In December 2011 a Swiss journalist called Rolf Bichsel published a creditable (if slightly sexistly titled) book called ‘Tavel – des Hommes et des Vins’ that ran to 151 pages and weighed in at 840 grams. While it is unlikely to top the best-sellers charts (with the possible exception of a small hot spot 10 kilometres north-west of Avignon) the very fact that it made it into print does indicate a certain level of interest in France’s only exclusively rosé appellation.
Uncoincidentally, Richard Maby furnished me with a copy of this tome – I presume because it says some nice things about his wines. I have yet to substantiate that though as I was close to my baggage weight limit on a flight out of Avignon and I was loath to jettison 840 grams worth of socks and boxers for the sake of the book so left it at my Dad’s flat in Uzès.
Fortunately, I don’t need Rolf to tell me that Richard is a gifted wine-maker presiding over some prime Southern Rhône terroir. We have been shipping wines from Domaine Maby for over 40 years so have now got a pretty good insight into what they are about. Their Tavel ‘La Forcadière’ is a classic of the appellation, hailing from a cépagment of nine different grape varieties: Grenache Noir, Cinsault, Bourboulenc, Carignan, Clairette, Grenache Blanc, Mourvèdre, Piquepoul and Syrah. It has a lovely, deep terracotta colour, crushed-berry scents and a surprisingly full-bodied palate. It is an incredibly versatile food wine and makes a great partner to spicy Asian dishes as well as classic Mediterranean cuisine featuring lots of olive oil, garlic and seafood.
The excellent 2011 vintage has just arrived here in Mere and rain or no rain I will be broaching a bottle tonight!