This ruby-colored southern Rhône Valley rosé is from Tavel, the only appellation devoted exclusively to rosé production. Deep and complex, it could be treated like a red and described similarly: black cherry, tart cranberry, woodsy spice. But the texture of La Combe Des Rieu is distinctly more delicate and thirst-quenching in a way that a red (with more tannin) could never imitate. Crushed strawberry and wet stone on the palate––I love to pair it with extra-dry saucisson and creamy cheeses, or, for the main course, try it with pork tenderloin on a bed of warm polenta.
Gaël Petit’s family history is deeply intertwined with that of Tavel. Records show his ancestors inhabited the quaint, sunny Provençal village across the Rhône from Châteauneuf-du-Pape as far back as the 16th century, practicing viticulture for generations leading up to present day. His great-grandfather, a former mayor of Tavel and head of the local vigneron union, even played an important role in the foundation of the Tavel AOC, having outlined the production area eligible for France’s first rosé to receive appellation status in 1936.
The southern Rhône valley is Grenache country. It’s also known for its stones. With a viticulture history dating back well before the Popes arrived in the 12th century and one of France’s oldest appellations d'origine contrôlée, Châteauneuf-du-Pâpe, the southern Rhône is unquestionably one of France’s best known and premier winegrowing regions. The wines have the pedigree and age-worthiness of Burgundy and Bordeaux, but with a rustic, Mediterranean character. Like most wines from southern France, the reds, whites, and rosés are blends. Filling out the Grenache for the reds and rosés, you’ll often find Syrah, Carignan, Mourvèdre, and Cinsault. The common white grape varieties are Grenache Blanc, Clairette, Bourboulenc, Viognier, Roussane, and Marsanne among others. From the alluvial riverbed stones found in Lirac, Tavel, and Châteauneuf to the limestone cliffs of the Dentelles de Montmirail that influence Beaumes-de-Venise (where you’ll find excellent Muscat), Vacqueyras, and Gigondas, great terroir abounds.
Kermit’s entrance in the region came in the mid 1970s on his first trip with Richard Olney, an American ex-pat and friend of Alice Waters. On that trip, Richard introduced Kermit to the Brunier family of Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe. Soon after, Kermit began importing the Brunier’s wines—their Châteauneuf-du-Pape “La Crau” bottling remains a staple of our portfolio today. In the late 1990s Kermit teamed up with the Brunier family to purchase the famed Gigondas estate, Domaine Les Pallières. More than 40 years later, we now import wines from fifteen southern Rhône domaines spanning the entire area of the region.
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