La Vie en Rosé

It’s already started – that long-anticipated breath of warmth which brings the first sunny souls into the shop for ‘something pink’. But why is rosé so closely linked to summer, and what is the magical quality that is so appealing to wine lovers of all kinds?

‘Refreshing, pretty, and easy to love’

Rosé is so often the wine of sociability – summer barbecues, lunch with friends, a garden get-together, or dinner in the evening sunshine, none are quite complete without a bottle of pink within easy reach. Its red fruit flavours and indulgent texture appeal to red wine drinkers, while its crispness and refreshing cool appeals to those who prefer white. It’s easy to drink, and the increasing sophistication of producers means that there’s more to rosé than just the colour.

Beyond Provence

The current rosé revolution began in the Mediterranean region of Provence, in the far south-east of France, where elegant clear bottles filled with the palest wine became marks of sophistication, a world away from the sweet round Mateus bottles of the 80s that represented many people’s first experiences of the style. Generally a blend of Southern French varieties such as Grenache, Syrah, Carignan and Cinsault, macerated briefly on the skins to extract the tiniest hint of colour, Provence rosés give flavours of strawberry and summer herbs and a long, dry finish. Provence was the rosé it was ok to like, and has become the wine of choice for many connoisseurs when summer arrives.

But 15 years after the revolution began, we’re starting to see what the rest of the world is capable of. A huge range of hues, with wines from almost every black grape you can name, now showing the same level of complexity and sophistication as Provence but with a character all of their own.

This year’s range in Grape Minds includes a Merlot-Cabernet Franc blend from St-Emilion in Bordeaux, a Negroamaro rosé from Puglia in Southern Italy, Gamay and Pinot Noir rosé from the Loire, and a signature Merlot from our favourite South Africans in Elgin.

Our favourites from beyond Provence:

M de Mangot Rosé (£16.99) is a powerful, full-flavoured wine, packed with summer berry fruits and a really long finish. Perfect for a red-lovers’ first foray into rosé.

The Surani Helios Negroamaro Rosato (£10.99) is deeper pink, and its fruit profile is black cherry and pomegranate. Despite its colour, the wine is bone dry, creamy in the mouth, and the perfect rosé for spicy food.

Domaine Berthier Sancerre Rosé (£16.99) is 100% Pinot Noir, and is made with the attention to detail you’d expect from this premium appellation. Cranberry, red cherry and a smoky hint on the palate, it spends 36 hours on its skin and 3 months on the lees, meaning it has a little more structure than most, as well as excellent weight in the mouth. As such, this is the rosé for all seasons: as good in December as it is in July.

Oneiric ‘Copper Lining’ Rosé (£23.99) arrives in a bottle so elegant it deserves a place on your table on its own. 100% Merlot from the cooler region of Elgin in South Africa, it’s dry and minerally, with a fantastic concentration of apricot and yellow plum, and a long, refreshing finish.

Michael, June 2021