By Michael McCarthy By Michael McCarthy | April 12, 2023 | Food & Drink
AIX Rosé owner-winemaker Eric Kurver continues to create bottles in Provence that help us celebrate magical moments.
The rosé can be found in exceptional restaurants worldwide.
Singular purpose is a powerful thing. At least that’s the way Eric Kurver views the world. A little more than 15 years ago, Kurver, the owner-winemaker of Provence’s AIX Rosé, purchased an unprofitable 140-year-old winery that churned out reds and whites. With diligence and care—and a belief that sophistication comes from keeping things simple—he transformed the operation into a juggernaut by focusing on a single wine.
Owner and winemaker Eric Kurver
The transition made sense to Kurver, especially since Provence, with its mineral-rich soils, 300 days of sun each year and cooling winds, is the birthplace of rosé. The region also is the perfect environment for growing grenache, syrah and cinsault grapes, the blend used by Kurver and his team. The big bet paid off: Maison Saint AIX (pronounced “ex”) is now among France’s top and most respected rosé producers, and its wine is served in restaurants from St. Moritz to London to the States, including Call Me Gaby (Miami) and Le Diplomate (D.C.). Fans also can find AIX Rosé at Whole Foods.
“Rosé is everything that we do,” says Kurver. It’s one of our strengths, but we always have to protect it. Therefore, we work with selective distribution and base this on the trade promise: great rosé at great places—like a beautiful restaurant in London, a nice rooftop in New York or Ibiza, or a five-star hotel in Dubai. We want to be where people go for fun and for experiencing places that produce exceptional stories and memories.”
Provence enjoys 300 days of sun a year, plus mineral-rich soil.
Kurver says his goal each year is to produce a thoroughly enjoyable wine, but also one that’s complex and exclusive enough to win wide-ranging praise in wine circles. “Our very first vintage, AIX Rosé 2009, was awarded a gold medal at France’s most prestigious wine competition in Paris. Many gold medal vintages followed. With the knowledge we gathered in the vineyards and huge investments in the cellars, we improved our skills and fine-tuned the quality of AIX Rosé.”
For the disciples of AIX, they’ll note that, over the years, the wine resides in an appealing taste zone between warm-weather bliss—with its blush tones, balance of crisp acidity and ripe summer fruit—and being more complex and serious. The maison’s vintages have continued to receive high rates from Decanter, Wine Spectator and Robert Parker Wine Advocate.
AIX Rosé is perfect in any setting, especially with a range of bottle sizes.
Kurver says the 2022 vintage paints a picture of Provence’s climate and how his team’s sustainability practices will define the future of wine-growing in the region. After all, 2022 was the driest year in France since records began 500 years ago. “Thankfully, our high elevation and sustainable wine-growing practices mitigated much of the impact,” says the winemaker. “Our harvest timing was essential in retaining freshness, and an extra-gentle winemaking approach ensured the classic bright-red fruit characteristics AIX is renowned for.”
As for the 2022 tasting notes, Kurver says a swirl lifts the intense nose of fresh peach juice, raspberries and white floral blossom. “Fresh stone fruit, raspberries and the classic cranberry tang lead the palate and balance the fine acid tension. The rosé finishes with a refreshingly long, dry and balanced mineral line.”
Of course, like any great wine, there’s the intangible of sharing at summer gatherings. Maison AIX makes this easy, with bottles that range from 75 cl to the colossal Nebuchadnezzar, containing 15 liters of delicate salmon-pink wine. “If you open a 3-liter double magnum on a table with friends, the party has started,” says Kurver, laughing. Let the stories begin.
Photography by: AIX Rosé owner-winemaker Eric Kurver continues to create bottles in Provence that help us celebrate magical moments.