Rosé roundup, summer 2017

For several years now I have published a roundup of rosé wines in time for prime summer drinking. The selection is not intended to be a comprehensive overview of the state of rosé play, and there will be many fine rosés that do not feature. This is simply a gathering of the many rosés I’ve come across in the past couple of months. This year’s selection is heavy on sparkling wines, and that’s just the way the dice have fallen on this occasion, with many delightful sparkling pinks gracing my tasting glass.

shades of roseInterestingly, BMI Research has just published a report titled “Rosé Revolution More Than Just A Fad,” which points out that 2016 was another record year for exports of wine from France’s Provence region – the largest producer of rosé wine globally. According to French customs data, export volumes to the US climbed 47% year-on-year in 2016, which, remarkably enough, is the 12th consecutive year of double-digit growth. The UK saw a still staggering 29% increase in Provence rosé imports between 2015 and 2016. It certainly appears to be the pale, dry style of Provence rosé that continues to drive this sector – and which continues to be mimicked by rosé producers around the world – though in fact there is a healthy crop of more ‘traditional’, deeper coloured rosés from southern European and southern hemisphere countries in this selection too.

Sparkling wines

(2017) From Miguel Torres' long-established Santa Digna outpost in Chile this sparkling rosé is made from 100% País, a local variety, made by the traditional method and given nine months lees-ageing in bottle. It's a deliciously quaffable style, pale, pale pink in colour and redolent of hedgerows and raspberries, a gently creamy citrus note too, the same onto the palate, soft, a flattering dosage of sweetness and a finely tuned finish. Moving a Prosecco drinker onto this would be an easy baby step towards Champagne :)
(2017) The second new sparkling wine is not Prosecco of course (the Prosecco DOC does not cover rosé wines), made from the Raboso red wine variety blended with other local white wine grapes. It has around 13g/l of residual sugar. Fashionably pale, the bubbles are fairly large, and the nose offers a charming icing sugar and small red fruit medley, then a lightly creamy palate of quite dry, small red berries with plenty of zippy lemon acidity to offset that hint of sweetness. Very easy to drink.
(2017) 100% Pinot, made by the saignée method, time on lees has been reduced from 24 to 12 months as the winemaker Antoni Llopart thought it retained better freshness and lightness. 8g/l dosage. It's a deep-coloured pink, which Antoni chooses to make "as that is its natural colour." This has strawberry and a touch of clove or almost Negroni character, lovely freshness and raspberry and lemon clarity to the palate, finishing dry. A delicious cava of real quality.
(2017) A delightful Rose this, mostly Pinot Noir with a little Pinot Meunier. One third of the blend is fermented in oak barrels for around six months before being transferred to bottle for its lees ageing. A pale, peachy-pink colour, small, delicate red fruits dominate the nose, leading on to a palate that is crystal clear, a foamy cushion of mousse and the raspberry-fresh combination of mouth-watering acidity and sweet fruit driving through to a lovely balanced finish.
(2017) Produced for Morrison's by Champagne Lombard, this has a relatively deep colour and cherry pit fruity but dry character on the nose, a hint of earthiness and bracken. The palate shows lots of zesty orange. Clean and long - and dry.
(2017) Though I've tasted Pelorus and Pelorus Vintage many time, this was my first tasting of their Pinot Noir Rosé, a traditional method wine from Marlborough. It pours a very delicate, pale colour, with plenty of minuscule bubbles. Gentle peach and redcurrant, raspberry aromas lead the way, a little whiff of stony, herbal character, onto a palate where the tangy raspberry and citrus is lively and really dances across the tongue with its fine acidity, the sweetness of the fruit always matched by crisp, pithy flavours into a long finish. Very stylish.
(2017) An assemblage with some wine vinified as red Pinot Noir in the blend, the overall Pinot Noir content is around 60%-75%. There's a delightful swirl of smokiness to this, lots of small redcurrant fruit that is dry and concentrated, but it is sweet too as it strikes the palate, lovely delineation, the fruit driving it against a quite creamy mousse, and a long and balanced finish.
(2017) Deutz rosé is mostly PInot Nor from the Montagne de Reims, with a touch of Chardonnay. It has a very delicate and attractive peachy-pink colour, the nose creamy with small red berry fruits but a certain biscuity note too, not always found in pink Champagnes. In the mouth it is vibrantly packed with reducrrant, raspberry and crisply defined dry red fruits, but it is ripe and sweet-edged too, the delicate mousse and fine acidity balancing beautifully. With a touch of chocolate or coffee adding roundness, the finish is quite intense, but never losing that elegance and delicacy.
(2017) Beautiful aromas here, a hint of meatiness and damp forest floors, then the small red fruits, very clear indeed, a haunting glimpse of something floral, like rose-hip perhaps in this blend of 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay. Dry, delicate, but there is good length and it does have substance and a touch of meaty, earthy character beneath the charm of the fruit. Drinking now.
(2017) The Dom Ruinart Rosé is a blend of 80% Chardonnay with a very high proportion - 20% - of Pinot Noir vinified as a red wine in the blend. It is extremely toasty (surely there's some barrel fermentation here?) with a wonderfully expressive, autumnal Pinot quality of small red fruits and truffle. On the palate the serious, toasty and earthy structure continues to express itself, with great concentration, a persistent mousse and a thrust of lemon-fresh acidity as the Chardonnay dominates. I loved this, and most of the tasters were just as convinced.
(2017) Richard Geoffroy used the highest ever proportion of red Pinot Noir wine in this blend, 27%, making it a decidedly meaty, Burgundian Champagne, with truffle and forest floor, vinous with red berry fruit. That welterweight of flavour slightly butts up against the acidity at this stage for me, tannins too against grapefruit, suggesting perhaps that a few years in the cellar will do this no harm.

