2022 Domaine du Dragon GRANDE CUVÉE Rosé, Côtes de Provence AOP, France (750ml)

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High up in the hills of southern France, above the Côte d’Azur and the crowds at Cannes, you’ll find the cool, terraced vineyards of Domaine du Dragon. While much of Provence is a patchwork of different terroirs; this corner near the town of Draguignan is unique in that it is almost exclusively limestone—part of the Triassac plateau of the Haut Pays—an unusually mineral terroir for the region, more commonly found in places like Burgundy. Here the cooling winds whip through the forested valleys to moderate the southern sun, so the grapes are not only perfectly ripe but also beautifully balanced. This symbiosis of soil and sun results in uniquely flavorful, elegant wines.

The Château du Dragon takes its name from the legend, recounted by Jean de Nostradamus, of a monster in the forest of Ampus that was slain by Saint Hermentaire. The two original buildings no longer exist, but the partially preserved ramparts and the remains of a watchtower, its walls scarred with ancient arrow holes, look out over the lush Nartuby Valley. According to official and religious documents, the castle has a long and interesting history that dates back to 1340, when it belonged to Aubert Vaquet. The property was uninhabited during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries before being bought by Baltasar de Harness, Sieur d’Auroules and Châteaudouble, the first consul of Draguignan, in 1700. The château was occupied from then until the early twentieth century. Domaine du Dragon, as we now know it, was founded in 1990 by winemaker Aurelien Fournier.

Throughout the 1990s the cellars were modernized and many of Domaine du Dragon’s terraced vineyards were replanted to improve clonal selection, vine density and the mix of grape varieties. Today, the vineyards are cared for sustainably and follow organic practices as much as possible.

This Rosé is a blend of 40% Cinsault, 32% Grenache, 13% Syrah, 13% Mourvèdre and 2% Cabernet Sauvignon, from 25-year-old vines. The grapes were hand-harvested and immediately pressed (rosé de pressurage) and fermented on indigenous yeasts in temperature-controlled, stainless-steel tanks, then aged in tank for several additional months before being bottled.

Bright copper hue. Fragrant, with heady, floral aromatics. The palate is very fresh and fruit-forward, with flavors of ripe strawberry, guava and a hint of sweet herbs. Bright and juicy, this charming wine is perfectly suited for sunny, spring afternoon with friends or a quiet summer dinner al fresco.

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