50 Shades of Pink, Nearly

POSTED ON 23/05/2015

In time for flaming June, should it ever catch fire, ‘posh pinks’ was the subject of the premium rosé tasting organised this month by Richard Bampfield MW and Château Brown. 36 pink wines were tasted blind and decanted into clear label-less bottles so no-one could tell what was what from the bottle shape. The only visual identifying feature was the colour, and for anyone who thinks that rosé simply means pink, even a Dulux colour chart wouldn’t do justice to the nearly 50 shades of pink on offer.

The origin was global although with 26 from France including 14 from Provence, French rosé was the focus compared to the last such tasting I attended two years ago. Given the posh in the title, most of the wines were prices between £12 and £25 with a small handful in la-la land. That may be expensive if your experience of rosé is of cheap, bland and sugary blush purveyed by the likes of California’s Blossom Hill and Echo Falls.

Rosé ArrayRosé Array

Premium rosé is meant to be a serious wine however that can stand alongside any fine white or red counterpart. It’s a wine in which the winemaker has generally given priority to the management of the grapes in the vineyard and the blending in the cellar. With lower yields than mass market rosé and in a dry style that makes them so much more refreshing as drinks in their own right, such rosés also come into their own with salads such as Niçoise, fish, charcuterie, chicken and pork.

The quality of the Provence rosés stood out. Expensive but not quite bank-busting, the juicy cranberry fruit of the 2014 Whispering Angel, £16.99, Waitrose, was alluring, along with the scented berry fruit of Brangelina’s 2014 Miraval, £17.99, Majestic and the approachable strawberry fruits of the 2014 Domaine des Diables Bonbon, £13.95, Lea & Sandeman. Bandol came up with two charmingly delicate berry fruity rosés in the 2013 Domaine de Terrebrune, £22, The Good Wine Shop, and the 2014 Château Pibarnon Rosé, £22.58, Exel Wines.

Brangelina's RoséBrangelina's Rosé

Languedoc too had its pink moments, notably in the fresh apple and pear fruit of the 2014 Chêne Bleu, £17.99, Waitrose, and the raspberryish juiciness of Gérard Bertrand’s 2014 Château la Sauvageonne, £12.99, Majestic. Outside France, my favourite was the appetisingly fresh 2014 Niepoort Redoma Rosé, £13.99 - £15, Corks of Cotham, Highbury Vintners. If you really want to push the boat out, you could always try Domaines Sacha Lichine’s smokily complex 2013 Les Clans, £59.40, Hedonism, and if you have a big enough fridge, a double magnum of Domaine Ott’s 2014 Clos Mireille, £300, Hedonism, would win friends and influence people.

Gérard Bertrand's RoséGérard Bertrand's Rosé

Top of the Pinks as ranked by the assembled press tasters:

2014 Ch Léoube Rosé de Léoube
2014 MIP Domaine Sainte Lucie
2014 Chêne Bleu Vaucluse
2014 Ch D’Esclans Rock Angel
2014 Whispering Angel
2014 Secret de Léoube
2014 Château Léoube La Londe
2014 Château Ste Marguerite Cuvée Symphonie
2014 Château La Sauvageonne Languedoc, Gerard Bertrand
2014 Domaine Tempier Bandol
2014 Château Brown, Bordeaux
2014 Domaines Ott Provence
2013 Les Clans (Lichine)
2014 Miraval, Provence

