A Corsican rosé – a wine match for Transit by Anna Seghers

Last October I read Transit by Anna Seghers, a haunting novel of shifting identities, questions of destiny and the quest to secure safe passage from France during the German occupation in WW2. It’s a remarkable story inspired by Seghers’ own experience as a refugee as she fled from Europe in the early 1940s. (If you’re not familiar with this novel, I’d encourage you to take a peek at my review – it made my end-of-year highlights.)

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A sizeable chunk of the novel is set in Marseille where the narrator Siedler (or is it Weidel?) and his companions dine on slices of pizza, all washed down with copious quantities of rosé wine. I had intended to write about rosé at the time, but winter was fast approaching and to my mind this style of wine is best enjoyed in the sunshine. We’ve had some decent weather in the UK over the last week, so I opened my first rosé of the year, a wine from Corsica.

I get a bit annoyed when people dismiss rosé as “girly” or “not a serious wine”. (Even terms like “pink drink” set my teeth on edge a little.) There are some very sleek rosés around these days. My favourites include the pale and delicate rosés from Provence, wines from producers like Domaine Houchart and Domaine Rimauresq.

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Earlier this week I tried a different rosé, the latest vintage of a favourite wine from Corsica: The Society’s Corsican Rosé, 2014. This is a delicate and elegant wine, a crushed-berries-and-cream rosé made from Nielluccio (Sangiovese) – there may be a touch of Sciaccarello and Grenache in the blend, too.  It’s dry and refreshing, with a slightly creamy note that balances the acidity of the fruit. A delightful wine, possibly the best vintage yet.

It’s produced by Clos Culombu, and I’ve enjoyed their wines for several years (they also make a delicious, slightly herby white from the Vermentino grape).

Transit gives few details about the wine Siedler/Weidel and his companions drink in the Marseille pizzeria, but I’d like to think that any of the rosés mentioned here would make a fitting match.

Wine stockist: I bought my bottle of The Society’s Corsican Rosé, 2014 from The Wine Society, priced at £8.95 per bottle.

Transit by Anna Seghers (tr. Margot Bettauer Dembo) is published by NYRB Classics. Source: personal copy.

20 thoughts on “A Corsican rosé – a wine match for Transit by Anna Seghers

  1. MarinaSofia

    There’s nothing more delicious for a light supper in summer amongst friends (especially on a terrace or veranda) than a rosé. I completely agree. Thanks for the recommendations. I have a Provence rosé in the fridge for tonight, but the weather is a bit grey… we’ll see… It’s AOC Coteaux Varois de Provence.

    Reply
    1. JacquiWine Post author

      Oh, absolutely! Something like a Salade Niçoise or seared tuna steak would be perfect. I hope the weather brightens up a little. You’ll have to let me know what you think of the Coteaux Varois de Provence, I’m curious to hear more.

      Reply
  2. gertloveday

    Rose got a bad name here back in my youth when as I recall it was quite sickly and definitely considered a ‘woman’s drink’. I didn’t try it again till on holiday in Spain a couple of years ago and completely changed my opinion!

    Reply
    1. JacquiWine Post author

      Exactly. Rosé used to get a bit of a bad rap, but there are some lovely examples around these days: dry wines that are light on their feet. I’m quite partial to the occasional Spanish Rosado. Bodegas Muga produce a nice one.

      Reply
  3. kaggsysbookishramblings

    I loved Transit – what a great read! – and the idea of a nice chilled bottle of rose alongside it is lovely!

    Reply
    1. JacquiWine Post author

      It’s an amazing book, isn’t it? I hope one or two other readers might be tempted to give it a go. I couldn’t help but think of Anna Seghers when I opened this bottle…

      Reply
  4. Col

    Will definitely try Transit though might be without the Rose! Alas I know little of wine beyond ‘I like it’ or ‘I don’t like it’!! But you’ve also made me think about beer and book combinations! I must try a few out! Any excuse and all that……..!

    Reply
    1. JacquiWine Post author

      Ha! Yes, please do try Transit. It’s a remarkable story, all the more so when you learn a little about its connection to Seghers’ own experience. The NYRB edition comes with an illuminating introduction.

      Have fun with the idea of book and beer pairings. I look forward to hearing more…

      Reply
  5. realthog

    Personally I find the problem with book and booze pairings is that, after a while, the plot becomes unusually hard to follow . . .

    But you’ve reminded me that we have a bottle of fizzy rose in the fridge, so that may get pulled out tonight.

    Reply
    1. JacquiWine Post author

      Rosé is a great choice for the barbecue, perfect for grilled meats and salads. It can be hard to find the right wine to pair with meze-style food and salads, but this style of rosé is just the thing. A versatile wine.

      Reply
  6. Scott W.

    I would hope this would be quite a bit better than the rosé consumed in Transit, in the opening pages of which it’s made clear that the wine is some wretchedly adulterated war-time plonk:

    “Be careful with that rosé! It tastes just the way it looks, like raspberry syrup, but can make you incredibly tipsy. It’s easier then to put up with everything. Easier to talk. But when the time comes to get up, your knees will be wobbly. And depression, a perpetual state of depression will take hold of you – till the next glass of rosé. All you want is to be allowed to just sit there, never again to get involved in anything.”

    Reply
    1. JacquiWine Post author

      Haha! Yes, this Corsican number, and the two from Provence, are a definite step up from the syrupy rosés of old. (I very nearly pulled that ‘raspberry syrup’ quote from the novel, but I thought it might reinforce the stereotypical image!) ;)

      Reply
  7. Brian Joseph

    I love the way that you have connected this book with wine Jacqui.

    My wife and I have had some very serious and high quality rosé’s and our subject of conversation when drinking them is often how too many folks only know about the less serious overly sweet ones.

    I am going to point my wife in the direction of this one as she is the wine buyer in our household.

    Reply
    1. JacquiWine Post author

      Thanks, Brian. It’s just a bit of fun!

      That’s very interesting – I’m really pleased to hear this. I completely agree, there are some very serious rosé wines around…the Provençal and Corsican rosés are my faves. Perfect for summer.

      Reply

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