Clos Cibonne is undoubtedly considered as the pinnacle of Provencal rosé world from South France. The current generation, Claude and Olivier Deforges visited London last few days and opened some old and new bouteilles.
Estate prides itself on having their flagship rosé made from 100% Tibouren grape.
Tibouren is somewhat rare and uniquely grown in Provence region (roots: probably Middle Eastern side > Meso > Tibur).
There are other wineries who use it as blending but usually around 1-2% in blends. As Olivier said, Tibouren grapes are declining and currently around 400 ha.
Wineries are ripping them out and planting with more resistant cultivars with less princess-like features. It is understandable, because Tibouren is quite a challenge for winemakers. It’s an early budding variety that has a sensitivity to coulure..and because of that, it produces small yields. It catches oidium, mildew quickly. Has very light thin skin and it takes big effort to extract some soul and colour.
Enough of criticism ..it still has many great attributes which Clos Cibonne brings out the best.
It gives earthy and (that famous) garrigue-scented results. Red fruits and berries are mixed with a subtle reminiscence of spiciness lingering in the finish. Their wines have an enormous potential for age because Tibouren gives high levels of acidity and alcohol. Just recent experience with 1992 was enough to justify their ageing potential of this rosé:
This glass of (aged) rosé was something a bit new to me. I have visited Provence and encountered many styles of rosés. Chateau Simone has been by far my favourite one….
As Olivier said to me, Clos Cibonne has often been compared with Chateau Simone. The rosés of Simone are also full of character and energy. Clos Cibonne expresses very royal and sophisticated style of rosé. They have elegant nature, with more structured body ..where you can find and a lot of fruit and berry clusters.
More information on estates history can be found here:
Clos Cibonne produces in traditional way. Destemming, pressing and fermenting in stainless steel tanks. Maturation in big 130 y old oak foudres (5000L). Barrels are not topped up but left with a gap..making way for flor veil to appear.
Average age of vines: 4-25 years
Synonym: Rossese di Dolceacqua / Liguria
Clos Cibonne produces 3 main labels:
– Cuveés Tradition (rosé & red Tibouren)
– Cuveés Spéciales / Cuveé des Vignettes & Cuveé des Vieille Souches (from oldest vines)
– Cuveés Prestige (Cuvée Caroline or Olivier)
From wines I tasted the most significant and outstanding were Clos Cibonne Tibouren (rosé) Cuvée Spéciale des Vignettes 2016 and Cuvée Prestige Olivier. The former expressed the serious and sophisticated style of rosé. Medium body entwined with elegant Provencal garrigue character. Vibrant high acidity balancing those subtle spiciness emerging in the finish line. The red Prestige Olivier was aged in oak barrels of 300 L and was made predominantly from Syrah and some Grenache. Crazy well balanced 2015 hinted for enormous ability to age..
Their vintage insight of some years in Provence:
2003 – driest season
2015 – 2017 very rainy seasons
Clos Cibonne main export countries:
5. UK (what a surprise)
Their necoce label wines (which you can see up in pictures are in Bordeaux shape bottles) main export countries are:
2. Bermuda (could not believe that! :D 15,000 bottles sent annually)
Best place to stock up your fridge for summer with some attractive rosé – Red Squirrel Company can help you a LOT.