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.