Red Blend •Napa Valley & Sierra Foothills
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Mission Codename: True Provence
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: In time for Summertime fun, Infiltrate Azur Winery and secure an ample quantity of their Provence-style Rosé
_Mission Status_: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Azur Winery
Wine Subject: 2009 Rosé
Winemaker: Julien Fayard
The Wine Spies are always on the hunt for the best wines that we can find. When it comes to Rosé , we are exceedingly difficult to please. Today’s wine comes to us from one of Agent Red’s favorite new wineries, Azur Wines. Made by French winemaker, Julien Fayard, Azure’s wines are crafted in a traditional Provence style, making them a refreshing and complex departure from California Rosé .
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Beautiful light copper at its heart, this wine shows a ring of fine peach hues at its edges. When swirled, the wine settles quickly, leaving behind a cascade of chubby legs that begin high up on the glass.
Smell – Bright and complex, with a very unique mix of aromas. These include warm summer earth, pumpkin flowers, strawberry leaf, orange peel, subtle tutti-frutti candy and subtle dried fall leaves.
Feel – Soft on entry with a grippiness that starts at the rear of the palate and spreads forward, leading to a softly viscous, crushed velvet feel and a soft minerality.
Taste – Tart citrus peel, young strawberry, dried pink rose petal, earthy violets and wildflower honey.
Finish – Medium long and delicate, with citrus peel, chalky minerals, wildflower honey and berry bramble.
Conclusion – This is a unique and character-driven Rosé that invites extended sniffing and sipping. The more time I spent with the wine, the more I got from it. Brighter and more complex than most California Rosé, this born-in-California wine is crafted in a true Provence style that give the wine a unique overall profile. This, in turn, provide you with a truly unique sipping experience that should no fan of Rosé should miss. We paired our sample bottles with shredded pork tacos, which worked beautifully. I would also recommend serving with an assortment of hard cheeses, such as a Mimolette. Most of all, enjoy this complex and character-filled Rosé with good friends!
WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER
SUBJECT: Julien Fayard
WINE EDUCATION: Master of Agribusiness at the Agricultural university of Angers : ESA, Master in Winemaking and fermentation sciences
CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF: Azurwines (Napa, USA) 07 – Present – Owner; Atelier Melka (Napa, USA), 06 – present – Position: Managing director, Projects: Lail Vineyards, Parallel Napa Valley, Gemstone, Melkawines, Dalla Valle, Norma Hunt, Tusk, Feathered Horse, Marston Family, Quintessa: 2003 Harvest intern
Outside of California: Chateau Lafite Rothschild, Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte, Chateau Sainte Marguerite
WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: Let the site speaks for itself. Be non-interventionist.
WINEMAKER QUOTE: “Napa: A Burgundian approach of Cabernet Sauvignon”
FIRST COMMERCIAL WINE RELEASE: 2007
AGENT RED: Greetings, Julien. We are thrilled to be showing your 2009 Rose today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.
WINEMAKER: It is my pleasure.
RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?
WINEMAKER: I cannot recall a specific experience. Being born and raised in France, I grew up around wine and organically grew into the wine business. I am fascinated by the complexity of wine and the young child intrigue around the family table became a daily passion
RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?
WINEMAKER: In California , my mentor is Philippe Melka which I had the chance to work closely with since 2006. Most influential wines would be Dalla Valle and Lail Vineyards.
RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.
WINEMAKER: Today we are featuring Azur Rose 2009. This wine is a dry rose composed of Syrah and a little bit of Semillon. I respect the way rose are made on the French Riviera and use the exact same technique with California fruits that I named Method Provencale: it involves, 100% direct press, cold fermentation and stainless steel aging. What sets Azur apart from the other rose is the dedication of the fruits for the project: Vineyards are 100% farmed to produce rose, grapes are picked at optimum maturity for rose. And this makes all the difference and sets Azur apart from its competition.
RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
WINEMAKER: What is your favorite dish? Azur rose is very versatile and a gastronomical delight to be paired with. Try, you’ll be surprised!
