The wine that caused a revolution. Not only because of the sweep of berries, cherry and currants. Or the freshness and precision that marks the palate. But also the elegant, historic presentation and vibrant salmon-pink colour. It’s lovely with pink food. Think salmon and prawn.
“The wine lover’s Chateau D’Esclans”. This is the most serious wine from this winery. Made like a pink Puligny Montrachet, it has more complexity, a seam of integrated oakiness and firmer, food-loving acidity. This is the wine to have with richer meat dishes, slightly richer and more acidic sauces. It’s a pity that it lives in the shadow of its flashy siblings. I’ve always loved this.
Apparently the most expensive rose in the world. So why is it so popular? I refer you to the first sentence and vast numbers of very rich people with yachts who stay in St Tropez. This is genuinely very good. Complex, herbal, intricately textured and with serious, dry fruit. It’s gorgeous with sea bream plainly grilled. But it’s mostly famous for being, well famous. Not unlike some of its biggest fans.
Rock Angel is the drier, more restrained, more herbal sibling of Chateau D’Esclan’s pool-party Whispering Angel. It’s no wall-flower (it was launched at a party in LA with Rod Stewart) but perhaps more of a foodie style. Avoid anything with too much acidity or fat, but perhaps plainly grilled fish or a lightly-dressed salad.
Here you’ll find a refreshing spirit of adventure in Provencal rose making. Owners Lord and Lady Bamford (of JCB digger fame) add a splash of Cabernet Sauvignon to local grapes to inject more fruit, power and polish in their “secret”. It’s a wine for the table, not the beach, with a touch of currant and berry over the herbal, dry strawberry notes. Curious, as the vineyards actually run down to the beach in St Tropez.
Owner Sacha Lichine insists that if you listen while drinking this “you can hear the angels sing”. If you haven’t guessed he’s quite a charmer. Insanely popular, this is the fruity end of the Provencal rose spectrum. Ripe wild strawberries, soft and rounded mouthfeel and a hint of herbs. This is the one for parties on the beach and nights in the Jacuzzi. Or nights at home when you want to pretend.
One for when Matthew Rhys pops round for supper (buy two bottles). The dragon on the label is an homage to winemaker Nicola Allison’s Welsh upbringing. Today she makes this full-flavoured, minerally rose with her Kiwi husband Sean on the banks of the Gironde. Lots of fruit to match… well, anything. But my own favourite is a mild lamb tagine.
It’s crackers to think that a generation ago, rose was a flibbertigibbet footnote in the wine statistics. Today there are pinks of every hue and palates from the tangy to tropical. This is in the melon, peach, strawberry, fruit salad variety. Lots of juicy fruit and light on the herbal notes. A dry wine, lovely with salads and tortillas (I discovered) but with a sun-warmed fruit.
Go… go to Santa Barbara and do what we did. We just walked into this funky looking tasting room and discovered a gem. You’ll not find the wines anywhere else, but you will walk away with a smile on your face. This was a joyful reinterpretation of Rose Zinfandel and a strawberry-ish delight. Municipal Wine won the prize for the best tasting room of series 2. And series 1. Probably series 3 too.
Close your eyes and you’re not drinking rose at all. This is a peach and citrus white with an expressive grapefruit freshness. But on the palate, you feel it. The garrigue. The grain of earthy red grapes. All telling you it’s time for ratatouille and some seafood pasta or a hearty soup. Or, if we’re honest, a quiet sit down on the beach in St Tropez.
A sparkling addition to the Gamay revolution. Wine people have become quite animated by Gamay, the grape of Beaujolais. Bit it’s rarely fizzy, which is a pity, because it makes fun, vibrant and vivid wines like this retro-cool pink number. It’s all about the grapey, raspberry fruit rather than lingering toasted brioche and bags of fun. I like it with curry.
This is the fruity, fleshy brother (or sister) to the more delicate, restrained, elegant Mirabeau Pure. Summer parties are made of this. Expressively fruity, candy-floss soft and delicious. The first duty of rosé is to still be delicious at 5pm when you started pouring it at 12.00 when everyone arrived. This performs its timeless duty with aplomb.
Few wines have changed fortunes, and made fortunes, as quickly as Provencal Rose. It’s gone from shabby to chic in a decade or so. Thanks to families like the Cronks. Incomers only satisfied with the purest strawberry and raspberry aromas. Wines touched by the texture and tang of rhubarb. Match with anything to be honest. Although a Provencal crudité selection and onion tart is perfect.
I have to say, I do love this wine. It’s brave and confident and doesn’t try to mimic pink wines from elsewhere. Instead this is a rose-scented pink wine with a heart of ripe strawberry fruit. It has the mouth-filling perfume of a great fizz, but doesn’t expect you to go looking for aromas and flavours. It delivers them to you. Delicious.
Behind the almost Edwardian label on this wine is one of the region’s most innovative and experimental producers. They’re true to the wine’s roots, making this sweet (‘dolce’) rose. But this isn’t flibbertigibbet fizz, it’s great with roasted pork, (think apple sauce) and charcuterie.
Whatever fizz you were going to serve at your next barbecue, don’t. Serve this instead. It’ll be more delicious with the food, you can tell jokes about Lambrusco in the 1970’s and everyone will think you’re a gastronomic genius. Fresh raspberry fruit, light fizz and then a freshness that actually works better with a hearty sausage than a light salad.
All Roses taste of strawberries (it’s a bit like a wine law) but not many have the honeysuckle and spice edge of this exotic Rose. It’s nothing like the ‘White Zinfandel’ of California, but drier and with a spiced, herbal element. It’s beautifully ripe and actually the most wonderful complement to a curry.
Some rosés cry out to be served with food and this is one. It has the fruit and structure to work with light meats like veal or vegetarian dishes. Think of it like light, frothy Pinot Noir (which is fundamentally what it is). And if you’re in Mornington, pop in and bottle some of your own sparkling rosé like Amelia did.