My quest to find the perfect Rosé

Upd 14Aug13: In a desperate attempt to be accepted by my fellow wine bloggers, I’d like to re-submit this post that I wrote back in June for the 80th  Wine Blogging Wednesday, the subject being ‘Dry Rosé’. I’ll admit, this is cheating somewhat but after some grovelling, @winecast has humoured me and allowed this as a super-early (21 days earlier than the challenge was even set) submission. Check out twitter #wbw80 and here for more excellent entries.

Some love it, some hate it. I am in the former camp and LOVE a glass of Rosé on a sunny afternoon. I like to think that my husband and I were the sole initiators of the rosé revolution in the UK after being introduced to its merits on a holiday to St Tropez back in 2003. Prior to then, I’d tasted very little and if my memory serves me correctly, anything other than Mateus was rare to be seen on a pink wine list in the UK.

Just like I wouldn’t order just ‘a glass of white wine’ in a pub, I wouldn’t order just any old rosé. I’ve been caught out in the past by the sweet, heavy, dark, cheap rosés that many pubs serve and have been known before now to demand to see the bottle before ordering only to opt for a pint of lager instead. I am always astounded by the looks of astonishment by bar staff across the country – surely rosé is rosé? Not at all and I seriously suspect that the rosé haters amongst you simply haven’t found the right one for you yet! Rosé for me has to be dry, lightish in colour and acidic with an almost sherberty finish and I neither mind whether it’s strawberries or peaches and cream. Needless to say – it must be COLD.

What I have learnt over the last 10 years is that if a pink wine;

–  is Grenache based, I’m generally on to a winner
– has Cinsault somewhere in the blend, I might like it all the more
– has ‘Blush’ in the title, it makes me cringe [Benham Blush is an exception – see 3) below]
– is remotely red in colour or Australian, is an instant no
– is as cheap as chips but drunk cold and young, it can be a hit
– is sparkling and English, it rocks (I touched on this briefly in my previous English Wine Week post).

Based on this specification, my search for a delicious Rosé for a good price started last year and I am well on the way to finding THE perfect rosé. Assisted by a recent trip to Provence and various tastings, one at Old Butcher’s Wine Cellar in Cookham, another at a wine team English tasting that I ran the week before, I just had to share those that stood out.

1) Cuvee Jean-Paul, Cotes de Gascogne Rosé, France £6.99 (Old Butcher’s, Cookham or for those of you not local Rannoch Scott, who Great accompaniment to both dressing and eating the crab.incidentally stock some interesting wine at great prices)

An interesting blend of Tannat, Cabernet Franc and Merlot delivers a fresh and citrusy taste. Although not too dark, this one proves me wrong on my aversion to the redder coloured rosés and packs enough acidity and dryness in addition to the fruit. This went especially well with Baked Basque-Style Crab (dressing and eating).

DSC016612)De Grendel Tygerberg South Africa £9.99 (Old Butcher’s again, Cookham, or Cheers Wine Merchants)

Another kooky blend, this time a Pinotage and Cabernet Sauvignon mix and surprisingly delightful. As with many South African wines, this has a distinctive stewed fruitiness on the nose which I generally find welcoming and introduces the warm, soft, grassy palate of this rosé rather nicely (think steamy summer evenings, fresh mown grass). Still dry with great acidity and strawberry fruit.

3) Oaken Grove Benham Blush, Oxfordshire, England £10.99 Waitrose

This was undoubtedly the biggest pleasant surprise of them all (hence its second mention on my blog). Produced from Pinot Noir and Bacchus grapes grown near Henley-on-Thames in the Chiltern Hills and bottled by Stanlake Park in Twyford, Berkshire, this is one for you local produce fans. Dry, crisp, strawberries and cream – one for cheering Murray over Wimbledon fortnight perhaps.

On location in St. Tropez (not my most stylish visit, but it was HOT, 4pm and we were not alone)

On location in St. Tropez (not my most stylish visit, but it was HOT, 4pm and we were not alone

4) Grande Recolte 2012, Berne, Cote de Provence (Majestic £8.49)

Both times I have tasted this, I have been eating a trashy dinner. Hot dogs first, tuna and sweetcorn pittas the second time – both times, this wine went perfectly, as it would on its own. A fresh and fruity nose, a lovely salmon pink colour, both peaches and strawberries and cream this time with some lovely minerality. A Grenache and Cinsault blend well worth £8.49.

5) Bastide des Bertrands Cuvee Hermann 2012, Cotes de Provence €7.50 (Cellar door)

Delicious peachy Grenache and Cinsault blend, smooth with great acidity and a lovely sherberty finish. Rose petals on the nose and the perfect shade of pink. Bought from the vineyard as we were passing through Provence and by far the best I tasted out there (and I can vouch that it tastes every bit as good on a dreary Monday evening back in the Home Counties). You can’t get it in the UK (yet 😉  – infact, it’s not even on their website ), but if you’re lucky enough to be passing Chez Moi before we drink it all, you are more than welcome to a taste. If you’re timing’s particularly fortunate, you may even get a taster of the even more devine Chateau de Bertrand Rose (€13.50).

So there we have it, as requested, a round up of my top 5 perfect rosés, all still, all delicious. I’d love to try any other favourites of my readers or any comments if you’ve tried any of the above. If you have any recommendations, please do share either below or on my Perfect Friday Wine Facebook page.

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13 Comments

Filed under Eating/ Drinking In, English Wine, France, Seasonal, South Africa, Uncategorized

13 responses to “My quest to find the perfect Rosé

  1. Love rose – thanks for the tips 🙂

  2. at last, did you find it? Try ours; it should be the rosè you are looking for.

  3. I’d love to – do you have a UK stockist?

  4. talkavino

    Great post overall, and very timely for #WBW80. Cheers!

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