Any short list of Most Iconic Wineries in France would include Clos Cibonne: the centuries-old agricultural dreamland that prevented the magical Tibouren grape from going the way of the dodo. Believed to be an ancient grape variety, it was originally grown in Mesopotamia, propagated by the Greeks, and finally transported by the Romans to Italy in the Liguria region, where it is known as Rossese.
But it's here, in the heart of the heart of Provence, that the grape reaches its apotheosis. Their Tibouren-dominant rosé is that rare thing: a cult pink. Beguiling, age-worthy, and on the wine lists of many of the greatest restaurants in the world. Legendary among French wine collectors for its texture, substance, and ability to age for a decade or more, there's a lot that goes into making the 'Speciale' well, special.
To start, it's aged under 'flor' (a thin veil of yeast, similar to the process in Sherry or Jura wines) in 120-year-old, massive, huge, ginormous barrels for over a year. (I.e., there's no oak influence on the flavor of the wine.) But it's those 60-year-old, deep-rooted Tibouren vines that make up the core of its wonder: herb-laced strawberries, wild raspberries, white peaches and those 'garrigue' notes that mean we're in the southern Med. Bright acidity enlivens its bottomless depths, and its long, fresh finish all but begs you to return. This wine is both serious and a baby: it's all kinds of delightful this summer, but anyone who forgets a bottle in their cellar will be amply rewarded in time.