Stylish and diverse, the rosé wines from Tavel prove that the Rhône is not only good for red wines. The Rhône has only one appellation that only produces white wine (St-Péray), and several that produce only red; Tavel is the only one that produces only rosé. The vineyards are sourced entirely from the eight-square-mile town of the same name; about 2,300 acres are under vine. Most of the best rosés of the Rhône are made in Tavel.
Tavel's rosés were popular among many French rulers throughout history. The appellation was created in 1936, one of the first in France.
Climate and Viticulture
Surprisingly diverse in climatic terms for an appellation whose vineyards are located only in one small town, Tavel has several subclimates. One area, where the soil is mostly limestone, is the source of the most perfumed and complex wines.
Many different grapes are allowed into these remarkable rosés, but as in the other southern Rhône appellations, most of the wines are made from some combination of Grenache, Syrah, Cinsaut, Mourvèdre, and Carignan.
This region's wines are particularly solid due to low production and a rather small number of producers. As always, though, there are a few that stand out. Four of these are listed below.
- Château d'Aquéria: With flavors of redcurrant, flowers and herbs, these thick, heavy rosés offer a little more than just easy everyday drinking.
- E. Guigal: Prominent Rhône producer Guigal makes a pungent, powerful Tavel with rich, layered red berry fruit flavors and zesty notes of herbs and minerality.
- Domaine de la Mordorée: The great cuvées here are the Tavel appellation's undisputed leaders. The vivid, expressive, wildly herbal La Dame Rousse combines power with surprising vivacity, while the thick, concentrated, earthy La Reine du Bois offers darker flavors.
- Château de Trinquevedel: Costing around $15, this producer's great basic Tavel combines richness and freshness quite smoothly, offering smoky, exotic berry flavors and intense notes of herbs.
No notable subregions are proclaimed on bottles of these wines.