The following post was written by Heinen’s wine expert, Ed Thompkins.
There’s something magical about the French Mediterranean. Is it the weather with constant sunshine? Or perhaps, the refreshing wines? Possibly, the incredible variety of fresh foods from the land and sea? Our answer is a definitive – YES to all!
To understand the wines of the French Mediterranean, it’s important to recognize that while the Mediterranean is a singular entity, the sea affects all parts of the lifestyle and most certainly the wines that call the region home.
The Mediterranean climate is perfect for growing grapes. There’s plenty of sunshine, chilly evenings, and “Mistral” (strong, cold, northwesterly) winds to cool the grapes and keep the pests at bay. There are many wine-growing regions along the Mediterranean that contribute their own unique flavors, personality and terroir (environment) to one of epicenters of the wine world today, and for thousands of years.
To us, the following French selections scream “summer sipping,” and while we don’t have the salty breezes of the Mediterranean, we can still enjoy a chilled glass of rosé with a refreshing lake breeze! The wines below are undoubtedly dynamic partners for a wide variety of foods, but they are just as magnificent on their own. Let’s explore!
There’s no other wine region in the world that identifies as closely with Rosé as Provence. The ancient Greeks recognized the region as an ideal place to produce wine and today, the name “Provence” conjures images of sun, fun and chilled rosé. A textbook example of Provence rosé is Rosé d’Madeleine, which features the classic red grape varietals of the region (Grenache, Syrah and Cinsault) with a splash of Merlot.
This is a “big” rosé that delivers plenty of red fruit aromas and flavors with a surprisingly zesty finish.
- Perfect Pairing: Life in Provence Brie. As the name implies, this savory and creamy cheese fits the lifestyle in Provence perfectly. The wine’s crisp finish is the perfect foil to the richness of the cheese!
Rugged and mountainous, the Corbieres landscape, located in the Languedoc region of France, is the ideal environment for Syrah, Grenache and Mourvedre grapes to flourish, which results in wines that are uncommonly robust. Chateau Fontjoncouse is a firm, lingering wine that balances juicy cherry flavors with spicy oak notes. There’s a lot to like in this unique find.
- Perfect Pairing: Sundried Tomato Chicken & Broccoli Rice Bowls. The savory notes of the sundried tomatoes enhance the pronounced cherry character in the wine for a delicious balance of flavors.
Le Campuget Blanc
The wines from Le Campuget are produced in Costieres de Nimes, which sits near the Rhone Valley. That proximity to the Rhone means that the classic white and red grapes of the Rhone region take center stage. This ultra-refreshing white combines Grenache Blanc and Viognier to create a stupendous summer-sipper. Inviting aromas and flavors of white peach and grapefruit lead to a vibrant and mouthwatering finish.
- Perfect Pairing: Petite Camembert au Calvados. This unique soft-ripened cheese is rubbed with Calvados brandy during the aging process, which creates a profound experience of aroma and flavor. Its buttery texture is perfectly complimented by the wine’s acidity.
Le Campuget Rosé
Crack the top, pour a shimmering glass and taste sunshine! This vibrant and juicy rosé is composed of Grenache and Syrah and delivers unprecedented refreshment on a warm day. It features notes of wild strawberry and nectarine that beg for another sip.
- Perfect Pairing: Whole30 and Paelo Sundried Tomato Chicken Burgers. Many believe that rosé is made for sipping only. While rosé wines are delicious served solo, this tasty pairing will show you that rosé can indeed be a versatile partner with a wide variety of foods.