50-plus shades of rosé

Wine Jul 31

Wine Jul 31 - Credit: Archant

Balmy sunny days and the thought of a chilled glass of light stylish wine in the garden is enough for even the hardened red wine drinker to turn to rosé wine. They offer fresh fragrant aromas with light refreshing tastes that reflect the red grapes they are made from.

There has been a resurgence in rosé wine production and consumers enjoyment of them in equal measure. It’s a bit of a chicken and egg situation but both sides are enjoying the results.

Gone are the days of bland sugary pink wines sold under supermarket own labels such as Rose d’Anjou. Of course there have always been more serious rosé wines available but they also command a more serious price – a great example of ‘you get what you pay for’ but worth every penny!

The archetypal pale Provence rosé such as those from Rimauresq are subtly fruity with a light fragrance from the Grenache, Cinsault and Thibouren grapes. The traditional rosé wines of Bandol and other parts of the South of France such as the Costières des Nimes are of similar ilk. The latter are especially easy drinking with a full mouthfilling texture.

On a different flavour note the Spanish rosados, often made from the red Garnacha grape variety have a similar appealing shade of warm pink with a hint of light refreshing strawberry fruit notes that linger on the palate.

A lovely example is the Rosado wine from Cune, a well established Rioja producer. They have freshness and style retaining the strawberry notes and adding some spice and light pepper on the finish, they make a lovely accompaniment to many light meat or fish dishes. There are also many great value wines such as those from Bodegas Borsao in the Campo de Borja just South of Navarra.

In the Southern Hemisphere rosé production is no less important and there are many stylish rosés made in Australia, New Zealand, South America and South Africa. In these countries the fruit is very ripe when picked and thus the skins are much softer and so yield their inherent full colour from the skins more easily during fermentation than in the cooler Northern Hemisphere. Also in some cases the saignée method is used so that juice that might otherwise have been thrown away when drained off to concentrate the flavours of red wine is used for making a light rosé.

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In Italy often the saignée method is used to produce chiaretto or light reds and in other cases a small amount of fruit from red grapes is fermented with the white grapes to make a light dry rosé.

In Chile the Merlot grape lends itself to producing delicious light rosés with crisp fruity flavours such as the Brisa wine and in Australia producers such as Rogers and Rufus and Bremerton make a fuller style from the Shiraz grapes. New Zealand producers such as Gordon Russell at Esk valley in Hawkes Bay have made a name for themselves with full fruity yet refreshing non tannic rosés from Merlot and Malbec blends.

Sparkling wines and Champagnes are often made using a high percentage of Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes that are very light, dry and elegant. Look out for English sparkling wines such as those from Jenkyn Place, Nyetimber and Henners which are just as good as their French counterparts.

There are thus many shades of rosé wines many of which produce delicious summer wines.