domaine is his oyster, if you will. While he long ago certified the estate as biodynamic, brought in the horses for working the vines, and banished all additives from the cellars, he now gets to focus and experiment on the details. This rosé, for instance—so pale you need to hold it up to a light and squint to see that slight flicker of rosé hue—blurs the line between rosé and blanc. It seems like a peek at a fifth dimension, a middle ground between light and shadow (cue Twilight Zone music). The look and the aromas say blanc, and yet the suave, velvet pillow feel says rosé. I say, “Yes, please!”
The Arena family also knows the benefits of giving rosé time. They make one tiny little tank, and only in the rare vintages they feel like making a rosé, which is typically when they’ve finished drinking their previous tank. Their wild-fermented rosé often takes a whole year to go dry, so they’re not in a hurry anyhow (Corsicans never rush for anything). Treat this as you would a very light rouge: a slight chill, and at the table with a full-on meal. Enjoy the fruit, the funk, the herbs, the honey, and the soul.
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