We have just taken delivery of the new vintage of Williams Chase Rosé, the 2015. I think this is the third vintage for this rosé wine in the strikingly square-shouldered bottle closed with the glass Vinolok closure. I really like the Vinolok closure I am not sure why more producers don’t use it for their white and rosé wines that should be drunk young. It was trendy in the 1990s, particularly in Austrian Gruner Veltliner wines, but I don’t know of any other producers, other than Chase, using Vinolok at the moment. There must be some!
Each vintage of Williams Chases Rosé has been a bit different from the previous, and the 2015 is no exception, this is in part due to a change in the INAO (Institut National des Appellations d’Origine) Appellation rules for Luberon Appellation d’origine controlee (AOC) and Appellation d’origine protégée (AOP). In March 2014 the INAO rules were updated to allow Luberon Rosé to be made with up to 20% wine from white grapes, something that their neighbours in Cotes de Provence are allowed to do to. Therefore Luberon Rosé can be made from the red grape varieties Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault and Carignan with up to 20% comprised of white grape varieties Ugni Blanc, Clairette, Grenache Blanc, Vermentino, Bourboulenc, Marsanne and Roussanne.
Williams Chase Rose 2015 is made from a blend of Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault and, now, Vermentino. The wine is made at the family’s property Chateau Constantin just north of Aix-en-Provence. It is aged on its lees with regularly lees stirring which lends a certain creaminess and complexity to the wine. The addition of vermentino certainly lightens the wine, in fact this is one of the palest rosé wines I have come across. There is a picture of a bottle of the 2014 vintage next to the 2015 vintage for comparison below (2014 on left, 2015 on the right). For me the the vermentino brings lots more peach and apricot character to the wine which wasn’t in the previous vintages. I do wonder about the colour being a little light. A lot of consumers perceive the palest rosé wines as being the most austere and dry, which is not the case here.
Williams Chase Rose 2015 is a very pale, delicate clam shell pink with just a hints of orange colour. The nose aromatic with white peach and apricot being the most dominant aromas. However, delve a little deeper and there are ripe red berry fruit (strawberry), floral and blossom notes. There are also hints of herbaceousness and a touch of wet stone minerality. The palate is clean and pure with a good viscous mouthfeel. There are flavours of more ripe, red berry fruits, floral character, red apples and a hint of grapefruit zest. As the wine warms up the palate became more expansive and with developing creamy flavours from the lees ageing. The finish is dry, but not bone dry, there is a touch of natural sweetness. Very good, clean and refreshing rosé. Don’t serve too cold! Perhaps take it out of the refrigerator 20 minutes or so before drinking, you will find the wine so much better for it. 29/04/16