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
WINEMAKER: Making wine, year round – full schedule.
RED: Thank you for visiting with us today, Julien. We love your rose!
What the Winery Says
About This Wine:
California sunshine and Provence delights are captured in this vintage of rosé. Light rose color with copper hues; the nose opens to a delicate bouquet of white flowers with seductive peach accents. Fresh and focused, the sophisticated palate offers elegant layers of raspberry, strawberry and watermelon. An alluring mineral finish completes this purely harmonious wine.
About The Winery:
Philosophy: We wanted to create a Californian Rosé and Sauvignon Blanc, that could be enjoyed for its refinement, balance and refreshing qualities. We have found much inspiration in the methode provençale for our rosé.
The wines we produce reflect our dedication to haute quality with layers of details. Our goal is to craft the most beautiful provençal inspired wines in California. We have been inspired by each other’s cultures, French and American, and bring this to you to enjoy a touch of Provence!
Winemaking: Our focus is to produce the most exquisite rosé in California. Therefore, we do not practice the “saignée” method, which is a French word that means “to bleed”. A small portion of juice is bled away from the skins to make rosé and the remaining portion will produce another red wine with that specific grape varietal. Saignée gives rosé more color yet also more tannins, which is not ideal for such a delicate and refreshing wine.
Rosé Tradition: Rosé is the second most produced wine in France after red wine. France is the leading producer of rosés in terms of volume produced and consumption in the world.
Among France’s 3 main areas of rosé production, Loire Valley, Rhone and Provence, Provence (Cote d’Azur) is France’s leader in quantity produced and quality. Rosé accounts for 70% of wine production in Provence.
Rosé is one of the most versatile wines. It is the most popular wine in France during spring and summer. We have found much inspiration in the methode provençale.
What is methode provencale?: We found that there were very little producers making methode provençale rosé. Methode provençale means that the red grapes grown and harvested are always destined to solely produce rosé and rosé only. After the grapes are harvested, they are whole cluster pressed—similar to white wine, and then are directly fermented. This allows for little or no skin maceration, which provides the wine with a lighter, salmon shade of pink and that delicate, refreshing, refined soft finish on the palate.
After fermentation, Rosé is aged in stainless steel tank before being released in spring.
Food Pairing: (please visit the website for pairing recipes) AZUR wines are meant to be refreshing during the warm season. The wine should calm your thirst while pairing with spring and summer fare.
The subtlety of the aromas makes Azur a versatile wine that can be married with thousands of gastronomical foods. From a simple fish on the grill with a just little bit of olive oil to a spicy Indian dinner.
Rosé is one of the world’s most versatile wines for food and wine pairings. With its delicate entrance on the palate and soft lingering finish, it compliments many culinary dishes.
It is part of the Mediterranean diet, composed of olive oil, figs, garlic, local fish, tomatoes, eggplants, onions and herbs. A perfect combination of powerful aromas, healthy food and the wine to compliment it.
About The Winemaker:
Winemaker, Julien Fayard – Julien Fayard brings a dynamic winemaking background from both his extensive studies and professional work experience in France and California. He has a Masters in Agribusiness and Winemaking. He studied in Bordeaux and the Loire Valley. Julien gained his knowledge and defined his winemaking style from working at grand Chateaux in France such as Lafite Rothschild, Smith Haut Laffite and Quintessa in Napa Valley. He recently returned to Napa Valley after having worked as a winemaker in Southern France for 3-years at Chateau Sainte Marguerite, a Cru Classé winery located in the Cote d’Azur, the area where he has been born and grew up.
Julien is also currently working with Philippe Melka (Food & Wine Magazine, “Winemaker of the Year 2005”) to develop, high-end luxury red wines from the coveted Napa valley. He is the owner and consulting winemaker for Fayard Wines & Azur Wines.
Varietals: Syrah – 60% Napa (yountville + oakville) 40% Sierra Foothills
Winemaking: Direct press, minimal skin contact, 100% stainless steel fermentation at low temperature
stainless steel aged