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International Trophy Rosé under £15 – Château Salettes, Bandol, Provence, France 2014

Warm, humming and perfumed summer-day aromas showing the combined sweetness of Cinsault and Grenache. Vivid, elegant, lively, spicy palate which holds a big armful of soft red fruits, hints of earth and a touch of orange zest, all delivering a gratifying but forceful finish (13.5%).

Stockist: UK – £13.95 The Wine Society, US – $19.98 Wine Exchange*

One of the most venerable estates in Provence’s Bandol appellation, Château Salettes produces a benchmark rosé, given extra depth and character by the estate’s sun-kissed Mourvèdre vines.

With only two wines vying for this International Trophy, the judges had to choose between stylistically opposite ends of the rosé spectrum. This pale, precise and floral example won the day over a richer bottling from northern Greece.

Built in the 17th century and still owned by the Ricard-Boyer family, Château Salettes sits between Toulon and Marseilles, close to the village of La Cadière d’Azur. The sloping vineyard has a great sea view of the nearby Mediterranean, while the vines soak up the sunshine – Bandol gets roughly 3,000 hours of sun a year, according to joint manager Alexandre Le Corguillé.

This rosé blends Mourvèdre – the variety takes up roughly half of the château’s vineyards – with Cinsault and Grenache, adding an extra dimension to the trademark delicacy and food-friendly qualities of Provençal rosés.

Le Corguillé, a graduate of Montpellier winemaking school, has also worked in Marlborough in New Zealand and at Château La Gordonne in nearby Pierrefeu-du-Var. Since arriving at Salettes in 2011, he has tried to evolve the style of the wines and started working the vineyards using organic and biodynamic methods, as well as using indigenous yeasts in the winemaking. Salettes is beginning its organic certification this year.

photo alexAlexandre Le Corguillé, winemaker

Tasted against

Biblia Chora, Pangeon, Macedonia, Greece 2014.

photo-18The 17th-century Château Salettes in Bandol

*US stockist information from Wine-Searcher.com

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