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Château Pradeaux, Côtes de Provence RoséProvence, France 2019 (750mL)

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Château Pradeaux, Côtes de Provence Rosé Provence, France 2019 (750mL)

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Alcohol

No other type of wine is as confined by consumer perceptions as rosé. As a sommelier, it’s my job to help shape those perceptions, so let me start with this maxim: Rosé can and should be enjoyed all year round, especially when it boasts an uncompromised, generational lineage like Château Pradeaux’s does. Provence, and especially its famed sub-region, Bandol, is the center of the rosé universe, and Pradeaux sits alongside Domaine Tempier, Terrebrune, and Château Pibarnon on the Mount Rushmore of rosé—a Mourvèdre-driven evocation of sea and scrub-brush that’s just as satisfying in the dead of winter as it is in summer.


Etienne Portalis, who represents the 14th successive generation at Château Pradeaux, fashions this well-priced Côtes de Provence bottling from vineyards that were, in fact, classified as Bandol until recently. Once tasted, it became immediately clear: this newly labeled wine clearly distinguishes itself from the vast ocean of Côtes de Provence quaffers thanks to its unique pedigree. It’s a Bandol rosé on all accounts except for the re-zoning of its old address and the much lower price point. I can’t resist saying it: You can take the rosé out of Bandol but you can’t take Bandol out of the rosé!



Pradeaux’s vineyard holdings are the closest to the Mediterranean in the entire Bandol appellation. The estate has been in the hands of the Portalis family since before the French Revolution and was revived just after World War II by Suzanne Portalis and her daughter, Arlette. Her son, Cyrille Portalis, has continued to maintain the great traditions of this estate with his wife, Magali, and his two sons, Etienne and Edouard. Their Bandol reds remain strictly composed of 95% Mourvèdre, an incredibly high percentage given the appellation requirement is only 50%, allowing growers to greatly soften their blends with increased amounts of Grenache and Syrah. Not Pradeaux. Here, the conscious effort is to build massively flavorful and monumentally structured reds for the ages. Likewise, Etienne produces rosé of visceral potency, resisting the market-obsessed styling by many growers in the region while crafting wines of sumptuous concentration, intense structure, and staggeringly powerful minerality. He embraces the risk of spontaneous fermentation—almost unheard of in rosé production in Provence—and employs cement and large oak barrels for aging both his flagship Bandol rosé and today’s Côtes de Provence.   


This superb 2019 is sourced from 3.7 acres of south-facing vines averaging 40-years of age, planted in soils of pebbly limestone over blue clay. It’s a blend of 65% Mourvèdre, 25% Cinsault with 10% Grenache. All the fruit is hand-harvested, hand-sorted, and naturally fermented for two weeks exclusively in stainless steel tanks. The grapes are then pressed off and the juice remains on its fine solids (lees) for two months. Afterward, the juice is “racked” (removed) off the lees into clean tanks for six-month prior to being bottled unfined and unfiltered. The results bear the unmistakable Pradeaux signature: power, persistence, and depth. In fact, it resembles more Pradeaux’s own stately, top-tier Bandol than it does most commercial-tasting Côtes de Provence rosés. It is remarkably serious and built to evolve, though you’d never know that from the price!


Today’s 2019 carries a typical and consistent salmon-to-pale copper hue on a generous, medium-plus body. It opens with an expressive bouquet of peppery florals, dried strawberry, fresh apricot with notes of black pepper and subtle nutmeg. A mouthwatering, acid-driven palate of intense mineral cling, with clear, slightly sappy flavors of wild red berries, firm melon, Provençal herbs, sea salt, and some circling whispers of jasmine/lavender. It is deeply concentrated and focused, finishing with pulsating energy, leaving no doubt this rosé’s serious nature. Tapping into the wine’s versatile, chameleon-like ability to adjust to a dizzying array of cuisine will earn it yet another feather to its cap. Sushi-grade, smoked mackerel, a hearty bouillabaisse, pizza margherita, or a dry herb-rubbed roasted chicken. This wine will surely step up your rosé swagger without stretching your budget. With an extra year of bottle age and packed with plenty of substance and muscle, it’s already unfolding more expressive layers and will keep you on that road for a few years more. I think of it as the all-star game for the entire past rosé season and this is my candidate for MVP—Most Valuable Provençal!   




Château Pradeaux, Côtes de Provence Rosé Provence, France 2019 - SommSelect

  • CountryFrance
  • RegionProvence
  • Sub-RegionCôtes de Provence
  • SoilLimestone & Clay
  • FarmingOrganic
  • Blend65% Mourvèdre, 25% Cinsault, 10% Grenache
  • Alcohol13%

  • CountryFrance
  • RegionProvence
  • Sub-RegionCôtes de Provence
  • SoilLimestone & Clay
  • FarmingOrganic
  • Blend65% Mourvèdre, 25% Cinsault, 10% Grenache
  • Alcohol13%
  • Temp.Serve at 45-50° F
  • GlasswareAll-Purpose Stem
  • DrinkingNow-2023
  • DecantingOptional
  • PairingCod & Pork Belly En Croute