Martin Sinkoff
Martin Sinkoff

Wine of the Week: Ostal Cazes Rose 2020 (Minervois, rose)

Ostal Cazes Rose 2020, Minervois, rose. Courtesy Famille J-M Cazes.

In the 18th century the port of Bordeaux was the second largest port in the world after the port of London.

The port of Bordeaux. Hugo d’Alesi, 1899. Bordeaux archives in the public domain.

With direct access to the Atlantic Ocean, the port of Bordeaux was able to ship cereals, cocoa, sugar, spices, cotton and, of course, wine to the wealthy capitals of Northern Europe (London, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Hamburg).  Bordeaux was also a major slave trading port.  The port of Bordeaux, and the city, also effectively controlled all commerce from the center of France.

The Canal Royal renamed the Canal du Midi after the French revolution. Courtesy Wikimedia with full permission to use for this article.

Although linked to the port of Bordeaux by the Canal du Midi (built in the late 17th century from the Bassin de Thau — and Narbonne — to Bordeaux along  the Garonne through Toulouse and originally named the “Canal Royal” before the French revolution), the Languedoc, the Roussillon, the Ariege and the Southwest of France were dependent on Bordeaux to export their produce (and wine).  In the 13th century, Bordeaux established a restriction on commerce from the center and south of France named “le privilege de Bordeaux” (the privilege of Bordeaux).  The restriction forced wine producers from upstream to wait until after their harvests when the Bordelais had already shipped their wine and produce before they could use the port. This “privilege” lasted until after the French revolution but by that time, the damage had been done.  The inner regions were effectively impoverished.  As a result, Banyuls never achieved the status of Port, Armagnac never achieved the status of Cognac and the Languedoc, France’s largest vineyard, became a supplier of bulk wine despite the numerous superb vineyard sites and terroirs.

One result of the slow impoverishment of the interior cities and villages was a slow but steady migration of workers to Bordeaux.  In the late 1800s, Jean Cazes, a shepherd and migrant worker from the Ariege (south of Toulouse) spent winters in the Medoc working in the vineyards and eventually decided to make Pauillac his home.  His son, Jean-Charles became a baker.  Jean-Charles Cazes found his way to Chateau Lynch Bages in the early 1930s and became vineyard manager for the owner, General Felix de Vial (who did not know how to manage the property which was losing money).  In 1939 he purchased the property (he later bought the St. Estephe estate Les Ormes de Pez in 1941)

Chateau Lynch-Bages label courtesy

Jean-Charles Cazes was succeeded by his son, Andre Cazes, who was mayor of Pauillac, Andre by his son, Jean-Michel.  Jean-Michel Cazes is among the great men of wine and of Bordeaux in our era.  He has been a tireless ambassador for Lynch-Bages but, more, a tireless and generous ambassador for Bordeaux, the wine and the city. And a champion of the city of Pauillac!  (Jean-Michel’s sister, Sylvie Cazes was in large part responsible for building the wine museum in Bordeaux).  Jean-Michel married the love-of-his-life Maria-Thereza de Sousa Carregal Ferreira, a Portuguese citizen from a prominent family living in Mozambique (a Portuguese colony until 1975).  They have four children, Kinou, Marina, Catherine and Jean-Charles. Kinou is married to an Iranian, Catherine to an Israeli.

The “united nations” of the Cazes family. Portugal, the United States, Israel, Iran and France. Courtesy Jean-Michel Cazes and family.

And so Jean-Michel likes to refer to his family as a family of united nations!

In the early 2000s, with a suggestion by the famed English wine journalist, Jancis Robinson, the Cazes family purchased two estates in Minervois (Languedoc) and renamed them Ostal Cazes. Ostal is an ancient Languedoc word (“the language of Occitanie”) that means “domain” or “house” or “maison”.  In the purchase of Ostal Cazes, the family has returned in a symbolic way to its roots in the center of southern France.  A full circle! And today, Jean-Michel’s son, Jean-Charles Cazes, bearing the same name as his great-grandfather is in charge of the estates and company.  Another full circle! 

Ostal Cazes produces superb white, red and rose wines and the rose 2020 has just arrived in many markets.

Ostal Cazes Rose 2020 is a simply perfect rose!  Pale salmon color, which almost winks at you as you pick up the bottle, and the full aroma and flavor of summertime!  Beautiful!

Available in many markets for $16.00 or equivalent.  The wine is not certified Kosher.

Sante, Salud,  לחיים, Saúde, برای سلامتی تو, to Good Health!

About the Author
Martin Sinkoff is a (still new) Oleh Hadash in Israel (almost two years). He lives in Tel Aviv. "I have had a long and successful career in the wine trade in the United States and France. I have lived in many places in the United States, including twenty years in Dallas, Texas (which I loved). I moved to Israel from Manhattan (where I was born). I am a past president of Ansche Chesed in New York and an active member of Kehilat Sinai in Tel Aviv. And I am an avid reader of Torah. You can read more about me on my website" My writing reflects two of my passions: Torah and wine. The background photograph is a view of vineyards in the Judean Hills wine growing district of Israel, one of Israel's best appellations.
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