Rose 101 – Why drink Rosé?


Before I tell you about Bibendum’s Rosé tasting last night, I have to admit: Rosé has a special place in my life. I won my first serious job after university by writing a sales letter on Rosé. Nobody wanted to touch it. The manager flicked it at me across his very large desk with a hopeless smirk, “see what you can do with this”.

The letter did quite well. And the rest, as they say, is history.

At the time, Rosé was not serious, too girly, it is not fine wine: it’s just the leftovers from the real wines. Meant to be drunk now, it is really lolly water with alcohol. Confectionary, sweet and PINK!

How things have changed. The marketing from ten years ago, rather patronisingly aimed at women and their girlfriends, now looks silly and cringe-worthy. Rosé has finally grown up and become a wine style in itself. The range of styles have broadened from the superficial to the serious. Or, more to the point, the wine-drinking public has become more savvy to this wine and its many different styles.

But what you are looking for in a good one? This is where the limits of the science of wine meets art… and dare I say it, beauty. Adding up scores for appearance, bouquet and aroma reaches an impasse when faced with something made mostly for fun. If you need to explain a funny story too much, the whole moment falls flat.

So, let’s try to work out a few styles of the evening:

1. There are the fun Rosés you want to have in a pub with a catch up with friends such as Madfish Sangiovese Rosé, which was very-well made like a series of timed fireworks. This also includes the creamy, yet clean fruit of the Agustinos Syrah Rosé from Maipo Valley in Chile. The cherry-berry characters are as satisfying as licking the lips covered in sticky grape Popsicle on a sunny day.

2. Then there are the elegant, savoury herbal styles from Provence like Chateau de Sarrins Rosé by Bruno Paillard. A Rosé so quiet you can almost hear the sound of crickets in Aix. Along the lines of the controversial, ultra St-Tropez Chateau de Selle, Domaine Ott.

3. Don’t forget the seriously underrated spicy Rioja Rosada. Robust enough to withstand a spicy chorizo. Els Pyrenus Altas de Ruesca Rosé is 100% Garancha. This wine loves big food and would be offended to be quaffed as an aperitif.

4. Finally, the Bordeaux Rosés, featuring the magnum of Lafon Rosé made from the saignee from Chateau Lafon Rochet. Restrained and serious, with streamlined fruit it really needs steaks or even char-grilled flavours. It has a tannin structure missing in most Rosé.

My conclusion from the evening: if you have a serious nature, try something fluorescent pink with bright confectionary fruit. If you are a bit of a party person, why not try drinking a Bordeaux Rosé with dinner?

You might just surprise yourself.

Thank you to Bibendum for holding the tasting, and the team at 101 Pimlico Road Restaurant for the wonderful food.

Link: On Bibendum Times