GIVEN the glorious weather of the past few weeks rosé wines don’t need much extra promotion from me as they are selling out everywhere.
There was a time when no man would be seen dead with a glass of rosé which was seen as a sweet confected beginner’s wine aimed squarely at young women who wanted to move on from alco-pops. It is true that some of the larger brands of commercial rosé are still presented in this style and they are best ignored.
For those of you that remain unconvinced remember that rosé is highly respected in France where they drink around twice as much rosé as they do white wine and are easily the world’s largest consumer. Regions such as Bandol in Provence and Tavel in the Rhone are justly proud of their rosé wines and can charge accordingly.
At the upper end of the scale a Bandol Rosé from a good producer such as Dom Ott or Dom Tempier can cost up to €30 but can indeed be excellent (head to Karwigs in Carrigaline for the lovely Dom Tempier version if you are curious). The current record for the world’s most expensive rosé seems to be for Chateau d’Esclans in Provence which costs around €90 and is made by Sacha Lichine, scion of the famed Bordeaux producer Alexis Lichine. I have yet to taste the top wine but their lesser rosés such as Whispering Angel are excellent — contact www.fromvineyardsdirect.ie; telephone 01-8457645.
All rosé does have a little sweetness on first taste but finishes dry and this is part of what makes it such a pleasure to drink in warm weather and with barbecue and spicy food. Rosés worth taking a risk on include those you will find from Spain, Chile, South Africa, Languedoc, Loire and SW France.
I have cheated a little with the wines under €10 by including a couple of wines from the O’Briens’ “3 for 2” sale which continues throughout July and offers exceptional value provided you buy at least three wines.
Best Value Under €10
Aldi Cotes de Provence Rosé, France — €7.99
Aldi’s Cotes-de-Provence is a blend of Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah and is made in a full-on fruity style, so I advise you to chill it well. Raspberries and strawberries on the nose with good initial fruit and some nice creamy red fruit flavours on the finish.
L’Ostal Cazes Rosé, Pays d’Oc IGP — €13.99 (or €9.33 each for 3)
Produced from grapes grown near St Tropez by JM Cazes of Chateau Lynch-Bages fame. Very light onionskin colour with aromas of red currants and a hint of blackberry, this is aromatic and complex while remaining light and very refreshing with a lingering berry flavour on the finish.
Los Vascos Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé, Chile — €13.99 (or €9.33 each for 3)
Los Vascos is the Chilean branch of the famed Bordeaux house Chateau Lafite. Made from a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, this is more tannic than the other rosés on the page this week, which makes it particularly useful for serving with barbecued steak. Blackberry and strawberry aromas with solid ripe fruit and a lingering fresh crisp fruity finish.
Best Value Under €20
Chateau de Sours Rosé, Bordeaux 2012 — €16.99
Stockists: 1601 Kinsale, 64 Wine Glasthule, Deveneys Dundrum and Rathmines
Chateau de Sours 2012 rosé is lighter in colour and in texture than previous vintages but still retains depth and character. Fine red berry fruit aromas with a nice hit of sweet red fruit on first taste followed by lingering cherry and raspberry flavours and a fine dry finish. For grown-ups.
Chateau Riotor Rosé, Cotes de Provence — €15.99 (or €10.66 each for 3)
Made by the fine Chateauneuf-du-Pape producer Mont-Redon, this is one of the more complex rosés I have tasted recently, and despite the light colour it offers some lovely depth and complexity. Aromas of raspberry sherbet and strawberry mousse with ripe raspberries on first taste followed by crisp, weighty red fruit flavours and a lingering red-currant finish.
Croix d’Or Pinot Noir Rosé — €12.99
Stockists: Deveneys Rathmines and Dundrum, Vintry Rathgar, Grapevine Glasnevin
The wines of St Pourçain in the Allier department in central France are in the most southerly part of the Loire Valley. This Pinot Noir rosé is from the co-op who also produce a fine fragrant red version. Light in colour with distinct cherry aromas, a fine delicate fruity palate and some good fresh acidity.
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