Most of you will be familiar with the name Williams Chase from their fantastic Gins and Vodkas made in Herefordshire (the Chase Marmalade Vodka is a particular favourite – try it with some tonic, ice and a slice of orange). Did you know that the Chase family also make wine? In fact, they have just released their first wine in the UK – Williams Chase Rosé.
Check the current availability of Williams Chase Rosé here.
The owners of Chase Distillery, William and his wife Katie, recently purchased a wine estate in Provence called Chateau Constantin. The estate is located in the commune of Lourmarin 20 minutes to the north of Aix-en-Provence in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region – you may recognise the name of the village, it is where the author Peter Mayle lived and set his book “A Year in Provence”.
The vineyards at Chateau Constantin, now known as Chateau Constantin Chase, cover some 20 hectares with most of the vines being planted in the 1960s. Williams Chase Rose 2013 is a blend of Rhone-type grape varieties and is a 60% Grenache, 30% Syrah and 10% Rousanne. After the grapes are destalked and pressed the must undergoes a short period of cold maceration on the skins for 24 hours at 5˚C – it is this that gives the wine its delicate pink colour. The wine then undergoes a temperature controlled fermentation below 17˚C followed by ageing on the lees for several months prior to bottling. The lees ageing adds complexity and helps to develop the delicate flavours and aromas. I understand that this is just the first of a range of wines from Williams Chase so I suspect a red and a white will follow in due course. Williams Chase Rose is bottled as a Luberon Appellation Protégée.
Williams Chase Rose is presented in a very smart, elegant bottle that matches the the Willams Chase Vodka and Gin bottles. One item of note is the closure – the wine is sealed with a Vinolok closure. The Vinolok is a 100% inert crystal stopper with a plastic seal that has been available for a number of years. I think the Vinolok is great for white and rosé wines that are supposed to be drunk whilst they are young and fresh and one can guarantee the wine will not be corked. The Vinolok hasn’t really caught on with wine producers as much as it could have done and I suppose this is a combination of cheaper alternatives (DIAM corks, Stelvin and screwcap closures) and the fact that most wine producers are, in essence, fairly conservative. The overall presentation is very attractive and Williams Chase actively encourage re-using their bottles and closures for all sort of things such bottling homemade damson or sloe gin or sauces and salad dressings.
Tasting Notes: Williams Chase Rose 2013 has a good, clear, delicate salmon pink colour. The nose is dominated by sweet red fruit including strawberries (reminiscent of tinned strawberries) with creamy notes (typical of lees ageing) alongside some herbaceous and good mineral notes. The palate is quite full with more strawberry flavours, redcurrant and red apple notes. It has a very good creamy mouthfeel and a well-balanced crisp, dry, clean finish. Surprisingly complex! Williams Chase Rose would be great as an aperitif, with salads, cous cous, Mediterranean vegetables or just on its own on a sunny day in the garden.