Let’s Talk Rosé
The sun is beating down, there’s a smell of fresh rosemary and thyme in the air and the gentle music of running trickling water in the background. On your table, a fresh, vibrant salad is crying out for a cool glass of wine to complete the picture. You’re in Cookham’s garden, or down in Churt, or on the canal-side patio in Reading perhaps, but there’s no need to travel 800 miles south – to complete that Mediterranean feel, a glass of rosé is called for.
Often thought of as a less serious style, suitable for drinking only on those rare occasions in England that the sun comes out, rosé actually has a long and notable history. It’s likely that the earliest production of red wines was actually similar to current rosés in colour and body. Indeed, at one point the most highly prized wines from Bordeaux were those called ‘vin d’une nuit’, or ‘wine of one night’ – referring to the very short period of skin contact which gave the wines a pale colour – and even today a robust form of rosé known as ‘Clairette’ is made in the region.
These days, rosé’s popularity goes from strength to strength, thanks to not just summertime easy drinking, but also as an excellent partner for food. The wines are made in a range of styles, from the palest of ‘blushes’ through to blood-red rosados from Iberia in particular – but far and away the most popular right now are the wines of the Côtes de Provence. Pale in colour, light in body but with a fragrant bouquet of red fruit, orange blossom and a touch of minerality, they encapsulate southern France – or, one of our own gardens a little nearer to home – in a glass.
Here at B&D, we’re proud to have a long-standing relationship with Château Léoube – one of the most beautiful estates in Europe. Set amongst 560 hectares of rolling land directly looking out onto the Mediterranean, Léoube are fully organic and make wines of real character. For several years we imported wines directly from the Château, and every year we host a Supper Club in our sites to celebrate their wines. Magnums and double magnums are available for when a bottle just won’t quite cut it…
We also stock Château D’Esclans’ ‘Whispering Angel’, another prime example of the Provencal style. Although a Château has stood on the grounds of the estate since the 12th Century, the current incarnation is a new venture that dates back to 2006, when the new owners set about their intention of creating a truly elite rosé. A little over 12 years later and the wine is the biggest selling rosé in the world. We also sell in 6-litre ‘Imperial’ size, which makes quite the statement when sat in the middle of your dinner table.
Finally, keep an eye out for something a little closer to home – in honour of English Wine Week in May, we were lucky enough to take delivery of a limited quantity of Albury Estate’s Silent Pool Rosé, produced organically down in the Surrey Hills. Similar in style to Provencal rosé, but with greater minerality and a feather-light 10.5% ABV, it’s well worth a try – if you can get your hands on it! There’ll be more next year…
Three to try…
- LOVE by Château Léoube – A blend of Grenache and Cinsault, this has a lovely fresh strawberry and peach nose. The palate is light and crisp with a slight touch of blossom. Delicious.
- Whispering Angel by Chateau D’Esclans – A blend of at least 5 grape varieties including the little known Tibouren, it’s not hard to see why Whispering Angel has shot to popularity. Very pale, with a nose of mineral and fresh red fruit. On the palate, there’s a good balance between the fruit and a long, refreshing finish.
- Silent Pool Rose, Albury Estate – Recently dubbed the best English rosé he’s tasted by Matthew Jukes, this is just lovely – crushed red fruit, a definite stony minerality and plenty of freshness on the finish; whilst the 10.5%ABV makes it very friendly for summertime drinking.
Posted 28th June 2018 by Harry Christie