Thursday, January 14, 2016

Beatrice's Blushes: Clos Cibonne Cuvée Tradition Rosé

Last month, a thread over on Wineberserkers.com about restaurant regulations people would like to see drifted into a somewhat contentious discussion revolving around banning children from restaurants. Yes, I understand crying children can be annoying to other diners, but the idea of excluding young diners from fine dining establishments is just silly. I've dined within earshot of more annoying fully grown adults than children. Our four-year-old son loves to eat seared scallop with a leek emulsion just as much as he enjoys McDonald's hamburgers. Beatrice isn't quite up to eating solid foods yet, but she has also tagged along with us to two of Denver's nicer restaurants (JaJa Bistro and Fruition) already in her first few weeks. Both times she remained quietly asleep in her carseat (and Ben was with grandparents). I don't know how the restaurant felt about Bea taking up a chair that could have seated a paying customer, but the staff at both restaurants was kind, courteous, and wanted to see the baby. If they were of a child-banishment mindset they certainly hid it well.

Clos Cibonne 2013 Cuvée Tradition
(Beatrice asleep in the background)

As we examined the wine list at Fruition, a few wines stood out to me. I suggested to the attentive waitress that we were considering an Aligoté, a Chenin Blanc, a Grenache Blanc or Provençal rosé to drink with our meal. As she explained styles of the wines, I asked her opinion about which might be best pairedwith my wife's scallops and my vegetarian orecchiette. She quickly, and confidently, suggested the Clos Cibonne 2013 Cuvée Tradition Rosé (13.5% abv, Purchased, Restaurant price $63) which I had inquired about. I didn't know it at the time, but this wine is a blend of 90% Tibouren and 10% Grenache. Unfamiliar with Tibouren? I was too.

Tibouren is a red grape cultivar grown primarily in Provence in France and Liguria in Italy, but with a Greek heritage (and possible roots in Iraq!). Historians also have evidence that Julius Caesar praised the wines of Tibur. Tibouren is typically used in Provençal rosés, though Clos Cibonne does produce five red wines made with Tibouren in addition to five rosés. An surprising tidbit about the winemaking noted on the back label, is that after harvest, the wine was fermented in stainless steel and then aged under a flor (a thin veil of yeast that forms on the surface) in 100-year-old, 500 L foudres (large oak vats). This process is common with Sherry, but I had never heard of this in Provençal rosé. The results, and the pairings with the food, were spot on. There was some nice fruit on the nose complemented by an interesting saline characteristic. Coming together on the palate were flavors of raspberry, watermelon, orange peel, grapefruit, beach stones and the tiniest amount of almond. It was the fruity and savory at the same time and really came together with both dishes because of the acidity. I'll definitely be on the look out for more Clos Cibonne wines in the retail market.

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