Peering out of the window from my home-work-office (or, ‘inspiration-station’ as Bob Mortimer calls it in his Train Guy sketch on Instagram) the explosion of colour lit up by streaming sunlight is like the first glance of a long-absent friend. It is also the most enjoyable time to turn our thoughts to rosé.
Still Rosé tasting notes
Social distancing in supermarket queues for the check-out always seems to snake round to the booze aisle in this part of South London. Last week the guy in front of me saved his compulsive buying until he was confronted by the rosé selection, at which point he took liberally from the shelves.
Infected by the notion of pink wine my thoughts drifted back to past expeditions to the Southern French coast, and that Italian stretch between La Spezia and Bordighera, or, Bordeaux, La Coruna or Lisbon. Rosé had slaked across my palate at various moments contributing its own chorus of song to each occasion.
Côtes de Provence, 2018
L’Esprit de Provence - The heat, the sun, the languorous lunch and big splash before a siesta that leads you gently toward evening. Let this lockdown Le Grand Cross rosé do some heavy lifting for you on the imaginative part.
Gorgeous contrast between the sweetness of the summer fruits and the freshness of the grapefruit notes and acidity. Deliciously evocative.
RRP £15.50 from Berry Bros & Rudd
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Maison Saint Aix, AIX Rosé, Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence, 2018
AIX Rosé wine is a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Cinsault, from Coteaux d’Aix en Provence. Lovely combination of flowers and ripe summer fruit that will pair well with a spiced or aromatic dishes that are on the lockdown menu. We served with a vegan red lentil daal and it was superb.
RRP £19.99 from Selfridges
Sparkling Rosé tasting notes
Château Martinolles – Crémant de Limoux Rosé
60% Chardonnay, 20% Chenin Blanc, 20% Pinot Noir - 10g dosage
Lovely strawberry and floral aromas, a textural creaminess with a soft and palatable, nice fresh finish, leaves the mouth pleasantly stimulated for more of whatever comes next. I tasted this over lunch in London with winemaker and estate manager, Bastion Lalauze, who emphasised the amount of work going on in the vineyard to address sustainability issues while converting to more organic practices across the business.
Overall, there is little here not to love, as this crémant offers fantastic taste/price value.
Chateau Martinolles is part of the larger Domaines Paul Mas who last year was awarded the Mundus Vini Best French Producer Award.
RRP: £15.99 from Jeroboams
Oastbrook Sparkling Rosé 2015
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Blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier - intense striking pink/magenta colour. Disgorged 18/09/19.
An overt compote of summer fruit aroma including cherry, raspberry and strawberry takes the senses by pleasant surprise. Delicious ripe fruit taste balanced with a good backbone of acidity that protects the freshness.
This rosé sparkler has bags of appeal and great personality. A fabulous example of high-quality English sparkling wine from a fairly new arrival on the local winemaking scene.
RRP: £38 Available online: https://www.oastbrook.com/online-shop/
Zero alcohol rosé wine
McGuigan Zero Alcohol Rosé
Zero alcohol is not my style at all no matter how it is pitched but this is worth a mention for those for whom it is a preference or necessity. I tasted it at a lunch given by Neil McGuigan in the Sky garden in the City of London. For what it is setting out to achieve, I have to say that it is impressive but the winemaking process used means that it does have some credence.
The wine made from grapes in the normal way but it is de-alcoholised using a spinning cone. McGuigan stated at the lunch that the mission was to make a zero alcohol wine that they could be proud of. Well…
This has lots of primary fruit and light spritz to give it a bit of a kick. It has the desired freshness and isn’t overly sweet or (my worst fear with bad rosé) wincingly saccharine.
I really think that if you went to party and started pouring glasses among occasional drinkers then they would have no idea at all. Would I drink it? I think I’ll stick to the suggestions above for the moment but horses for courses!
RRP: £4.99 from Morrisons or Ocado
Enjoy the warm weather and stay safe on the lockdown!
An aperitif by the coliseum
As COVID-19 conspires with the grimmest of winds and rain to force a societal retreat behind our own front doors, the word ennui springs to mind. The muddle of displeasure is pierced when Natalia hands me a large bulbous glass of a liquid I do not recognise.
Artichoke pasta and very fine Pigato
Britain’s lamentable exit
On the eve of Britain’s official departure from the EU, my partner and I decided to explore a small town on the Italian Riviera where thewintry cold doesn’t feel so much like cold war bite.
I had warned my significant other that I would be having an inverse departure party, a release of the sanity valve if you like!
Soave: volcanic wines with elegance and longevity
Sitting inside the ancient castle walls inside the town of Soave, a short drive from Verona in northern Italy, the unique slightly almond aroma of the indigenous grape, Garganega, rises gently from my glass. The castle sprawls up the side of an extinct volcano that gives the region its variant soil structures that mark out the better quality of Soave wines.
An American In Paris; Tanisha Townsend (@GirlMeetsGlass) discusses podcasts, Paris wine bars, & what she's drinking at the moment
Tanisha Townsend decided to move to Paris 4 years ago after regularly passing through the city en route to the world’s most famous vineyards. In fact, it was about 2 years ago at the Printemps de Champagne Bouzy Rouge tasting in Reims that I saw (who we shall now refer to as) GirlMeetsGlass chirpily speaking to her web followers on Snapchat.
Wine tasting in Galicia: The pilgrims search for Albarino
The cathedral in Santiago de Compostela, the final resting place of Saint James, rises out of the landscape, infested with antiquity. The rambling steep streets give way to shafts of dramatic light, emblazoned chapels, and tightly packed tapas bars, dusty, as old novels pressed together in antiquarian bookshops.
Interview: (Re)Defining the Entre-Deux-Mers, climate change & tasting with Stephane Dupuch
Driving into the Entre-Deux-Mers region from the north, the vineyards roll out like a bright green deep-pile carpet across the undulating land. It’s hard not to be excited about tasting wines with so much heritage, as we head to Chateau-Sainte-Marie to meet with 5th generation owner, Stéphane Dupuch.