The Mediterranean-hugging region of Provence in the sunny French South is arguably the most rosé-associated place on the planet. And while there is plenty of pink to be had, don’t let glossy ad campaigns lull you into thinking that’s all there is. Provençal whites and reds — as well as a copper-hued pour offering something extra — are too good to be missed.
Cassis, a diminutive coastal appellation southeast of Marseille, is the only AOC in Provence to produce mainly white wine. It’s home to Jean-Louis Genovesi and his son Sébastien at Domaine du Bagnol. The father-son duo revived this 17-acre estate after its previous owner died, leaving no heirs to carry on the winemaking. Situated near the foot of Cap Canaille, a high sea cliff, grapes like marsanne, clairette, and ugni blanc all thrive in this location near the shore. The resulting wine is vinified to preserve tantalizing tang, and expresses ripe fruit, pith, and a suggestion of salt.
From the coast, take an hour’s drive north to Aix-en-Provence and arrive at Domaine Tour Campanets. This 74-acre estate, nestled within woodlands, is farmed organically. Owner Emmanuelle Baude, who took over the property six years ago, wouldn’t have it any other way. That conversion seems to agree with the syrah and cabernet sauvignon used to craft a juicy, elegant red called “Mon Coeur Violettes,” a term of endearment that, loosely translated, means, “I give you my heart.”
With “Tibouren” dominating the front label of a copper-hued pour from Clos Cibonne, a customer perusing a shop shelf might wonder if the name indicates a place. But it’s a native grape, which winegrower André Roux insisted on planting when revitalizing the close-to-the-coast property, east of Toulon, in the 1930s. The cru classé gets its silky texture and savory tang from maturing on the lees, as well as aging in large-format wooden vats under fleurette, a thin veil of ambient yeast. While that yeast layer might call to mind biologically aged sherry, the process lends this wine dimensionality, but with a subtler touch. This is a contemplative pour, and like each in this trio, deliciously distinct.
Domaine du Bagnol Cassis Blanc 2016 Waterfall-fresh on the nose, with scents of ripe yellow tree fruit. On the palate, salty-savory notes present at the forefront, giving way to nectarine, citrus pith, and white petals. Around $27. At Formaggio Kitchen, Cambridge, 617-354-4750; Needham Center Fine Wines, Needham, 781-400-1769.
Clos Cibonne “Cuvée Tradition” 2016 Appetizing aromas of stone fruit, citrus pith, and wet stone minerality lead to a compellingly dimensional palate of crunchy peach, salt and spritz, savory in flavor and silky in texture. A gastronome’s pink from the road less traveled. Around $28. At Formaggio Kitchen, Cambridge; Dave’s Fresh Pasta, Somerville, 617-623-0867.
Domaine Tour Campanets “Mon Coeur Violettes” 2016 Generous scents of black cherry and boysenberry join forces with savory and floral notes. Concentrated yet lithe, this red blend is full of ripe berry fruit and black olive. Around $22. Pemberton Farms, Cambridge, 617-491-2244; Winestone, Chestnut Hill, 617-264-0393.Ellen Bhang can be reached at email@example.com.