Clos Cibonne Côtes de Provence Tibouren 2014
Wine: Clos Cibonne
Region: Côtes de Provence
Grapes: Tibouren, Grenache
Vines: Lutte Raisonnée/Sustainable
There are two things I've noticed about the wine market since I first fell in love with rosé, somewhere back in the late aughts. First, most people now understand that not only can rosé be dry, but dry and slightly off-dry are the norm. Their high school memories of candy-sweet California jug blush have been replaced with quality cuvées. Kudos to all the good wine biz folk for making this happen. The second thing I've noticed is that the quality has dropped. As consumer's palates for dry pink has grown into something of a movement, at the least a long trend, the quantity of wine available stateside has gone up, but quality hasn't necessarily followed. This is more an observance than a complaint. I'm thrilled to see all the pretty pinks in so many glasses, it's just that so many glasses (too often my own) are filled with one-dimensional patio quaffers, fair-priced juice that gets the job done, but has zero interest in elevating the experience. I want my palate blown and my wine brain entranced. The highly allocated Robert Sinskey Vin Gris and Ameztoi 'Rubentis' Txacolit are two that over-deliver vintage after vintage, for example, and of course Clos Cibonne Tibouren Côtes de Provence, which just might be the best damn rosé you've ever tasted.
I picked up this bottle at Bacchanal on the late side of a Monday night and paired it with a Sweet Grass Dairy 'Green Hill' double cream cheese. My default pairing is always cheese. But I'm trying to get back into cooking, so I leafed through The Joy of Cooking for something seaside to better match the beauty in my glass. I'm still dreaming about what I might (doubtfully) make for the next bottle. A bouillabasse maybe.
The Clos Cibonne Tibouren Côtes de Provence 2014 is one of the 18 cru classés of the region and made with 90% tibouren and 10% grenache. Tibouren is a rarely seen grape that the late Clos Cibonne proprietor André Roux believed was perfectly suited for the region, its native home. The winery dates back to the late 18th century and came under Roux's deft hand in 1930. He received special permission from the AOC to list tibouren on the label, a practice otherwise prohibited. The vineyards sit on a bowl-shaped hillside facing the ocean, about half a mile from the coast. Adding interest to intrigue, the tibouren rosé is aged one year under fleurette, like Sherry's flor, in 100-year old 500 liter foudres. Roux's grandaughter Bridget and her husband, Claude Deforge, have not deviated from the original recipe. We are so fortunate.
It's a true salmon color with orange reflections, melon, herbs and spice on the nose, subtle fruit on the palate with mineral notes and layers of flavor, texture and nuance. It's round yet lean, unique and mesmerizing. It's a truly special wine that, while technically a rosé, is altogether different, a wine in its own class.