The sun has been relentless this summer. The 100 degree days started early and stayed and stayed for an old school 'Baked Dallas Summer' before finally breaking a couple of days ago. Maybe that's why the shipment of Provencal rose wines sold out so fast. They came in late and flew out of the stores. Light, crisp and dry with sometimes delicate, sometimes not-so-delicate hints of strawberries, raspberries and cherries, they provide a delicious foil to the oppressive heat.
And the wines come from all over. France, Spain, California, South Africa and Australia. Some friends were in the store yesterday looking for a rose from Oregon they bought from my son during their stay in Santa Fe. (I hate it when he sells my customers wines I can't get!!!) I sold them some bottles from the last case of one of my favorites, the wine from Mas Carlot in the Costieres de Nimes (ironic, because Noel is French!)
But the real jewel was the last rose to come into the store. It's from Chateau Haut-Bailly and it is special in a couple of ways. First and foremost, the wine is delicious, but delicious in a totally different way from the simpler wines from the south. The fruit notes are the same, but instead of smelling like fresh berries, the subtle flavor is the perfume of berries. The wine seems crisp but the acids run below and support the rich lingering creaminess of the perfumed fruits. Fresh, but perfumed. Crisp, but creamy. I'm smiling as I sit and remember the wine.
But the wine should be good. It's from a highly regarded Bordeaux estate from Pessac-Leognan and it's the first opportunity to taste wine from the spectacular 2009 vintage. The rose is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon bled from tanks of juice destined for the estates first label wine, Chateau Haut-Bailly, which Robert Parker rated 96-98 points and suggested that it may be "the greatest Haut-Bailly ever made."
A rare treat indeed.