It's here again: the beginning of rosé season. Seems like lately that runs about half the year, but you won't find me complaining. Especially when more rosé means more wines like Domaine de Fontsainte Gris de Gris. One of their mottos (they seem to have several) is that modern doesn't have to mean techno-driven. I wonder if that turn-of-phrase has a little more music to it in the French—probably. But the point is, they're right. The domaine goes back centuries. The little pocket of land it occupies is in the heart of the local "golden crescent" of Corbières, so-named for the intensity of sun in the area. Medieval monks set up hermitages here for contemplation. Roman soldiers tarried here on R&R. Mountains to the west, Mediterranean to the east, granite bluffs to the north. The winds shift back and forth between two seas. The soil is well-drained. It's ideal wine country.
The Laboucarié family has owned the place since the mid-seventies. They were the first in the Corbières region (part of Languedoc-Rousillon) to practice whole-cluster fermentation (carbonic maceration) which brings a brightness to the traditionally deep, intense reds made of Carignan, Grenache noir, Syrah, Mouvedre, etc. While innovation has played a big role in the reputation of this estate, their instruments are all strung for the most traditional chansons. Another of their mottos: you must see the land through your ancestors' eyes.
But today we're talking rosé. Because no one does it better in the Southwest than Domaine de Fontsainte with their Gris de Gris. This is flinty, rose-hipped, under-ripe strawberry chain reaction goodness in your mouth. This is refreshment in no small dose. The flinging open of your shutters. The call of the song-birds. The sparkling gem of an al fresco lunch.
And the best part? This year she comes in double. We bought up a round of magnums (1.5L bottles) of the Fontsainte rosé because, well, in this case more is just better. A lot better. Anyone wanting to throw down on some spring is absolutely in need of one of these. They look like softball bats! Pink, delicious softball bats. Get yours.
Domaine de Fontsainte Corbières "Gris de Gris" 750ml ($17) 1.5L ($39)