Shades of RoséShades of Rosé

The Full List

No. Wine Vintage RRP Stockist
1 Chivite Las Fincas Vino de la Tierra 3 Riberas Spain 2014 No UK stockist yet
2 Clos Juvència , Segura Viudas, DO Catalunya Spain 2014 c.£12 No UK stockist yet
3 Rossidi, Nikoleavo Vineyard, Thracian Lowland Bulgaria 2014 c£14 Ivo Varbanov
4 Albury Silent Pool Rosé, England 2014 £15.00 Albury Vineyard
5 Château de Sours, Bordeaux 2014 £11.50 Goedhuis, Bon Coeur, Private Cellar
6 Château Brown, Bordeaux 2014 £23-£28 Hedonism, Soho Wine Supply
7 La Source du Château de Sours, Bordeaux 2013 £16.99 Goedhuis, Bon Coeur, Private Cellar
8 Domaine des Diables Rose Bonbon, Côtes de Provence Sainte Victoire 2014 £13.95 Lea & Sandeman
9 Miraval, Côtes de Provence 2014 £21.50 Hard to Find Wines, The Drink Shop, The Butlers Cellar
10 Château Ste Marguerite Symphonie Cru Classé, Côtes de Provence 2014 £16.95 Great Western Wine
11 Whispering Angel, Côtes de Provence 2014 £22.30 Hedonism
12 Domaine Saint Lucie L’Hydropathe Élite Rosé, Côtes de Provence 2014 £15.50 Lea & Sandeman
13 Château d'Esclans Rock Angel, Côtes de Provence 2014 £28.90 Hedonism
14 Domaines Ott, Clos Mireille, Côtes de Provence 2014 £34.99 Harrods, Harvey Nichols, Jeroboams, Philglas & Swiggot
15 Les Clans Domaines Sacha Lichine Côtes de Provence 2013 £59.40 Hedonism
16 Château Léoube, Rosé de Léoube
Côtes de Provence 2014 £14.50 Goedhuis, Daylesford, Davy
17 Domaine Sainte Lucie MIP* Classic Rosé Côtes de Provence 2014 £11.95 Lea & Sandeman
18 Château Léoube, Le Secret de Léoube Rosé 2014 £21.00 Goedhuis, Daylesford, Davy
19 Garrus Domaines Sacha Lichine, Côtes de Provence 2013 £99.80 Hedonism
20 Château Léoube La-Londe Monopole, Côtes de Provence 2014 £29.99 Goedhuis, Daylesford, Davy
21 Domaine de Triennes IGP Méditerranée 2014 £11.50- £12.95 Flint, BBR, FMV, OW Loeb
22 Château Pibarnon, Bandol 2014 £21.99 AG Wines, Bibendum
23 Domaine Tempier, Bandol 2014 £23.75 Lea & Sandeman
24 Domaine de la Ribotte, Cuvée Anais, Bandol 2014 £14.99 Stone, Vine and Sun
25 Domaine de Terrebrune, Bandol 2013 £24 The Good Wine Shop, Wadebridge wines, Corks Out, BBR
26 Chêne Bleu, Vaucluse 2014 £17.99 Waitrose
27 Williams Chase Rosé, AC Luberon 2014 £14.50 The Good Wine Shop, Tanners, Corks Out, Harvey Nicks, Loki
28 Château d’Aquéria, Tavel 2013 £16.50 On-trade
29 Château La Sauvageonne, Coteaux du Languedoc , Gerard Bertrand 2014 £12.99 Majestic
30 Sancerre Le Rabault, Joseph Mellot 2014 £18.75 Leamington wine company, BJR Hanby Chester Beer & Wine The Whalley Wine Shop The Halifax Wine Co Aitkin Wines Eagle Wines Islington Wines
31 Sogrape Casa Ferreirinha Vinha Grande Rosé, Douro 2014 £12.49 TBC
32 Niepoort Redoma Rosé, Douro 2014 £14.99 Bottle Apostle, Highbury Vintners, Philglas and Swiggot
33 Etna Rosato Tenuta delle Terre Nere, Sicily 2013 £12.45 Justerini & Brooks
34 Ritual Terrazzas, Valle de Casablanca, Chile 2014 c.£15 No UK stockist yet
35 Kleinood, Tamboerskloof Katharien Syrah Stellenbosch, South Africa 2014 £14.29 South African Wines Online, Marc Fine Wines
36 Turkey Flat, Barossa Valley Australia 2014 £13.50 Amps Fine Wines, Fenwicks, Corks Out, Four Vintners, Ellis Wharton Wines, Australian Wines Online, Hailsham Cellars

Something for the WeekendSomething for the Weekend

Night In

2013 The Co-operative Truly Irresistible Pinot Noir

Truly Irresistible is the brand name not the description, nonetheless this good value pinot noir from Chile’s Casablanca Valley is sweetly perfumed with a mulberry fruitiness that’s smooth-textured and tempered by a natural Pacific-cooled freshness. £7.99, The Co-operative.

Dinner party

2012 Barossa Valley Estate Shiraz

Pure South Australia shiraz with a touch of toasty oak, a glossy Aussie delivering bang for buck in an opulent mouthful of juicy, spice-infused black cherry fruits framed by grip and freshness. £9.69, down from £12.99, to 2 June, Waitrose.

Splash Out

2013 Pazo Señorans Albariño

Peach and nectarine aromas and a lively prickle on the tongue introduce this fine dry white from Rias Baixas whose intense stonefruit flavours are topped and tailed by a mouthwateringly zesty saline finish. £14.95 – 17.42, Uncorked, Eclectic Tastes, Cambridge Wines, Gauntleys.

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