Bellalua is the pinnacle of all the Languedoc has to share: Passion, Know-how, and Joy for Life. This blend of 60% Syrah and 40% Grenache boasts a magnificent pale color and aromas of violets, citrus, and peach tree flowers. The aromatic essence of Syrah ideally mingles with the sweet fruity Grenache, which combine to create a subtle wine that will transport you to the South of France. Enjoy it by itself or with all light fare dishes.
Every estates’ wines change from one year to another depending on the characteristics of the harvest, quality of wine making, even if is from the same producer and from the same terroir, each year’s batch is unique. Soil, weather, geology, varietals, and the style of wine making used, are all decisive yet variable factors that give each wine a unique character. I travel several times a year and visit every estate and try every wine I purchase. When you choose #besteurowines you choose the best taste and value for traditional small estate French and Spanish wines.
– JP Bourgeois
30 Days of Rosé | #18 | MIP | Made in Provence | Cinsault-Syrah-Grenache Rosé Wine | Côtes de Provence | $16.99
We adore Rosé. We buy multiple kiddie pools worth of Rosé. We don’t buy stacks of every Rosé much less give it the special treatment of a fabulous home garden picture (Kate!! <3 ) so when we stack a Rosé, it’s because it we want to make sure it lasts for more than a hot minute over here. MIP – Made in Provence Rosé whispered to us through our nose, and yelled in our mouth “buy a lot!” so we stacked it. Enjoy!
The estate with its eight hectares of vineyards at the foot of the Mont Saint Victoire in Puyloubier, near Aix-en-Provence, was created by Michel Fabre in 1979. The children’s arrival in the business (Virginia in 2005, followed by Aurélien in 2009), brought fresh impetus to the running of the family estate. Since then, the estate’s work methods and winemaking practices have been completely overhauled. This process of change has in particular led to major investment in cellar technology (press with protection against oxidation, cross-flow filtration system, bottling line with protection against oxidation), as well as in vineyard machinery (latest generation wine harvester, hydraulic cultivator), but above all to changes in the estate’s sales and marketing strategy. The young Fabre generation has succeeded in implementing a modern, technology-focused and unique approach to winemaking while conserving the authenticity of this large and still family-run estate. The vineyards are being expanded with the planting of new grape varieties to enable diversification of the product portfolio.
A refreshing, easy-to-drink wine and guaranteed crowd pleaser.
Vinification method: Immediate pressing under oxygen-excluding conditions. Fermentation at low temperatures.
Ageing: Four months on fine lees.
Tasting: Very light rose petal coloured robe. Pleasant and powerful bouquet with notes of white flowers and small yellow fruit. This is a wine with a delicate mouth feel which is ideal as a pre-dinner drink on a summer evening or as an accompaniment to light meals.
Food pairings: Ideal with light meals, salads, BBQs and with Provençal-style cuisine in general. Perfect for a before-dinner drink with friends. Try with grilled Mediterranean seafood.
About Domaine Sainte Lucie:
Early September is when the harvest is due to commence. The winemaking cellar is fully disinfected, the vats are descaled and the equipment is set up to receive the grapes. At Domaine Sainte Lucie, harvesting starts around 5th September. During a three-week period, the cellar operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to ensure that the expression of our terroir and our work throughout the year are transferred to the wines.
For the majority of our wines harvesting is done mechanically and at night so that the harvested grapes are cool (reducing the energy required for cooling). The cooler the harvested grapes are, the less transfer of colour there is from the grapes to the juice. The current trend in Provençal rosé leans towards wines with a pale coloured, glistening robe. Our up-to-the minute harvester has in-vehicle technology enabling the grapes to be harvested whole, without damaging the vineyard.
The grapes are then quickly transferred to the winemaking cellar in stainless steel hydraulic-flow bins. A natural approach to protecting the grapes is implemented right from their arrival at the cellar. Our processes are driven by our sustainable winemaking principles, which aim for the lowest addition of sulphites possible.
Growing characteristics: Use of sustainable agricultural practices
Winemaking characteristics: Vinification under oxygen-excluding conditions with no sulphites added at harvesting and low-temperature fermentation to avoid denaturing the flavour of the grapes and the character of the wines.
