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Three Rosé Wines for Summer

Stephen Barrett Stephen Barrett
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Rosé Wines

The first time I noticed rosé wines in the UK was in the heady days of the 1970’s. Some will remember, but for those not yet born or not yet imbibing, the phenomenon came upon us when the historic brand Mateus Rosé flooded the market with their iconic green flask-shaped bottle. Here was a slightly petillant, off dry rosé.

Below I have picked out three rosés which will be the toast of your summer.

History of Rosé

Th style was based on rosé wines of the past as the original rosé wines probably came from the middle east where co-harvesting both red and white grapes was the norm. Crude, foot trodden, pressing created a light pinkish coloured wine that became a common beverage throughout the ancient wine-making world.

Fast forward to the movement of trade into the Mediterranean when first the Greeks and later, the Romans, used the Port of Marseilles. Here they discovered the local wines were also pink but, importantly, of a better quality. By using thick-skinned red grapes from the local vineyards these erstwhile vignerons created a high-alcohol pink wine of distinction.

Paler Rosé

The now ubiquitous paler style of rosé was, for many years, unique to Provence. Seeing its popularity, other parts of France started to develop lighter-coloured rosé wines. Bordeaux with its Clairette and Anjou were two such regions.

But it was Provence and its environs that benefitted the most as the fashionable Mediterranean resorts became synonymous with its development.

Portugal and California were next as the pink craze hit the big-time. Mateus was a truly global brand with the USA being ‘top-quarry’ for sales. Sutter Home from California ‘accidentally’ created White Zinfandel (actually rosé) to great acclaim.

Europe too became fascinated with this better-quality pink wine and duly started (albeit on a small scale) to create rosé wines in and around wine making regions.

A New Revolution

We are now in the middle of a new rosé wine revolution as most winemaking countries have perfected their own versions of a dry or off-dry style. Sparkling wines have also delved deeply into this popular style of rosé wine with top, stylistic samples on most wine merchants shelves.

My three choices of rosé couldn’t be more different.

Le Versant Grenache Rosé 2022, Languedoc

Le Versant Grenache Rosé 2022, Languedoc

£12.00

This rosé from the south of France has a delicate pale pink colour with salmon hints. The deliciously perfumed nose combines hints of strawberries and...… read more

Starting with a food-friendly grenache rosé from Languedoc in southern France. This is a hot part of the continent perfect for the gnarly grenache vines. With its copper hue, Le Versant Rosé, offers the taster a glimpse into a single varietal style of modern winemaking showing complex red fruits and spice. Great with Marinated Mackerel or BBQ’d herby chicken.

Lyme Bay Pinot Noir Rosé 2022, Devon

Lyme Bay Pinot Noir Rosé 2022, Devon

£22.20

This is a refined and elegant rosé with subtle notes of red berry fruit and a soft creamy finish on the palate. It is made...… read more

Next to Devon and the eponymous Lyme Bay Winery. This has been an excellent year for them as they have scooped loads of national awards for their range. Their Pinot Noir Rosé shows off a most gentle stylistic style with hints of Strawberries and cream. This is truly elegant and easily paired with summer salads or soft English cheese.

Rock Angel 2022, Provence

Rock Angel 2022, Provence

£28.00

Rock Angel is made from grapes primarily from the Vineyards of Chateau d’Esclans in addition to the most choice Vineyards in the vicinity of the...… read more

Lastly a provencal rosé from Sasha Lichine (the winemaker behind the successful Whispering Angel), though this time his more premium offering, Rock Angel. Pale, partridge eye pink, floral to the nose, with some complexity from a little oak ageing. It’s a gentle sipper that lasts well into the palate. Try this with grilled halloumi or grilled Cornish sardines!

First published in the Western Morning News on 6 August 2022

Stephen Barrett is a wine writer and educator, learn more at stephenbarrett.com

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