Wine of the Week 26: Terre Paisible Isabelle Rosé 2022

Terre Paisible Rose

A graceful Provençal-style rosé for year-round sipping.

A relatively new name on the Franschhoek landscape, Terre Paisible has quietly been crafting a boutique range of small batch vintages, with consultant winemaker Adam Mason of VinMason at the helm. The tranquil farm just off the Wemmershoek road (not yet open to the public) is home to old-vine sauvignon blanc and chardonnay vineyards, as well as olive and lemon orchards, with long views towards the Simonsberg mountains. With the Francophile sensibilities of the Belgian owners, the Franschhoek Valley setting, and Mason’s own winemaking history (at Klein Constantia, Mulderbosch and De Morgezon), a Provençal-style rosé was a natural choice to add to the collection.

Rosé credentials

Terre Paisible Rose Winemaker

“I started making rosé when I was winemaker at Klein Constantia,” Mason says. “Franck Dangereux from the Food Barn said, ‘listen, there’s no decent rosé in South Africa’, and he kicked off a mini competition among the winemakers in the valley. This was in 2004/5. The rosé scene was very different then, the wines were a lot darker, riper. I made a cabernet franc rosé, picked the grapes early, treated it like a white wine. He chose it out of all the different rosés presented to him. That was a moment of clarity for me.”

For Terre Paisible he set out to make a very traditional Provençal rosé using a classic blend of grenache and mourvedre.

River terrace terroir

Terre Paisible Rose Grapes

As Terre Paisible currently only grows sauvignon blanc and chardonnay, Mason sourced the grenache and mourvedre from river terrace vineyards on the Blaauwklippen river in Stellenbosch. “The soils are quite rocky, much as you would see in Châteauneuf du Pape and the Rhône, with alluvial boulder beds. Grenache and mourvedre seem to thrive in those soils,” he says. “These are low-yielding mature vines, they must be just over 20 years old now, with very nice development of flavour. Often rosé is made from what people don’t deem good enough to go into their red wines, but these are top-tier quality, they go into red wine too. We just picked intentionally early to make the style of rosé we want.”

Maturation in wooden vats

Mason decided on large 4000l foudres as the fermentation vessel, a first for him, which he’s excited about. “If you look at properties in Provence and the Mediterranean coastline they all ferment in very large oak barrels. It provides a lot of richness and texture to the wine with the benefit of maturation on lees. On its own the freshness and vibrancy from an early picked grape can be quite searing. But as soon as you give it time on the lees the wine evolves with more of a biscuity, brioche, creamy character. It makes the palate more complex and intriguing, offsets the acidity and leaner profile from the early picked fruit. And it also preserves the wine; the longer you leave on the lees, the better the wine in my opinion.”

Terre Paisible Isabelle Rosé 2022

Terre Paisible Rose Bottle

Pale salmon to light copper in hue, it’s a graceful wine from the first sip. Smooth and subtle fruit with hints of rose petals, stone fruit and just a touch of almond, the palate is richly layered and beautifully balanced. The classic maturity of the wine is complimented by sophisticated but unconventional packaging: an engraved bottle and a crown cap closure for the 2022 vintage, which has been replaced by a Vino-lok closure for the 2023 bottling.

Year-round sipping

Terre Paisible Rose Pairing

People often associate rosé with summer drinking, but over the last decade it’s starting to be seen as an all-year pleasure. “Rosé fills the gap between red and white. It’s a very versatile style of wine and defies placement in a season,” says Mason. “For me it’s a thirst quencher; I will reach for it as an aperitif, but it can be served with so many things. It does very nicely with salmon, blinis, canapés, tomato pastas… the time on lees gives it a slightly savoury quality which also works with sophisticated savoury flavours like tapas, Asian street food, or ramen.”
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The Inside Guide has made every effort to ensure that the information in this post was correct at the time of publication. However, we do not assume any liability caused by errors, such as price, cost, time, and location.

Time of publication: 23 April 2024