The winemaking process – technique & tradition
Several winemaking techniques are implemented at the winery. For the rosé wines, which account for the major part of our production, either immediate pressing or skin-contact maceration is used. However, there is also a third winemaking technique, which is specific to our estate. This secret technique is of course what gives our wines their specific profile.
Pressing or maceration – Rosé wines
Our rosé wines are produced using one of two techniques: immediate pressing or maceration. Immediate pressing is employed. As soon as the grapes arrive at the winemaking cellar, they are protected with dry ice and cooled. The harvested grapes are entirely destalked and lightly crushed.
The juices extracted at pressing are again cooled to facilitate settling. This settling stage, known as débourbage, consists of allowing the rosé grape must, which is full of plant debris and pulp, to clarify naturally by settling. Débourbage takes from 12 to 24 hours depending on the maturity of the grapes.
Once the very clear juice has been separated from the rest, the sediment is filtered out, enabling a highly aromatic juice (known as the suc de la vigne) to be obtained.
It is only once this clarification stage is complete that the fermentation of the grape must can commence. Alcoholic fermentation at low temperatures, lasting 15 to 20 days at a constant 16°C, helps to preserve the future wine’s aromatic potential. During fermentation, vats are checked three times a day and the contents tasted regularly.
30 Days of Rosé | #15 | The Withers | Rosé of Grenache & Mourvèdre | 13.2% ABV | Mendocino County | 2016 | $20.99
Last year, we met Andrew Tow. He delighted us with his Cool climate wines from the Sonoma Coast and Sierra Foothills. We flipped the switch on going in big and haven’t looked back. The Withers Rosé of Grenache & Mourvèdre was one of the shooting stars last year – it streaked across our wine selection for a brief time, oohed and aahed customers, then was gone as quickly as it arrived. Rein in your bottle of the 2016 vintage while you can catch one, and let your palate ride other Withers wine in our domestic red blend and Pinot Noir sections.
Our 2016 Rosé is a dead ringer for a classic Bandol, highlighted by the color, flavors and aromas of apricot, cherry, watermelon rind nectarine and peach. The wine is buttressed by strong balancing acidity, with excellent tension and lift over its medium bodied, layered and textured frame. Balanced and elegant, it is best served at cellar temperature and can be paired with oysters, shellfish, seafood, pasta and fowl. It will be enjoyable immediately on release but should improve in bottle for 3-5 years.
145 cases made
A True Story
It started off simply enough. Our original goal was to make a few barrels of wine that we would be proud to drink and serve to friends and family. Once we did so, it immediately became more complicated because the response was overwhelmingly positive. So here we are today, having created a wine label that reflects the types of wines we originally set out to make for ourselves, but now make for you. This project has enabled us to pursue many things we love at the same time – making great wines at reasonable prices, conducting ourselves with and collaborating with others who share our goal of social and environmental responsibility, engaging in philanthropy, and equestrian pursuits. We try to pursue all of these avenues surrounded by friends and loved ones and wine is inevitably involved. Key to our mission is supporting local growers and communities and the environment through sharing a percentage of our revenues with causes near and dear to our hearts.
Our aim is to produce elegant, nuanced, balanced, food friendly expressions of cool climate vineyard sites that don’t sacrifice flavor, complexity or intensity. For those wondering about our winery name, the withers is in many species the tallest point of the body. For horses, it is the place from which height is measured. We named our winery in the spirit of striving for heights in every aspect of our operation, and as a tribute to Mr.Burgess, the Irish Connemara pony who has been a member of our extended family for almost 15 years. The artwork on our label is an original illustration of Mr. Burgess drawn by a special young woman who has known our family and the horse since her childhood. He is a sensitive and beautiful animal willing to experiment with the many equestrian disciplines, having over time proven to be reliable and expert at every one.
We aim for the same concept in making wine; be unafraid of exploration and pursue heights of excellence across many disciplines, whether red, white or rosé and irrespective of varietal. What we seek in wine, friendships, music, and everything for which we have a passion is something to reach for, something that draws you in because it is not so obvious on its face, yet which intrigues you. Something that with patience yields an end result that builds from the first impression. Something familiar and evocative, yet which leaves you searching for descriptive words. Something soulful. In other words, we seek to produce qualities in our wines that we look for in every corner of our lives. So we embark on the journey, determined, enthusiastic and hopeful.
