Provencal winery Maison Saint AIX recently released its 2015 vintage in Singapore, a rosé wine that continues to encompass the elegance and balance that we’ve come to know and love about AIX.
Like most wineries from the Provence region of France, Maison Saint AIX – or AIX as it is more commonly known – focuses on the production of rosé, which takes up nearly 88% of all the wine produced from this southeastern-most wine making region of France. But while the principal grape varietal of most Provencal wineries is Mourvèdre, which is blended with Grenache and Cinsault to make rosé, AIX’s key grape is the Grenache, which it blends with Syrah and Cinsault for their expression – in fact in its most recent vintage Grenache comprises 60% of the blend. AIX is part of Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence AOP.
Provence is so named because it was the first ever province of the Romans outside of Italy, who called the area provincia nostra (“our province”). But wine would have been made in the region a lot earlier, when the early Greeks founded a colony there in 600 BC – today the city of Marseille – and most likely have brought their indigenous grapes along.
Maison Saint AIX winery co-owner Sake Weima (pictured below) was recently in town to introduce the 2015 vintage of AIX Rosé, and he explained that the year has been a most benevolent one, almost comparable to the excellent year in 2012. “We had a very hot summer and good rains in the beginning of the season,” Weima explains. “As a result all the different grapes ripened around the same time, and harvesting was completed in just 10 days.”
The unseasonably hot weather, which helps boost sugar levels in grapes, has also led to a higher than usual alcohol content in this year’s vintage at 13% ABV, compared to last year’s 12.5%. After harvesting, the grapes are macerated for just six hours to acquire some colour from the skins but without imparting too much tannin. About 30% of the juice comes from the saignée method of crushing grapes with the other 70% from direct pressing – a slight departure from the Provencal style which is usually direct pressed – to retain more aroma and flavour. Fermentation takes place between 11 to 13 degrees Celsius in stainless steel tanks.
AIX’s expression is still unmistakeable – strawberry and cranberry notes from the Grenache, accentuated by the earthiness and spiciness of Syrah, and rounded off with the blending grape Cinsault which gives some floral hints.
AIX is distributed in Singapore by The Straits Wine Company.
Appellation AOP Coteaux D’Aix en Provence
Grape Varieties Grenache 60%, Syrah 20%, Cinsault 20%