Rolle (Vermentino) 2018 Cibonne ‘Tentations’ Provence, France
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Brilliant, crisp white wine from one of the legends of Provence.
Sebastian Crowther, Master Sommelier
Vermentino is a Mediterranean grape that has many names depending on where you are. It’s found commonly in Tuscany, the island of Sardinia and Corsica and scattered through the vineyards of Southern France. Here it is called Rolle.
Situated to the east of the Rhône basin on the sun soaked Mediterranean coast, Provence is the birthplace of French wine.
There are numerous appellations scattered throughout this region, but none more significant than the Côte de Provence AOP, under which three-quarters of Provençal wine is bottled. While white and red wines are made, rosé accounts for 75% of production.
Côtes de Provence AOP is the only French appellation outside of Bordeaux to publish a ranking of grand cru classé estates. Originally, in 1955, 23 estates were classified (today just 18 remain). Clos Cibonne is the most southern of all the grand cru classé estates, located equidistance between Marseille and Saint Tropez. The history of the estate dates back to 1797 when the Roux Family purchased it from Jean Baptiste de Cibon, captain of the royal marines of Louis XVI. In 1930, André Roux modernised the winery in order to pursue his goal of producing top quality wines at the estate. This revival ignited an era of fame for the rosés of Clos Cibonne.
In the 1980s, hard times fell upon the estate and it drifted without clear direction until Bridget, André Roux’s granddaughter, and her husband, Claude Deforge, took it over in the late 1990s. Their immediate goal was to bring the estate back to its former grandeur. They renovated the cellars whilst still preserving the tradition of aging in old foudres, the family began to re-establish the vaunted reputation of the domaine. Thanks to their efforts Clos Cibonne once again lives up to its standing as one of the 18 Cru Classés in Côtes de Provence.
The wine, Tentations, selected for you today is a negotiate wine from the estate, meaning that the fruit is purchased from their neighbours. All the vinification is done at the Cibonne winery and through the growing season, Olivier (now 5th generation winemaker) works closely with these growers to ensure the fruit is to their standards.
Super bright and attractive aromas. Lifted honeyed pear with a honeysuckle floral character. This is an unwooded white wine that delivers freshness and drinkability. More stone fruit coming forward on the palate, peach and a slight dried apricot. Effervescent finish.
The fresh, crisp nature of this wine demands something from the sea. I’ve found a super tasty Vongole dish that would be perfect. Serve nice and cold from the fridge with some crusty bread.