This project has been 35 years in the making. Years filled with collecting, sampling, enjoying, learning, and sharing. What we are doing today wouldn’t be possible without help from close friends; extremely talented people about whom we care and who have shared their knowledge, expertise and time. We consider ourselves very lucky to know such wonderful people, and to have them working with us going forward. Combining a personal passion for wine with the hard work involved in making it for others to enjoy requires a healthy respect for the challenges to being successful and for the process itself. We have that respect, and believe that the most important element will always be working with vineyards which produce the high quality fruit from which every fine wine must come, then letting it speak for itself without attempting to alter its true character. I hope you will take an interest in what we are doing, share your true stories with us, and most of all, enjoy our wines with friends, colleagues, and loved ones!
– Andrew Tow | Founder
Where We Grow
Our Syrah, Grenache, and Mourvèdre growers tend sites in the increasingly well known Sierra Foothills region as well as Mendocino County. Our Sierra Foothills growers tend vineyards in higher elevation, cool climate locations that enable the grapes to ripen evenly and beautifully while experiencing cool mornings and evenings, which serve to moderate sugar, and therefore alcohol levels in our wines without sacrificing flavor. The resulting wines are food friendly, balanced and nuanced, with distinct and penetrating varietal flavors.
Who We Are
Andrew Tow | Founder
Mr. Tow has a long background in the media and telecommunications industries, and a longer love for everything about wine. He has a passion for his wife and three children, live music, and the outdoors, as well as understated wines of balance and flavor. While this is his first venture as a winery owner, he has formed many relationships in the industry over 35 years of travel, shared experiences, and common values. Kathleen Tow | General Manager
Mrs. Tow, Mr. Tow’s wife of 26 years, is responsible for customer and distributor relations as well as the mailing list and wine clubs. She is an accomplished equestrian focusing on dressage riding and working daily with Mr. Burgess, the gray horse whose image appears on our wine label. Mrs. Tow is involved in all aspects of the winery and its operations. David Low | Winemaker
Mr. Low is an accomplished and acclaimed winemaker, having served in various capacities at William Selyem Winery, as Assistant Winemaker at Papapietro Perry Winery, and as Co-Founder and Winemaker at the award winning Anthill Farms Winery. He has had a hand in crafting many distinctive and highly rated cool climate Pinot Noirs and Rhone Varietals, as well as Whites and Rosés. Tyson Freeman
Mr. Freeman is an experienced winemaker and cellar manager, having worked at Papapietro Perry Winery in various capacities. Mr. Freeman is responsible for sourcing grapes, vineyard and cellar management and assisting Mr. Low in various capacities throughout the cycle of making, cellaring, and bottling our wine.
30 Days of Rosé | #14 | A Tribute To Grace | Rosé of Grenache | Santa Barbara Highlands Vineyard | 2016 | 13.1% ABV | $23.99
Number 14 of our 30 Days of Rosé is one of the most sought after Rosé wines we get – A Tribute To Grace.
Only a handful of cases of this muchly sought after Rosé make it’s way over from Angela, most of it is instantly snapped up by people in the industry and repeat customers waiting for it.
This wine quickly sells itself every year without marketing itso if you want a bottle (which you do!!) of Angela’s Rosé, get yours before they are gone!
From the bottle:
This wine is a tribute to Grace, my Grandmother, whose quiet strength and guidance has taught me the true meaning of her name. As my own journey unfolds, grace has become me most revered of nature’s atributes, thus making Grenache the perfect medium.
A Tribute To Grace Wine Company is dedicated to crafting authentic expressions of Grenache.
All wines are single-vineyard sourced to maintain authenticity, and remain 100% Grenache.
Santa Barbara Highlands Vineyard, Cuyama Valley, Santa Barbara County
The Santa Barbara Highlands Vineyard is situated 33 miles east of Santa Barbara, in the Sierra Madre Mountains. Sitting at 3200 feet elevation, the setting is home to sand, brush, exposed rock, and the odd dingo-type wild dog. And grapes. On my first visit to the vineyard (as pictured in this photo), my mother and I were driving the 33-highway route north from Ojai and were beginning to wonder if we had indeed entered the famed Ojai vortex, so foreign was the setting. We hadn’t seen a single soul in over an hour – in fact nothing living save the odd Matilija mountain Poppy. Upwards we continued to climb, until finally we rounded yet another hairpin-bend and both gasped. Nestled below, amidst a vast sea of sand, were row upon row of vibrant vines.
