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"Pure joy" is how one taster described the 1997 Canto Perdrix Tavel, while "fun, fresh and friendly", were the accolades of another aficionado, but these pretty words don’t quite tell us what the Canto Perdrix is like. Yet, this is one of the special attributes of a fine Tavel rose, the Canto Perdrix in particular; there is a certain ethereal quality about Tavel that nearly eludes definition....but not description. Strawberry tones pervade the pure, clean bouquet that conjures scents of spring fruits. A melange of berry, tangerine, and citrus flavors explode in the mouth when the wine is not overly chilled. Unlike lesser, sweeter rose wines, the Canto Perdrix is better after a few minutes in the glass, when time relieves the icy numbness of the refrigerator and expands the mild palate of the wine, accentuating the fine, bone-dry finish. Like sunshine in a glass, this deeply hued rose reminds us of the setting sun in Provence–a simple pleasure and a complement to whatever else you are doing.
Tavel makes for a wonderful picnic wine or hot-summer-day wine. It’s a perfect match for grilled vegetables and fish, or spicy food. Mild cheeses, light appetizers, pates, dips and seafood entrees all pair very well with this dry rose. Also consider a grilled salmon or tuna served in a spicy fruit or vegetable salsa.
Canto Perdrix - Tavel Meaning "Song of the Partridge" in Provencal, Domaine Canto Perdrix has captured the fancy of many a wine critic over the years. Today, wine writers continue to sing the wine’s praises, referring to the Canto Perdrix Tavel as "one of the very best Tavel of the appellation", and "a fresh, serious rose that is both austere and flavorful." Make no mistake about it, Andre Mejan, proprietor of Canto Perdrix, produces one of France’s most compelling rose wines, a wine that has nothing in common with the sweet, insipid examples of rose commonly referred to as "blush" wine. Andre Mejan cultivates sixty-seven acres of vines in from various plots, representing all three of the classic terroirs, or soils in Tavel. For elegance, flavor and bouquet, Mejan makes use of the sandy soil in vineyards to the east of Tavel. From the north, Mejan draws strength and fullness out of a very rocky site with clay subsoils, while finesse and freshness spring from a limestone rich vineyard in the west of the appellation. As if the formidable use of ideal "terroirs" is not enough to assure quality in his wine, Mejan uses up to eight different grape varieties in Canto Perdrix, including a cepage of 80% Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault and Mourvedre from black grapes and the balance from Picpoul, Clairette and Bourboulenc from white grapes. By utilizing most of the traditional varieties of Tavel, Andre Mejan gains complexity and balance–the trademark of the finest Tavel rose.
Tavel: France’s Most Famous and Expensive Rose Located just 8 miles west of Chateauneuf-du-Pape, the village of Tavel has been said to exist "for the sole purpose of producing wine"–a function it has performed well for centuries. Known as the "premier rose of France", the 2300 acre appellation of Tavel produces only dry rose wine, a wine that has been championed over the years by such notables as Louis XIV and the renowned, French gourmand, Brillat-Savarin, as well as a coterie of writers, poets and connoisseurs. In Tavel, the producers have lighted upon the virtue of a fresh, austere, full-bodied rose wine with the scent of apricot, peach, strawberry and "herbe de provence". With the use of both red and white grapes in Tavel, one would think that Tavel were a blend of both red and white wine, but it is not. Typically, Tavel is made by allowing the cepage, or blend of grapes to macerate in stainless steel tanks from 24 to 72 hours to gather color and flavor from the skins of the grapes. The free run juice that results from this vatting time is then removed. The solid mass of grapes called "marc", that remains is subsequently pressed. The light, delicate free run juice is later combined with a percentage of the darker, drier, fuller-flavored press wine. The result is a strong wine, often 13 or 14 percent alcohol that seems to capture the mystique of Provence–light color and aromatic scents wrought by the sun. Although most tasters seem to agree on the quality and character of the best Tavel wines, when to drink this legendary potion has not drawn the same consensus. While many argue that Tavel must be consumed in its youth, at no more than three years of age, when the bloom of floral scents and fresh fruit gush from the glass, others insist upon aging Tavel; they prefer the nutty, meatier side of Tavel that displays the wine’s alcohol and punch. Whatever your preference, Tavel is the ideal accompaniment to the food and climate of Provence.
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