Summer is BiB time . Warm and sunny days . Long evenings with friends and family . Preferably outside . Right time for aperitif, summer's N° 1 rosé wine festivity in Provence, is, say, 7.30 pm . I mean, the start of it : From then on, 2 hours at least of talk, jokes, to enjoy and relax in a cooler atmosphere as the sun slowly goes down . These lines are dedicated to the BiBs, our summer best friends . Here, straight from the refrigerator to the table outside, a 5 liter BiB of Rosé from the Chateau de L'Escarelle,
a 120 hectare Coteaux Varois estate located in La Celle, near Brignoles . Good value at about 13 Euro at the Domaine .
With the home made tapenade and the good company, what else do you need ?...
All right, BiBs lack the aesthetic and mythology of bottles and carafes . But all you need to do is have a few bottles filled in the kitchen, and your lunch or dinner party wil not be prejudiced against this wine poured from such a barbaric container .
Good wines can be found in BiBs, like this
one from the Domaine de Saint Julien, a 30 hectare Coteaux Varois estate . The estate is also located in inner Provence, in La Celle , 30 km from the coast . See the picture on the right : Somehow , although I had not sampled their wines in excess , my picture of the small valley shot as we left the estate is tilted . But I like it this way . Besides its bottled wines, it offers a few wines in BiBs , including a remarquable red AOC, that I tasted . I was very disappointed to learn it was sold out . About 13 Euro for 5 liters . Next year , I'll visit the place early in the season . The BiB on the picture is their 5 liter Vin de Pays BiB , a Syrah-Grenache assemblage, at 9,8 Euro . I also tasted a bottle of their white "Le Clos Vieux" reserve Coteaux Varois 2003 . Liked this aromatic wine wich is made with 95% Rolle and 5% Grenache and raised a year in foudres. Bought a bottle to taste later .
Summer in Provence is so hot that your bottle warms up in just a few minutes . Even the best rosé will loose its appeal and freshness when lukewarm . So, an easy trick is to fill the glass directly in the fridge . Everyone does that, and I think that's why 5 liter BiBs are favored over the 10 liter ones ( the other size that the estates sell ) : They fit easily in the cramped white boxes.
The BiB on the picture is a 5 liter rosé BiB from Domaine de Garbelle, a 10 hectare Coteaux Varois estate located near Gareoult . I heard about the place through friends who also probably heard from friends...The winery sits in the middle of the vineyard in the outskirts of the village, backed to the wooded hills . The hills behind the property are pure provencal wilderness ( but I could say the same for the two other estates I just wrote about ). This year I was sad to learn that the good friendly dog wich greeted the occasional visitor died . But two others took the relay...
A provencal newspaper edited a special issue about rosés wines recently with two pages in it about the best rosés in BiBs . I was happy to see that two estates I selected for my page were among the 10 or 20 they chose : L'Escarelle and Saint Julien . If there is a region in France where the consumer can buy easily his BiBs in the local wineries, this is Provence ( and also the Cotes du Rhone region ) . I always find strange that some people don't have the curiosity to drive through some of the nearest estates . They would get a wine that they can connect with, through the images of the little road, the vineyard and the people they met .