And so is the setting for this incredible vineyard. Arid and blazing hot in the summertime, snow-laden and sleepy in the wintertime. Not that the summer months see an influx of people, I believe the permanent population of Ventucopa is 59…
I have an ongoing lease of three rows in this remarkable vineyard, which is owned by Laetitia Vineyard and Winery, and nurtured by their famed vineyard manager Lino Bozzano. The entire vineyard is managed sustainably, and planted according to particular site-specificity. Although there are a total of 12 varieties planted, the Grenache plantings represent only 4% of the total vineyard – with five different Grenache clones planted. I am one of five winemakers currently producing wine from this block, and the difference in the wines we each produce speaks volumes as to the part man plays in winemaking.
~ Grace’s Story ~
I am a New Zealand born winemaker who moved to California in 2006 with the dream of making Grenache. In the land from which I stem, the climate is too cool to ripen this sun-loving beauty. And so began my search: northern Spain, southern France, southern Australia, California…
Abundant sunshine and entrepreneurial spirit led me to the latter, and in 2007 I sourced my first Grenache fruit from the Santa Barbara Highlands Vineyard. Nestled high above the Pacific Ocean and 33 miles inland, this high-desert vineyard provided the perfect balance of heat and light I sought.
I chose to name my label after two of my favourite things: my Grandmother Grace, and my most beloved attribute. My winemaking intention is to capture this spirit, and stay as close to nature as humanly possible. The trio is completed by the grape itself, which to me encapsulates grace.
My first Thanksgiving in California in 2006 saw me strolling the sands of Moonlight Beach, Encinitas. I was thinking of my Nana Grace, and how much she would love this american tradition ~ and was drawn to write ‘grace’ in the sand with the big toe of my right foot. When I stood back and looked at it, I realized this would be my label: a tribute to grace.
Luckily for me, my dear and most talented friend Nicole Sykes advised me against using this actual image for my label, and instead provided the graceful design that has adorned each bottle since 2007. The Queen Anne’s Lace motif comes from a dried flower she found in a Dublin vintage market, symbolizing simplicity, femininity and the circle of grace.
Fall is here, sounding the alert in craniums for people to start drinking full-bodied red vino (although, I drink hearty reds all year).
The Sinister Hand from our friends at Owen Roe becomes increasingly popular as the leaves turn – a perfect transitional wine to ease you from summer to autumn. The soft tannins and bright raspberry notes of Grenache says summer is still kinda here but fleeting, while the richness of Syrah starts to prepare your palate for robust wine, harvest meals, and evenings around the fire.
Help yourself to the bounty of our Owen Roe wine harvest while you can, like many other seasonal consumables, once Sinister Hand is gone, it won’t be back until next year.
This generous fusion of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, and Cinsaut is easily approachable while displaying undeniable complexity. The Grenache portion of the blend contributes cranberry and raspberry candied fruit notes, while the Syrah fragment delivers darker fruits and savoury characteristics. Mourvedre enhances the structure and richness of the body and provides delicate aromas of violets. Our partially carbonic macerated Cinsaut brings liveliness and tropical fruit flavors to the blend.
Long ago, during the 17th century, the O’Neills and O’Reillys were two revolutionary Irish families. They formed a rowing competition to reserve rights to some highly regarded land. The two rowing teams agreed that the first to touch the land, after rowing across the lake, would become ruler of the land. O’Neill’s boat was falling behind so a member of the crew grabbed his own sword, cut off his hand and threw it ashore, winning the title to rule the land. This land still remains in the family.
Aged 10 months in 30% new French oak barrels and 70% neutral
Stephen Tanzer | 90 Points
This lively, perfumed Washington State blend of southern French varieties of fers musky scents of candied red berries, wild herbs, violet and cedar. It’s juicy, savory and persistent, with compelling spicy/herbal lift to its dark cherry flavor. Some fruit from cool Columbia Gorge adds verve. – Stephen Tanzer
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