In some respects one feels sorry for Regine Sumiere. Owner of the Chateau Barbeyrolles vineyard in Provence, she should surely be enjoying some time amid her rose-bush-punctuated vines, or at least sampling her heavenly rosé, harboured from Provence’s early summer sunshine in some shady alcove.
Instead she finds herself forever travelling across Europe, telling people what they soon know from one taste of her delicate, light wine: that she makes very, very good rosé. It’s a taste that makes you empathise with how little time she actually gets to spend at home… but it’s hard to sympathise that much with a Provencal chateau owner – revolutions have started over less.
When we meet she’s staying in London with a friend. Fortunately that friend happens to be her fellow countryman Sylvain Ercoli, managing director of the Bulgari Hotel in London. They’re charming company and wonderful hosts, both very aware of the alchemy their hospitality and wine have achieved by being brought together with the gastronomic delights provided by a third compatriot: Alain Ducasse.
The Bulgari’s swish Rivea restaurant is entering its second summer and to celebrate has launched a Pétale de Rosé menu. Ducasse’s simple dishes sit well alongside the elegant 2013 Pétale de Rosé of Chateau Barbeyrolles.
Pictured above: Regine Sumiere’s Chateau Barbeyrolles vineyard in Provence
The starters are burrata with tomato and basil leaf and dish of squid and cuttlefish accompanied by the crunch of borage and crispy vegetables. It’s seasonal stuff and compliments the cool and fresh lightness of the wine well.
On the basis that rosé, red mullet, fennel and olive taggiasca are already old friends at a party, I opted for the veal piccata with capers, lemon and pine nuts. It’s a more complex combination than the starters that is a pleasure without being swamped by oversized flavours.
My favourite thing about the whole experience was how this dish brought out the soft, buttery underbelly of the wine. There’s a golden, slightly fruity, rounded, almost warm, flavour within it. It was always there, you just need to know where to look, as Ducasse clearly does – one hopes via hours of joyful exploring.
Of course no such dinner would be complete without tipping its hat to the traditional sweetness associated with rosé. Dessert embraces this unashamedly, providing the sugar and the candy-floss colours through a mara des bois strawberry and poppy finger-macaron.
It’s not quite the same as having your own Provençal vineyard, but thanks to Madame Sumiere’s travels, the Pétale de Rosé menu runs it pretty close.