Rolle. AKA Vermentino, but grown in the South of France. It’s one of my current grape crushes and writing this has made me decide to go out and seek some more. In white wines, one of the main things I look for is a balanced acidity, and in particular, mouthfeel. Mouthfeel is something that I think lacks in a lot of white wines, and equally finding a white without a piercing acidity can be tricky. (Saying this, I am biased as my taste tends to lean towards wines with a lower acidity.) In this case we have a wine that naturally has a high acidity and this wine has extraordinary balance.
Le Grand Cros, Esprit de Provence Blanc 2015 – £15.95 Pall Mall Fine Wines
Also available to buy by the case at Asset Wines
Prominant honeysuckle and lemon on the nose, with a lovely soft palate of white peach and apricot. Fantastically long finish with slight almond notes – lingering on the palate.
Julian Faulkner, winemaker at Le Grand Cros, feels strongly that there is a place for Rolle in Provence, and I agree. A market that is dominated by rosé also produces this lovely varietal that I feel is often forgotten about. It is commonly used in rosé blends, but now we are seeing a few producers making it as 100% whites. I just hope we will start to see more.
Rolle has a unique flavour spectrum in the climate of Provence. While producing its signature citrus and floral, fresh aromatics it also produces stone fruit flavours such as peach and apricot, and in some cases some exotic notes.
What really draws me to this wine in particular is its soft palate and lovely mouthfeel – it fills the mouth and has a fantastically long finish. Perhaps one of the longest finishes I’ve ever experienced from an unoaked white.
I would describe this mouthfeel as a lighter, more lifted style of Viognier, while maintaining a slight “zing” you get from other SW varietals such as Sauvignon Blanc and Roussanne.
How is it made?
Each parcel is vinified separately; short skin contact at 15°C; grapes were pressed with early separation of pressed must; tight cold static must settling; temperature control of fermentation at 16-17°C; racking and blockage of malolactic fermentation.