Interview published in issue 4 of Click & Drink with Florent Dumeau, winemaker of the Faculty of Enology of Bordeaux and advisor to wineries and vineyards for more than 15 years. Currently, he collaborates with wineries in 8 countries, mostly in France (Saint Emilion, Pomerol, Provence), Spain (Bodegas Habla, Bodega La Mejorada and a project in La Rioja Alavesa), Italy (Valpolicella, Sicilia), South Africa, and Greece, Turkey, Serbia and Hungary.
He has worked with Bodegas Habla since 2005, and four years ago they started the Rita project; it is a very unique wine that has given us the opportunity for a deeper conversation with Florent about rosés.
How was Rita born? And the project in France?
It is very simple. In 2009, Juan Tirado – president of Bodegas Habla – told me that he admired the great rosés, particularly those from Provence like Château d’Esclans or Domaine d’Ott, and he asked me how we could produce a great rosé here. I replied: “Well, let’s go to Provence!” That’s how it started. After several trips and three years of searching, we finally found a vineyard in a good area of Côte de Provence, facing the mountain Sainte Victoire.
Spain boasts good vineyards and terroirs for producing rosé wines. Why has Bodegas Habla decided to make a wine in Provence?
It is true, Spain has great potential to produce great rosé wines. But Provence is Provence, it is the rosé capital of the world, and I think its chic side and its glamour with Saint Tropez and the other typical towns of the area, fits very well with the philosophy and image of Habla.
And the name, why Rita? It’s funny, different…
It is a question for Valentín, our graphics and artistic creator, but the shape of Rita’s bottle and the exuberant character of the wine remind us of the famous Hollywood sex appeal that Rita Hayworth embodied in the 40s … It is a tribute to the glamour of the time.
Another distinctive feature of Rita is the glass stopper, why was it decided to use it?
It should be noted that the glass stopper allows preserving the wine and its aromas in better conditions than a classic cork. Our first concern is to present the wine to the consumer in perfect conditions, therefore the choice of the stopper has not been purely aesthetic. However, it is true that its aesthetic fits perfectly with Rita.
Turning the conversation to Provence; is it the best area to produce rosé wines?
Surely one of the best; undoubtedly the most famous.
Why do certain rosé wines have such a high price? Do grape varieties, the production process or a reduced production have any influence on this?
First, because the area of Côte de Provence is limited, and as the consumption of rosé wine has skyrocketed in recent years, there is less and less availability in the market and – logically – prices go up.
Furthermore, Côte de Provence has worked extensively on communication and some brands are enjoying great worldwide success today: this is the case of Minuty, Miraval or Whispering Angel by Sacha Lichine.
Where else is Rita sold; in Spain or abroad?
Today Rita is mostly sold in Spain, but sales abroad are growing, particularly on the two American continents.
Do you think that the consumption of rosé wine is a passing fad or a trend that will last over time?
In recent years the consumption of rosé in France has increased between 20% and 35% each year… It is an incredible growth and given the trend and global warming, we can imagine that this development will continue that way for many more years.
Are the rosé wines already considered as good food pairing wines in Spain, or are they still considered more as summer wines?
I believe that there is a tremendous potential for development in Spain. Gradually, I find more and more rosé wines in more restaurants. We have observed the same phenomenon in Italy for a few years. It is difficult to change the habits of consumers: this is where avant-garde wineries such as Habla have an important role to play.
What do you like to pair Rita with?
I love pairing Rita with seafood, even oysters, but in my opinion, it is a must to try it with white cheeses like Beaufort or Comté.
Provence produces rosés that can be kept for several years. How long can you save a Rita?
The grand rosés from Provence always present freshness and aromatic exuberance. These are characteristics that are lost over time. Its light pale colour also tends to evolve over the years. I am not in favour of aging rosés: to really enjoy them, you should drink them young, I would say bottles between one and three years of age, and the same goes for Rita.
Has Bodegas Habla considered expanding the range of rosés? A Rita Ice, for example?
I don’t think you will see a Rita Ice… But another rosé in our range, surely yes. We are evaluating it, although it will have to be unique and original, as always… And, at this moment in time, the truth is that it will be difficult to find a place for another rosé to stand side by side with Rita…
Habla Rita 2016