Wine Review: Tavel Rose–Reserve Des Chasyelles (Rhone-France)
TAVEL ROSE–RESERVE DES CHASYELLES (RHONE-FRANCE)
Tavel produces the very best rose I’ve ever experienced for the money. Mark it down. These wines are absolute superstars. And the Reserve Des Chasyelles gets my highest recommendation of the year in terms of taste/uniqueness/value combined. Run, don’t walk to the store to buy this wine. Yes, it’s really that fabulous.
Perhaps you’ve never heard of Tavel? Okay, so here it goes. Tavel is a wine-growing Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (yes, the initial are usually listed as AOC) in the southern Rhône wine region of France, located directly across the Rhône River from the famed Châteauneuf-du-Pape growers and just north of the town of Avignon. All Tavel wines are rosé. This import — hopefully the start of a mass import — is a hidden gem, largely unknown and not widely experienced in the U.S. market. Not until now.
I’ve sampled hundreds of rosés over the years, and consider the varietal more of an alternative to the more common wines typically enjoyed in summer. Sorta’ like wanting something different. I’ll catch heat for saying this, but as much as I rave about many French wines, the roses of France (especially from the Provence region, which produces the most) are—-boring. But the Tavel, with roots in the region firmly to the north, is a bold departure from subtlety elsewhere. This particular Tavel rose clocks in at a whopping 14.2 % alc. content, which you rarely find anywhere in this varietal.
From the start, what really stands out is the deep rich color. Ruby-red. It’s a stunning spectacle matched by a stupendous taste. Seriously, I had to look at the price tag to make sure it wasn’t mislabeled. As for price, Trader Joe’s is selling this for around $10 a bottle. It’s at least $20 everyplace else I’ve checked.
Tavel is reputed to have been a favorite wine of kings Philippe le Bel and Louis XIV, the Popes of Avignon the 19th-century novelist Honoré de Balzac, and Ernest Hemingway. IHey–if it’s good enough for popes and kings and even Hemingway, it’s good enough for me.
If you’re not much of a wine drinker–try it. If you are tepid about snooty French wines–try it. If you trust my judgment on wines based on value–try it.
I love this wine.
Grade (100 point scale): 95
Value: (10 point scale): 10
Price: $10 (on special at Trader Joe’s–priced at $20 elsewhere)
Recommended: Yes. Highly.