Still wines

(2017) The label doesn't list the varieties for this distinctly off-dry to medium-sweet Loire pink, but it's 60% Cabernet Franc with 20% each of Gamay and Grolleau. Quite pale in colour, it has a sweetie, cherry lips and red liquorice nose, some floral aspects, and a plenty of sweetness on the palate. Fruity and simple, there is decent acidity, but it is verging on a dessert wine for my palate and perhaps best matched to strawberry shortcake or similar desserts.
(2017) The giant, family-owned Torres company produces an excellent range of wines, from cheap and cheerful, to serious fine wines. The popular Viña Sol brand is always good value, and this rosé is a good summer choice. It's not in the fashionably pale, Provence style, but a rather deeper and more red-fruited wine, with ripe and welcoming notes of cherry and soft summer berries, and a delicate floral touch. In the mouth it has sweet and ripe red fruits, but finishes dry, a clean citrus acidity and touch of spice giving gastronomic as well as sipping-in-the-garden credentials. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2017) Another pale wine in the Provençal idiom. this comes from the Languedoc and blends two local grapes to excellent effect. Delicately touched by pink grapefruit, redcurrant and raspberry on the nose, the creamy but light-bodied palate shows more delicate fruit - wild strawberries and raspberries - but a lovely freshness to the acidity to give it a shimmering, lacework finish.
(2017) A full-coloured, light-cherry rosé from Chile, that is a little too much like Ribena on first sniff, certainly full of very sweet-scented blackcurrant, cherry and rose-hip. In the mouth there is some sweetness, but it is also fairly full with its 13.5% alcohol, and has a lemony acid at the core. Not totally convincing stylistically for me - but that's surely a personal preference.
(2017) Made from 60% Aglianico and 40% Montepulciano grown in the volcanic Basilicata area of southern Italy, this is yet another deeply coloured, more traditional rosé. Vinous on the nose, a little cherry with a briary, herby touch, the palate is lovely: quite creamy in texture, a touch of meatiness and gastronomic dryness, savoury fruits and altogether dry, a touch rustic and grown-up, food-friendly in style.
(2017) A Rhône blend of Syrah, Grenache and Carignan, this has a vibrant medium-deep colour and immediately fruity aromas of cherry and raspberry: definitely on the more vinous rather than strawberry/bubblegum spectrum. In the mouth a direct acid core sets the tone for a fairly serious, food-friendly pink, though there is a creaminess and touch of softer strawberry to the fruit too. Stylish and long.
(2017) This rosé, or 'Rosado' is made from Touriga Naçional in the Alentejo region, a relatively deeply-coloured pink with perky aromas showing a touch of cherry bubblegum, bright and floral notes and a pleasing hint of tobacco and spice. It's bold and flavourful on the palate too, plenty of summery strawberry and raspberry fruit, a nice undertow of lemon and tart cherry acids, giving it both easy-drinking sweetness and a bit of genuine, food-friendly, spicy savouriness.
(2017) This is a clever pink from Jonathan Maltus of Châteaux Teyssier and Le Dôme, pretending to be Provençal, when in fact it comes from Bordeaux and is a cast-iron Bordeaux blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Pretty in colour, light and bubblegum fresh aromas, cherry and strawberry, but a little more serious, mineral and gravel edge too. In the mouth the initial impression of approachable sweetness is joined by plenty of lemony acid, its modest 12.5% alcohol suggesting an element of early picking that has retained a bit steel at the core.
(2017) While Torres' Viña Sol Rosé is a deeper, frutier style, this from the company's Jean Leon brand is very much in the modern Provençal idiom. Organic and 100% Pinot Noir, it is very pale in colour and the aromas more about watermelon and delicate pomegranate, a light lemony character too. In the mouth it is bone-dry and super-fresh, a hint of peach, but again those watermelon-clear flavours, small red berries like redcurrants, and an extremely fresh and crisp finish.
(2017) A blend of 60% Touriga Franca and 30% Touriga Nacional with 10% Tinta Roriz (Tempranillo), from the Tua Valley. It's a deeply-coloured rosé, more of a light red, with summery berry aromas and flavours to the fore, from pulpy strawberry to a nip of cherry tartness. This recently bottled sample was  touch spritzy, but that does add to the refreshment value as it finishes dry with a tug of tannin.
(2017) A big blend of Grenache, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon, with smaller amounts of Cinsault and Mourvèdre, I tasted this from magnum, which looked glorious and which might have gained it an extra point for sheer impressiveness, but it is a lovely Provence pink. Peach down and soft strawberry pulp are tightened up by a fine lemony core, hints of seaside, ozoney air and good small red fruit on the palate, the finish is long, delicate and clean. Magnums at £29.95 from Southdown Cellars, who also sell by the bottle.
(2017) A blend of Cinsault, Grenache and Syrah, this Côtes de Provence pink is certified organic and has a pale peachy-pink colour. On the nose it has delightful fragrance: small red berries like redcurrants and a touch of downy peach skins, with the mineral hint of sea breezes. In the mouth it is both concentrated and elegant, certainly plenty of sweet and ripe fruit to fill the mouth, but that clarity of the acidity, that saline hint, all giving lovely gastronomic appeal too, finishing bone dry with plenty of verve and tang.

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