We’re so excited to share the Clos Cibonne Cotes de Provence red with you, as this is one of our favorite wines for late summer and early fall! Clos Cibonne is a winery located in the town of Le Pradet, in southern Provence close to Bandol. The rare local grape that is grown here on clay and schist soils is called Tibouren. Tibouren is a sweet little grape that produces fascinating wines. In fact, the grape is so special that Clos Cibonne has special permission from the A.O.C. to put the name of the grape on their label in addition to the A.O.C. designation, which is Cotes de Provence. We’ve heard a rumor that the Tibouren grape is related to the light Ligurian red rossese (used in the Dolceacqua DOC wines), but Clos Cibonne winemaker Andre flatly denies it, partially because he has “never heard of Liguria.”
All of their grapes are grown organically, though the winery is not certified organic. They employ huge 100 year old “foudres” (giant 5,000L wooden barrels) that don’t give an oaky flavor to the wines, but instead allow them to breath through the wood.
Rather than being intense or big and heavy like many southern Provence reds, this red has a refreshing acidity and balance that make it an easy sipper. Partially because the Tibouren grape is thin-skinned and sweet and partially due to the situation of their vines, the Clos Cibonne wines never taste baked or overripe. Vaguely spicy and herbal aromas are mixed with red fruit scents. On the palate this wine has just enough tannin to keep it brisk, but with a nice juicy berry fruit and a silky mouthfeel. Basically, we love this wine for its easy drinkability. The Clos Cibonne Cuvee Speciale red with a slight chill and a plate of brandade or a salty anchoïade and a crusty baguette make for a perfectly light end of summer meal.