Thank heavens summer is upon us once again. We had such a brutal winter that we had to control ourselves from ordering rosé in February!! Beer is refreshing after skiing but rosé runs a close second. Now remember we are not talking white zinfandel here. We mean those clean, crisp refreshing rosés. This often overlooked wine is being enjoyed more and more by Americans.
Rosés are made around the world using a wide variety of grapes but when they come from France they are still mostly Grenache, Syrah and Cinsault. These wines should be drunk young and chilled.
Charles Bieler, currently residing in Harlem, is widely associated with quality rosé and has been since 1998. That was the year his father asked him to move back to Provence from Vermont to help at the family’s winery, Chateau Routas. At one point Charles Bieler drove across the USA in a 1965 Pink Cadillac Sedan Deville pouring rosé at every stop. He was marketing his Chateau Routas Rosé. He is not a winemaker but a producer and he sure knows how to produce value wines and with whom to partner.
When Charles was 21 years of age his father Phillipe asked him for help. Philippe had just too much going on at the winery. Charles being an innovator decided on rosé to make his mark. A few years later when Philippe sold the Chateau he went in as a partner with Charles on Bieler Père et Fils in Coteaux d’Aix en Provence. What a fabulous rosé they produce! We know from drinking it and the quantity we sell at our small store.
Charles wasn’t about to stop there. He also developed Three Thieves in 2001 with Joel Gott. We carried this wine when it was first released and bottled in small, one liter jugs. Now it comes in Tetra Paks so it is greener, lightweight and also resealable. In 2005 Charles developed The Show once again utilizing great packaging. While working with Charles Smith, the Wild man of the West and owner of Washington K wines, they came up with Charles & Charles rosé. This is yet another fabulous value rosé. Charles Bieler is not a vintner but a man that knows how to market his product. He is going after value wines not the snob appeal.
Not content to sit back and reap the benefits of his ventures he started to work with a former winemaker for Lamoreaux Landing, a winery in the Finger Lakes. This would be called The Gotham Project which produces Riesling that is sold to bars and restaurants in 20 liter kegs!
Not ready to retire yet he produces a Mezcal with Richard Betts the wine director from Little Nell in Aspen. Oh, and lets not forget he recently had his first pressing of Pinot Noir from the Andes. Charles Bieler is a man who dreams innovations and makes them reality.
Always thinking out of the box, he is unafraid of taking risks while shaking up the more conservative members of the wine world, always with his trademark impish grin and an eye on the pleasures of life.