Review: 2018 Domaine de Cala Rose Wines
Domaine de Cala is a Provence-based winery spearheaded by chef Joachim Splichal. Now in its third vintage, the winery focuses exclusively on rose wines.
A little extra info:
After a monumental career in the hospitality industry, followed by years of searching for the perfect vineyard and a lifelong dream of opening a winery, Splichal launched Domaine de Cala in 2015. Located in Brignoles, a quick 35 miles from the coastal town of Saint-Tropez, Domaine de Cala spans 600 acres with 120 acres of vineyards planted to Cinsault, Grenache, Syrah and Rolle. All wines produced by Cala are 100% estate grown and bottled. The estate also features wild boar and game during hunting season, a brand-new winery and tasting room designed by French architects Michel Roberts and Eric McDonald, along with a newly renovated bastide adjacent to a 19th century chateau.
Since the inception of the winery, Splichal has put together a team of the best winemaking talent in Europe, beginning with Stéphane Derenoncourt. A self-taught winemaker born and raised in northern France, Derenoncourt brings over 35 years of winemaking experience from across the world and oversees the Rouge and Blanc production (first release of Cala Rouge will be out this Spring.) Winemaker Bruno Tringali, originally from the southern French town of Toulon, is known for his work with rosé wines. He also brings over 30 years of experience to the team and has been working with and studying agriculture since the age of 14. At the age of 18 he earned his diploma of oenology from Montepellier’s Faculté de Pharmacie. Today, he works with Derenoncourt to ensure the highest quality in every aspect and oversees the production of Cala Rose and Cala Prestige Rose, which will be released this summer.
Let’s dig into the two wines from the 2018 vintage.
2018 Domaine de Cala Rose Coteaux Varois en Provence – “The flagship of the winery… a blend of Cinsault, Syrah, Grenache and Rolle.” Any paler in color and you’d assume “Cala Classic” was a white wine. Crisp and grassy, it offers light notes of lemon peel, ruby red grapefruit, and just a hint of floral character that evokes classic rose notes. Quite dry with just a hint of nutmeg and marshmallow on the back end. B+ / $17
2018 Domaine de Cala Rose Prestige Coteaux Varois en Provence – “A more exclusive and elevated expression” with its varietals enumerated: 40% Grenache, 29% Syrah, 16% Rolle, and 15% Cinsault. Just a touch more color here, but a considerable amount of additional fruit: Gentle peach and apricot notes meld with the lemon and grapefruit notes of the standard edition, revealing a lightly sweet but rather tart, touched just so with surprisingly savory notes of bacon and pork rinds. A different experience, to be sure. B+ / $27