The 12 Days of Christmas: two turtle doves…

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On the second day of Christmas, my true love sent to me…

…two turtle doves, and a partridge in a pear tree.

OK, I had to cheat a little more for this one. Not only did I search in more than one language, I kinda stretched even that: Chateau de Fonscolombe. (Hey, the word “colombe” appears in the name and “colombe” means “dove”, therefore it is admissible as a 2nd Day of Christmas wine. Admit it, my logic leaves you speechless).

“Château de Fonscolombe Cuvée Spéciale Rosé, 2009” (LCBO $13.95) is a Rosé from the South of France. French Rosé wines are drier than their Californian cousins and are often a good compromise when trying to please both white and red wine drinkers, or to balance out a lighter meal, such as a stir-fry or pork roast.

This wine is an AOC (Appelation Origine Controlée – sort of equivalent to Ontario’s VQA) Coteaux d’Aix en Provence and there really is an 18th Century Château de Fonscolombe. There is something so romantic about a wine associated with a real château! It may just be clever marketing but I prefer to believe it that it can be tasted in the glass.

Rosé wines from Provence are usually made by removing some of the juice from the must (pulp) early in the process of making red wines. This juice has some colour and tannins and is fermented into a Rosé. It is known as the “saignée method” which is a decidedly un-romantic word for such a beautiful product (don’t get me started on the idea of blending red and white to make a rosé!). These dry wines from the South of France are great all year round.

We opened this wine at a little Italian birthday get-together (“Not supper, Claire, just a few snacks: una merenda…nothing much…” Knowing what this really meant, dinner plans were promptly cancelled.) I thought that a Rosé would complement whatever my friends could dream up. I was not wrong: Italian cheeses, breads, home-made pizza and meatballs, salami and proscuito, olives and other “snacks” covered the table.

The wine was a pale peach colour in the glass and it sparkled prettily in the coloured lights. I had chilled the bottle a little too much but it soon warmed and opened up.

Château de Fonscolombe Cuvée Spéciale Rosé

Château de Fonscolombe Cuvée Spéciale Rosé

A blend of Grenache, Cinsault, Counoise and Syrah, it is dry with a hint of fruit in the mouth: some raspberries, some lemon and a touch of acidity to carry it through. It was a hit with everyone of legal drinking age at the party. It was a good choice for the mix of foods and I will buy it again to serve with Chinese food, a summer grilled chicken or to sip while doing house work!

Although trained as a sommelier, I pay my bills working as an IT consultant. I love what I do for a living and keep wine as my hobby. As it looks bad if you only drink, I have occasionally been known to eat as well. Growing up on four different continents, I love to cook and appreciate the cuisines of the world. But wine is my passion. With a well-stocked cellar, I am always on the hunt for new wines and love hearing from people about their latest find or interesting pairing. My approach to wine: Drink what you like. Wine reviews need not be stuffy. Numerical ratings are meaningless. If it tastes good, drink it! If you don’t like it, then it’s not the wine for you.