Every April at Provence we have a little silly fun and celebrate Poisson D’Avril, the French equivalent of April Fool’s Day. The custom goes like this; French children stick paper cut-outs shaped like fish on the backs of their unsuspecting friends. If you are found to have a fish on your back you are considered the fool. I think we have improved upon this tradition, adding fun treats like gift certificates on our fish.
April is also the beginning of halibut season. There is such an abundance of fantastic, fresh, sustainable seafood available. To celebrate this, Chef Jean-Francis has created a stunning three course menu featuring…. you guessed it, fish!
The perfect spring wine, which happens to pair especially well with all things seafood, is dry rosé. This classic style in the south of France, especially Provence, is slowly becoming a prominent style in BC as well. Our cooler climate is perfect for producing the bold acidic backbone that is the hallmark of a good rosé. One such example is the crisp juicy Blanc de Noir from Garry Oaks on Salt Spring Island. This wine is inviting, with a vibrant salmon hue and grapefruit and berries on the nose. The palate is mouth watering and very refreshing. One sip and I was envisioning myself on a patio, giggling with the gals on a sunny afternoon.
Even California, formerly known for the abomination that is white zinfandel, is producing great dry rosé. We are currently pouring a lovely example from Blackbird Vineyards. A combination of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, this wine is a bold strawberry pink color with plenty of bright fruit on both the nose and palate. This wine has more body and concentration than the Garry Oaks, making it the perfect pairing for some of the bold flavors like bell pepper, anchovies, and olives in our Provence Style Nicoise Salad.
Though Provence is the region in France most known for rosés, they certainly aren’t the only region producing this style. Tavel is a small region in the Southern Rhone Valley that produces only rosé. One of my favorite French producers, Chapoutier, makes a fantastic example of Tavel in the classic style; a touch richer in both color and body than the rosés of Provence, but with the same racy acidity. Chapoutier is great for so many reasons, including having braille on all their wine labels, because I’m pretty sure blind folks enjoy wine just as much as the rest of us.
For the month of April we have extra rosés available by the glass, many of which are paired with the delicious selections on our three course chefs menu. Can’t decide? Our Sommelier, Rod, has put together a flight of three different rosés so you have a great excuse to try them all!