Elizabeth Gabay MW
Jun 2013

Looking at the Rosé wines of Provence and Elsewhere

Blind Tasting of Top Rosés at Thomas Pink of Jermyn Street, London

A great location for a tasting, surrounded by expensive shirts, ties and cufflinks! Fox in the red hunting jacket known as a Pink jacket after the tailor

Fox in the red hunting jacket known as a Pink jacket after the tailor This was a fascinating tasting of twenty rosés selected from around the world - New Zealand, Australia, Italy and France, all selected because they are highly regarded. So, technically, all of the wines should have achieved high scores. Admittedly, when wines of such different styles are tasted side by side, some will appeal more than others, so the scores do not necessarily reflect the quality, but rather which style is most attractive to each taster - so it will be fascinating to see the results when they are compiled by Richard Bampfield MW. Richard Bampfield MW

Richard Bampfield MW In summary, I would say the rosés I liked most had fresh vibrant fruit (usually red or black depending on the variety), such as Pascal Jolivet, Clos Canarelli, Chene Bleu, Ca dei Frati's Rosa dei Frati and Charles Melton's Rose of Virginia, matched with a fresh acidity (preferably not too much grapefruit), as in Clos Canerelli, Domaine Ott's Clos Mireille, Guado al Tasso's Scalabroni Rosato. But I also like the creamy, toasty/leesy character (André Dezat, Ch Brown, Domaine de la Source, Ca dei Frati) giving the wine a bit more complexity – maybe more of a gastronomic wine and not a poolside rosé. Some roses seem to have mixed up weight with gastronomic or serious style – both Chateau d’Esclans and Chateau d'Esclan's Whispering Angel and Mordorée's La Dame Rousse – ended up being too chunky and clunky for me. Tannins in a rosé do not seem to work for me and it was interesting that the two from the Barossa Valley had a touch of tannin, which combined with the darker colour suggests a touch too long skin contact and the use of darker more tannic varieties. The depth of colour is not something I would judge a wine on – although the Léoube and Chene Bleu were possibly a touch too pale in comparison to the others – but I do know that in Provence that paleness is highly sought after. Little varietal character seems to show other than the fresh leafy green character of Cabernet or if the variety is too dark and tannic. Altogether, a rosé, for me, should be fruity and even a touch floral, fresh and clean, some complexity and weight, but not so heavy and chunky that it loses any finesse.