By Robert Marshall
Shunned by wine connoisseurs, for not being serious enough, but loved by the masses the popularity of Rosé has continued to grow year on year and summer is the perfect time to savour this vibrant and fresh wine.
All grape juice (with the exception of red-fleshed teinturier varieties) produces an almost clear juice; it is the contact with the grape skins, which extracts anthocyanins, that gives the expressive palette of colours to Red and Rosé wines. Directly pressing the freshly picked grapes will give the most delicate coloured Rosé wine, whilst a short period of contact with grape skins and juice will give greater intensity to wine’s hue. The other way to make rose is the more obvious way of mixing a small amount of red wine with white wine together; in fact, in the EU this practice is only legally permitted in the Champagne region of France where Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier are blended with Chardonnay to make the global selling, popular pink fizz.
So how did Rosé become the go to wine for a generation of burgeoning wine lovers? One cynical, but interesting, theory points to the fact that Rosé, with its modulating array of seductive shades, looks great on instagram and social media helping to enhance its visual appearance as a carefree, casual and fashionable wine. The fact that one shouldn’t think too much about Rosé is an advantage especially in an industry that is saturated with verbose, opinionated experts with a tendency to overcomplicate things when it comes to describing or analysing a wine. An enjoyable rose should be vibrant and seductive to look at – whether candy floss pink or salmon hued. Smell of fresh red fruits – often strawberries, raspberries or wild forest fruits, and be lean and moreish to the taste. Fruity simplicity, with a small dose of sweetness is great for a whole range of foods from easy to prepare salads, takeaway pizza and BBQ Ribs or seafood. In Romania, Rose works well with grilled meats and the residual sugar of the wine helps cut through the fattiness in dishes and helps to refresh the palate.
Unsurprising it was the French, and in particular the south of France with its warm Mediterranean climate, where the tradition of making an easy-drinking summer drink to counterbalance the fruity, and often hefty and high alcohol reds. Originally intended to be drunk during the summer months until early autumn, Rosé is now in demand all year round and any wine producing country worth its salt makes a selection of Rosé wine:
3 Rosé Wines to try or buy
Tavel Brotte 2017
Tavel is noted for being a French designated region where only Rose is produced. France has strict rules that determine wine production and in Tavel, located on the south bank of the Southern Rhône, and are dominated by the Grenache grape variety with often a good measure of Carignan as well. Tavel can fetch high prices, largely due to its historic reputation, and the wines are best drunk young and often have a greater concentration of fruit and colour and Brotte make a wine that is both elegant with a plump finish.
Whispering Angel 2017
It isn’t cheap, but Whispering Angel is now the world’s most popular Rosé.
Hailing from Provence, the home of Rosé wine, Whispering Angel spearheaded the international trend for delicate, easy drinking Rosé wines. However that is not to say that this wine doesn’t have some complexity to it. Indeed you get the fresh red fruits on the nose and palate but this is backed by fresh citrus fruits as well. It is no wonder that this wine has seen a 58% growth in sales between 2016 and 2017 and can be found in beach bars and clubs from Monaco to Mamaia.
Catleya, Freamăt Rose 2017
Although he studied in Bordeaux, Laurent Pfeffer, Catleya’s French owner and winemaker, spent summers in the South of France where he assisted making Rosé. For the last 10 years he has been making wines in Mehedinti, Romania, and his Rosé is a great example of how this wine style can be made throughout the wine producing world. Freamant Rose is made from a blend of the classic French varietals Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, in more or less equal measures. The grape juice spends just a few hours with the skins to produce the subtle, blush pink colour and extract necessary aromas and flavours. Frenchmen are renowned for their sincerity when it comes to wine, so when I asked Laurent to best describe Catleya Rose he used the word “orgasmic”, I assumed it was said without irony, but you will have to drink a bottle to find out.