Château Beaulieu, 'Cuvée Alexandre' Coteaux d'Aix-en-Provence Rosé 2019
The Cuvée Alexandre is a delicious and modestly priced Provence rosé from Château Beaulieu, located in Rognes in Coteaux d'Aix- en-Provence. The estate comprises 180 hectares of vines which lie at an altitude of 400 metres, in the heart of an ancient volcanic crater. The vineyard land has been farmed in the area since Roman times, although the Château itself was built as a stronghold for the French King Henry III in 1576. Today, the estate is run by the Jeanjean family, who co-own Mas La Chevalière (in the South of France) and Domaine Laroche (Chablis) with Michel Laroche.
Coteaux d'Aix-en-Provence lies west along the Mediterranean coast from the Côtes de Provence appellation. The sunny, dry, Mediterranean climate ensures ripe, fruit-driven wines. The sea breezes moderate the hot, drying influence of the Mistral, which blows from the north; this means that the vines are not stressed, the balance is better and the wine retains freshness and aroma alongside the fruit.
2019 was an excellent vintage. A very hot and dry summer was kicked off by a heat wave in June. This meant that there was little disease pressure in the vineyards. In the growing season, the days saw high temperatures with cooler nights. Harvest started early to prevent the early-ripening varieties from over-ripening. The grapes were very healthy, with thick skins, intense colours and excellent aromatic purity.
The grapes were harvested at night, cold direct pressed and fermented at a low temperature (14°C-18°C). Fermentation takes place in the same way as a white wine (rather than using the 'saignée' method of drawing off part of a red wine early in the fermentation). This minimises the extraction of harsh phenolics, and has led to a more delicate style of rosé with a fine textured finish.
This rosé is brilliantly clear and salmon pink in colour. On the nose, it is intense with redcurrant, wild strawberry and herbal aromas that develop into juicy white peach and pear notes. On the palate, fresh acidity is balanced beautifully with the alcohol, giving an elegant mouthfeel and refreshing length.