Rosé is a wine designed for summer. Slightly chilled, the structured fruit and taut acidicity of rosé is refreshing and a perfect accompaniment to Korean cuisine. In May 2010 Ms Valerie Rousselle-Riboud from Chateau Roubine visited Korea, sharing her passion for rosé wine, asian food and the landscape of Côtes de Provence.
Chateau Roubine is located in the heart of the Var region, between the Verdon Canyon and the Mediterranean Sea. The vineyards are set on the Julian Way, a road dating back to Roman times. First mentioned in archives in the early 14th century, the château was donated to the Order of Saint Jean of Jerusalem by the Knights Templar in 1307 and is one of the oldest vineyards in France.
The Estate’s wine bottles reflects the rich history of Château Roubine: the glass bears the Templar coat of arms, featuring a dragon and a lion protected by the sun’s rays, which symbolize the historic towns of Draguignan and Lorgues.
These bottle are absolutely beautiful in my opinon. I love the coat of arms sculpted into the glass and the attention to detail on the labels and foil. The bottle at the front of this photo has a dancing figure on the label whose shape is based on a vine.
Valerie Rousselle-Riboud fell in love with Château Roubine in 1994. The connection to the land was obvious to her and she bought the property immediately. Valerie had been interested in wine for many years before taking over at Château Roubine. She studied Hotel management, viticulture and oenology in France. Rather than managing the estate, Valerie is intimately involved in production and takes a hands on approach to viticulture, harvest, grape selection, blending and vine management working closely with her team.
The terrioir of Château Roubine is reflected in the wines and is predominately chalky soil with some clay limestone soil due to ancient glacial deposits. The aspect of the site is east-west facing and is 40km from the Mediterranean. The vineyard is unique in that it is one undivided parcel of land of 280 acres, 72 acres of which is under vine.
At Château Roubine there are 13 different varietals of grapes grown including Carignan, Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Semillion, and a rare varietal unique to Provence, Tibourne. This is a very low yielding varietal with a smokey complexity. It’s used as a compenent in the Inspire Le Rosé and Cru Classe Le Rosé wines.
In Valerie’s opinion this varietal really expresses the terroir of Provence and is a great match for Mediterranean food: lobster, sea urchin eggs, avocado purée and grapefruit. These great dishes are also available in Korea. Sea urchins can be found in every seafood market here.
Harvest at Château Roubine is done at night to ensure the flavor of the rose is expressed. During the day the rosé grapes are stressed by 40 degree heat. Harvesting has to be below 17 degrees says Valerie. At night the temperature cools enough to ensure the structured flavor profile of rosé is maintained.
Valerie is happy that rosé is becoming a more respected wine these days and attributes this trend to the increased interest in Asian food in western countries.
However, she finds it frustrating that there are few rosé experts in the wine industry. She sees women leading the way forward. Valerie is involved in an local association of women winemakers called Elonores de Provence focused on producing and developing rosé wines. Women also account for the majority of rosé wine drinkers.
Valerie aims for natural freshness, elegance, lightness and a blend of many varieties. Her rosé Cuvée Cru Classe Château Roubine is a blend of seven different grapes: Cinsault, Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon and small percentages Carignan, Tibouren, Syrah, Mourvèdre. However some of the wines are a just one varietal such as the Terre de Croix Le Blanc which is 100% Semillon. Valerie also makes a rose wine with Clairette, one of the oldest varietals from Provence and is interested in making wine from varietals unique to the region.
We had five wines from Chateau Roubine with Korean food after the interview. Thomas Scheidt from Vinestock paired the wines with five different types of homemade bibimbap, haemul pajeon, goats cheese (slightly aged) and ratatouille. The highlight for me was the haemul pajeon with the Cru Classé Rosé and Le Blanc Sémillon with a kimchi heavy bibimbap.
Chateau Roubine’s wines are structured with freshness, bright fruit and taut acidity. Perfect for hot summer days and Korean food. The history and terrior of Provence also makes for some great rosé.
By Joshua Hall.
Photography by Shawn Parker.
Thanks to Vinestock for bringing Ms Valerie Rousselle-Riboud to Korea.