CLOS CIBONNE Cuvée Prestige Caroline Rosé 2018
The Cuvée Caroline is named in honor of the Parisian daughter of owner and winemaker Claude Desforges. Unlike his son, she doesn't work in the winery. Only the material from the oldest, over 60-year-old vines of the domain is included in this prestige cuvée. They are the best plots that overlook the sea and the port of the nearby city of Toulon. We are here in the Côtes de Provence appellation, but only about 20 minutes from Bandol. Many of the best wines of Provence are made here. Of course, this cuvée always consists of at least 90% of the special, indigenous Tibouren grape variety, the rest is Grenache. The Tibouren is an old variety of Provence, which is now almost only grown on Clos Cibonne. The winery is famous in France for this variety. Cibonne and Tibouren have been an inseparable, ingenious connection for 100 years. So much so that the INAO (responsible for the AOCs in France) has granted the domain an exception. You can name the grape on the label, which is otherwise strictly forbidden in the rest of Provence, because here, as is customary in France, only the origin is mentioned. Everything is managed organically. Since 2016, the winery has also been converting to organic certification, which will be completed next year. The expansion takes place over a year in new 300 liter barrels on the yeast, then a few months in the steel tank before filling for homogenization. At first glance, this Prestige Cuvée is a completely unique league: a rich Provence pink with a slight copper engraving, a fascinating color. Apricot and peach dried on the nose, underlaid with a salty sea breeze, chalk zest, fresh tobacco, some vanilla pod and noble wood from the aging. A very complex rosé that exposes new aromatic layers the longer it is in the air. Decanting wine in youth is a good idea. At first, the somewhat sweeter aromas of wood dominate, then there is a subtle saltiness as an antipole, including a lot of dried Provencal herbs, a little blood orange, lavender. A fascinating marvel from color to complex nose. At no time is this an ordinary Provence rosé. This wine can be safely decanted for a long time or enjoyed over several days, it will always increase in complexity and fascination. The mouth entry is rich, engaging and soft. A bit worn by the wood in youth, but noble and almost reminiscent of white Burgundy in its aromatic density and mouthfeel. The tension from the tart fruit of dried apricot, grapefruit, lavender and profound saltiness then grabs the back. Wow, this rosé is really an event. High oscilloscope, there is plenty of everything here. And the length, texture and power of this wine are really unique. You can search for a long time in Provence - you won't find anything comparable and substantial in this area. A great use of wood like a Meursault, blessed with the same tension and salty chalk minerality as that. Great length and incredibly high intensity. Yes, we are still talking about a rosé here. But with the special expansion, the high level of complexity and minerality from the oldest vines and this very special grape variety, it is a top-class rosé.