|Domaine de Pique Roque Rose
Without wishing to sound too much like a moral crusader, rosé is for all year round drinking, not just for summer.
Encouragingly, trends in the UK indicate that we no longer consider rosé as a seasonal aperitif – indeed it seems we can’t get enough of the stuff.
Whilst sales of red and white in the UK rose modestly last year, sales of rosé wine increased by a staggering 30%! This growth shows no sign of slowing down and nowadays one bottle in every ten sold in the UK is pink – an astonishing statistic when you think of how just a few years ago to buy a bottle of rosé was a public admission that you had had your tastebuds (and sense of shame) surgically removed.
At long last we are beginning to see some of the finer rosés imported into the UK and if wishing to buy a rosé we are no longer obliged to choose between Mateus from Portugal or Vina Collapso from Spain. Finally we can get to taste rosé worthy of the name from all corners of the globe.
Rosé from the New World tends to be less complex and fuller in body, usually with a palate of red cherry, redcurrants and vanilla. The deep rosé wines of Chile and Australia are typically bold flavoured offerings that are often more akin to a Beaujolais in colour. These are the archetypal barbecue wine; they do not demand too much attention and with their slightly higher alcohol content will help to disguise any of your chef’s shortcomings…
Rosé is a highly versatile food wine and is often the best compromise in restaurants; rosé can be paired with a wide range of foods from pasta, fish (salmon and tuna in particular) to simple grilled meat dishes. Rosé also works well with spicy foods.
The traditional stronghold of rosé has been the south of France where the (seemingly immortal) locals drink it with everything from spicy pizza to a variety of pasta dishes.
Rosés from Provence and the surrounding appellations tend to be pale in colour ranging from ‘onion skin’ to delicate coral pink. These are refreshing wines made in a lighter and drier style than their New World equivalents and are great with food but they also make a mouth-watering aperitif. Look out for wines ofrm the Bandol or Cotes de Provence regions in particular and as a general rule be prepared to pay between £8–£10 for a bottle; you will be rewarded with an invigorating wine with hints of fresh strawberry, nectarine and raspberry.
Push the boat out, look for a rosé that is pretty pale (and avoid ‘blush’ wines like the plague!) and from the right region and you will have the ultimate expression of sunshine in a bottle – great in the summer but equally uplifting on a grey winter’s evening.
Domaine de Pique Roque Rosé £6.99
At last a proper rosé hits these shores! And what’s more, although it’s from Provence – the heartland of great rosés – it is made at the estate of the very English Max Hubbard, a true champion of traditional pale rosé.
Pale coral pink in colour, with a delicate nose of strawberries and fresh summer fruits, and a palate of red berries and nectarines, this is a seriously refreshing wine. The dry finish makes it a perfect aperatif but it is also a highly versatile food wine; in Provence they drink it with everything from salads to spicy pizza. Seek it out for a true taste of sunshine!
Dom Lafran Veyrolles Bandol Rosé 2005 £11.95
The Jouvre-Ferec family runs this small, traditional estate with just 10 ha under vine. Whilst the reds from this estate first brought the domaine to prominence, the rosés are now of equal note. Supremely elegant wine with lingering perfumed fruits and crisp, balancing acidity. Forget everything you thought you knew about rosé – this is about as good as it gets!
- Silver Medal 2006 Decanter World Wine Awards
- Grapes: 70% Mourvedre, 20% Cinsault, 10% Grenache
- Region: Bandol
- ABV: 13%
Domaine Rimauresq Rosé 2005 £10.99
“Cherry. Quite appealing, has weight. Good wine, good length. Drink now.” Decanter, Rosé over £5 Tasting, September 2005.
“Very fine, dry and properly Mediterranean scented.” Jancis Robinson, Financial Times Weekender June 3/4 2006.
“Quite austere, with some citrus and apple. Full bodied; good structure and length. A food wine.” Decanter, Dry Rosés (Editors Choice), August 2005.
- Grapes: 50% Cinsault, 30% Tibouren, 15% Mouvedre, 5% Grenache
- Region: Provence
- ABV: 13%
Reviews by Ben Cahill