Wine Wednesday: Tavel
This week’s Wine Wednesday, Rhône 101 lesson comes in honor of a special announcement from the girl & the fig. We are excited to announce that this week will mark the release of our 2018 old vine rosé! A blend of 60% Carignane and 40% Grenache, this elegant rosé has aromas of ripe stone fruit, wild strawberries, Provencal melons, a light to medium body, balanced acidity, and vibrant fruit on the palate. Click here to learn more, and order yours!
In honor of this pink-hued week, we are going to delve into Rhône’s very own rosé region of Tavel. To be called a Tavel wine, the wine must be a rosé, as Tavel is the only appellation to make solely rosé.
Tavel is a wine growing AOC located in the southern Rhône, just a hop across the river from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, and a northern neighbor to Avignon.
Cultivation of grape growing vines has been going on in Tavel since 500 BC, having been planted by the Greeks and expanded by the Romans. The region was located on a major communication route of the time, and artifacts from this period have been found in the village that would later become Tavel. By the 13th century, King Philip IV declared Tavel as his favorite wine,and later on in the 14th century, Tavel began to become the wine of the Popes, who resided in nearby Avignon. In the 17th century, King Louis XIV declared his love for the wines of the region, thus sealing Tavel’s title at the time as “Rosé of the Kings, King of the Rosés.” The vines of Tavel were unfortunately affected by the phylloxera epidemic of the 1870’s, changing the grape growing trajectory of the region. Decades later, Tavel achieved AOC status, replanted and rebuilt, and today are again producing beautiful wines, garnering multiple awards and accolades.
There are many grape varieties authorized to produce in Tavel, however, by law, no individual variety may exceed 60% of a vineyard. The most widely planted grape is Grenache, and is thus the base of most Tavel wine. Cinsault, Syrah, Mourvedre and Carignan are other main varieties used in the rosé blends. The dry, hot Mediterranean climate of the area supports long ripening, which allows for depth of flavor to develop in the grapes, and extended skin contact during fermentation achieves the deep pink color and higher tannins that characterize Tavel wines. Tavel rosés are dry, have more body and structure than your average rosé, and have potential to be aged.
Whether it be a deep hued Tavel or a chilled glass of the girl & the fig rosé, as the weather gets warmer, a lot of us start to think pink. Hey, I’ll raise a glass or shine. So cheers, to rosé-ing the day away. Happy Wine Wednesday!