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(2017) Year after year in my 'Wines of the Year' feature here on wine-pages, this iconic Côtes de Provence rosé picks up plaudits. The blend is mainly Grenache, Rolle (Vermentino) and Cinsault, and it's a prime example of the pale, delicate, lacework style of Provence rosé. Abundantly fresh and zippy, there's a blush of softer peach and strawberry, but it's the shimmering core of mineral and light lemon acidity that drives this to a delicious, dry finish. Until end February 2017 this wine is available for £110 per case of 12 in-bond, for delivery in April. Duty and VAT will then be payable, bringing the total per bottle price to £13.49 - a saving of around £3.50 per bottle on the retail price once released. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2017) Confusingly there's already a 'Pure Provence' rosé from Domaine Mirabeau on the UK market, so if this wine does appear on UK shelves I wonder how it will be labelled? The wine has just picked up 96 points and a 'Platinum' award at the Decanter World Wine Awards. The colour is typical Provence-pale, the nose has a delicate peach down and ripe melon fruitiness, but classic herbal touches. On the palate it has a bit of grip and structure, a very slightly phenolic bite, in a fairly serious style. It's good, but what it is absolutely not, for me, is a 96 point wine.
(2017) An organically certified wine from the Côtes de Thongue, this has that pale Provençal colour so unlike the darker, more cherry-coloured Cabernet-based pinks of Bordeaux. It is moderately fruity with small red berries and a touch of lemon, a certain stony mineral character too. In the mouth it is quite full with 13.5% alcohol, and thought juicy, doesn't have enormous length. Good freshness and a bit of melon-rind texture too though.
(2017) A rosé from Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah that comes in a striking, screen-printed bottle in the style of Art Nouveau artist Émile Gallé, released to celebrate the domaine's 60th anniversary. It has a pretty nose of dry red fruits touched with rose-hip and pink grapefruit. On the palate it is quite a powerful wine, full and with a bit of acid backbone and hint of tannin.
(2017) A non-vintage wine from organically certified vineyards in Abbruzzo, 100% Montepulciano, and the estate lying in a national park were wolves - lupi - have been sighted amongst the vines. It has quite a deep garnet-hued pink colour with bold cherry aromas. It's so different from so many Provence and Provence lookalikes, vinous with a hint of prune or currant. In the mouth there's a lightly oxidised feel to this. Not having tasted it before I am not sure if that is an intentional part of its style, but it's bottled under screwcap, so I imagine it is. It's dry, balanced, but lacking a little fresh fruitiness arguably.
(2017) Though Pinot Gris is a grape that can ripen to quite a dark red, and thus could make a rosé on its own, here Saint Clair have blended in some Malbec. The colour is quite a pale salmon pink, and it's very much a dry red berry nose - raspberry, redcurrant, even strawberry - before a palate that has a good core of lemony, zest acidity and quite a full texture, adding up to a pleasing and versatile rosé. On sale at £9.30 from The Drink Shop at time of review.
(2017) A rosé from Franschhoek in South Africa, which blends Bordeaux varieties and Syrah, and 10% of which was fermented in French oak barriques. The colour is a pale-to-medium salmon pink, and there's a bold, dry, small red berry fruitiness that leads on to quite a grippy, authoratitive palate for a rosé, concentrated and with a bit of grip and tannin to offset the soft berry flavours and cleansing acidity. A good gastronomic pink for salmon or paella perhaps.
(2017) A blend of Grenache, Carignan and Mourvèdre with no added sulphur, this bold and fruity organic wine has spice and bramble fruit, and a vinous, savoury quality with plenty of rustic tannin and acidity to give it chewiness and bite.
(2017) A typically steely rendition of Riesling from Hugel, and a fabulously accurate one. There is some spice, some beeswax lift, but the thrust is resolutely of precise apple fruit. It's an effortlessly concentrated wine, the dry extract is there to give it some gravitas, but it's all about those apple and tangy sherbet lemon flavours and streaking lemon and grapefruit acidity to make the mouth water. This has the concentration and balance to cellar rather well.
(2017) An out and out bargain at D Byrne’s price, this Blanc des Noirs blend of Pinots Noir and Meunier has fine toasty and bready, autolytic development. Plenty of small bubbles and crisp apple fruit add to the appeal, and on the palate it has a gentle attack: not sweet at all, but softer than some English sparkling wines, the 5 years of lees ageing having smoothed and rounded the acidity into a long, balanced finish of great poise.