Last night dinner at Paranga in Camp’s Bay with Christophe Renard, a director of Domaines Ott, three distinct estates in the Côtes de Provence and Bandol. Founded in 1896 and part of the Champagne Louis Roeder group since 2004, Domaines Ott is today one of the world’s premier Rosé producers.
Reciprocal Wine Trading Company was recently appointed agent for Domaines Ott in South Africa and hence a tasting of some of the range. First of four wines was the entry level Rosé Les Domanier 2009 (R145 a bottle) a blend of 65% Grenache, the rest Cinsaut and Syrah. It undergoes partial malolactic fermentation and the wine consequently has a relatively soft acidity to go with plenty of red fruit. Very easy to drink.
Next Château de Selle Rosé 2009 (R295) including 15% Cabernet Sauvignon in addition to Grenache and Cinsaut. This wine has a reputation of being “feminine” and elegant but I thought it was simply light and rather uninteresting, its charms lost on me.
Whereas both the first two wines are AOC Côtes de Provence, Rosé Château Romasson Rosé 2009 (R295 a bottle) is from Bandol, this wine including Mourvèdre in addition to Grenache and Cinsaut. This wine had more grunt than the previous wine with good fruit expression and an appealing savoury character thanks to Mourvèdre.
Lastly Clos Mireille Blanc de Blancs 2009 (R295 a bottle), made from Semillon and Rolle. The vineyards are apparently close to the sea and this intriguing wine had a distinct saline quality in addition to citrus and slight nutty flavours.
Where the wines good enough to justify there not inconsiderable price tags? While clearly a step up on the quality of the vast majority of local stuff, Domaines Ott is most definitely a lifestyle product (total production is 27 500 cases with 60% sold in France, most of that on the French Riviera). The wine comes in a signature bottle dating from the 1930s flagging anybody purchasing a bottle in a restaurant or beach-bar situation as a hipster. I imagine quite a lot of it will get drunk in Plettenberg Bay and Clifton this season.