Les Baux-de-Provence Passe-Rose
Grenache noir 69 %, Syrah 13 %, 5% each Cinsault, Mourvèdre and Carignan, Cabernet-Sauvignon 8 %. The Mas Ste Berthe Rosé comes from parcels closest to the Les Baux Mountain with a very stony, thin and well– drained limestone soil which imparts finesse and aromatic complexity. This terroir is decomposed mountain rock from centuries of erosion.
On April 20, 1995 the French National Institute of Appellations granted Les Baux its own appellation status, recognizing the unique microclimate and soil of the region. This is one of the most exciting and dynamic wine regions in the world.
Vintage notes: After a mild winter, the 2021 growing season in Les Baux began early with warm temperatures. The unique micro–climate ensured that there was no frost when temperatures dipped in early April — a very rare reality in France. Frequent, but never excessive rain over the growing season enabled the steady growth of vegetation without problems due to vine diseases and ensured water reserves in the soils. Flowering occurred by early June for all of the varieties without any issues. The grape set was ample and in perfect health. All trimming of the foliage (rognage) was suspended until just before harvest to ensure that the grapes were shaded and so did not mature too quickly and develop overly high sugar levels.
2021 temperatures in Les Baux were cooler that in previous years. Maturity was attained in late August, with gradual development of color and flavor without the loss of acidity. Harvest began for the Grenache and Syrah dedicated to the Rosé on August 25, one week later than in 2020, and lasted for 2 weeks. The Carignan and Cinsault were picked on September 1st, and the Cabernet Sauvignon and Mourvèdre grapes were picked in the last days of the harvest period in mid–September to ensure that they attained fully ripeness. The weather during the harvest period was ideal: clear skies with warm days and cool nights. The grapes were in perfect health with an ideal balance of sugar and acidity. All the fruit was picked very early in the mornings, in several passes through the vineyard, so as to ensure that only perfectly ripe and healthy fruit arrived at the winery in a cool state. Once there, dry ice and inert gas were employed to keep the crop cool and protected from exposure to air in order to prevent any oxidization and loss of freshness.
Analytically, the 2021 results are excellent: 13% overall natural alcoholic degree with balanced acidity (tartric and malic) and an ideal, low pH of 3.27. Each variety was destemmed and macerated separately at 10 degrees Centigrade for only 2–6 hours due to the intense color in the skins. The grapes were lightly pressed with total protection from any exposure to air. After clearing the must overnight, fermentation of each variety began separately at low, controlled temperature, not exceeding 17C. The lesser quality pressings were eliminated. The fermentation period lasted for an average of 15 days. As usual, the malolactic fermentation was blocked to enhance freshness. The 2021 Mas Ste Berthe Rosé was assembled on November 1st and then aged in tanks until mid– December. It is a unique Rhône/Provençal Rosé wine that combines aromatic intensity, depth of flavors and persisting freshness. The 2021 Mas Ste Berthe Rosé has a brilliant, light red color, and vividly expressive flavors of red berry and citrus fruits, minerals and spice. It was bottled on December 15th, 2021. The balance attained between ripeness, freshness and complexity is unique to Les Baux, and carries forward the qualities that have distinguished the Mas Ste Berthe Rosé over many decades. A new label enhances this superb vintage.
About the Producer
Mas Sainte Berthe (“Mas” means farm estate in the Provencal dialect) is located in the picturesque town of Les Baux, near St Remy de Provence. The Rolland family’s 40-hectare domaine lies at the foot of the Les Baux mountain, which is a great tourist attraction because of the spectacular ruins of a medieval town on the mountaintop. The estate began as a fruit-growing property in the 1950s and was converted to a vineyard in the early 1960s. The south-facing vineyard lies on unique, rocky, white clay-limestone soil at the foot of the Les Baux cliffs, which have a warming effect.
The winery was completely renovated 15 years ago, and vines are now over 40 years of age. Long-time winemaker Christian Nief retired after the 2020 vintage. He is replaced by estate manager Oliver Rolland, son of the owner, and winemaker Eduardo Pincheria. The new team has piloted the transition to organic viticulture.
Farming practices: The winery has long maintained a profound respect for its environment: for example, no nitrates are present in their organic fertilizers and natural insect predators are encouraged. They began the transition to organic farming in 2019. 2021 vintage was farmed entirely organically, a practice begun the year before. The rows are plowed to control grass under the vines. Organic certification is expected with the 2023 vintage.
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