Once dismissed as a preserve for female drinkers, rosé is now recognized as a serious summer essential for everyone. Enjoying a richly deserved return to popularity, Britain’s original wine and spirit merchant explores why wine drinkers are choosing rosé and how it is now the most agreeable of summer wines with recommendations for the perfect pink drink for sunny occasions such as barbeques, garden parties and boat trips in Hong Kong.
As well as light, easy-drinking, modestly priced varieties that are perfect for enjoying on a hot day, winemakers are also responding to the surging demand with a new generation of more sophisticated styles with subtlety and finesse.
“Until recently, rosé wines were often dismissed as they were too sweet,” says Amanda Longworth, Berry Bros. & Rudd Head of Marketing & Wine Services. “But as the global wine market has expanded, high quality rosé wines from traditional appellations such as Tavel, Sancerre and the South of France have gained more exposure.
“Access to these drier, flavourful wines have been the impetus for the increased appeal among both men and woman and there are now also premium rosé expressions.”
The epicentre of the rosé wine world is in the South of France, accounting for the vast majority of Provence’s wine production, and for lovers of the region’s pale rosé style, Les Amourettes Rosé Herault, Languedoc (HK$95) is light and refreshing yet subtle and distinctive with lovely gentle fruit for everyday drinking. The wine has a bouquet of strawberries and raspberries with a refreshing and zesty acidity. This dry, unoaked example can be enjoyed as an aperitif or with a wide range of Mediterranean dishes, including garlicky sauces and tangy bouillabaisse stews.
Expect to find zippier rosés from the Loire Valley, such as Sancerre Rose, Andre Dezart, Loire, 2013 (HK$148). Dry, with elegant notes of wild strawberries and summer berries, a lifted acidity provides an excellent sense of freshness. Use of Pinot Noir gives this a lot of character, while still retaining a sense of the restrained style that lovers of pale pink rosé seek. Excellent quality for the price, the wine is easy to drink and an excellent food pairing wine too.
While most of the southern Rhone Valley is dominated by red wines, rosé is the only permitted wine style made in the Tavel AOC, acclaimed as “Southern France’s self-styled capital of rosé”. Tavel is often served at beach-side cafes overlooking the Mediterranean. Tavel Rose, La Dame Rousee, Dme de la Mordoree Rhone, 2012 (HK$160) is a fuller and fruity style of rosé. Though still dry, the fragrant floral bouquet comes with rich red and white fruit aromas. 60% Grenache provides the soft red fruit and peppery spice, while small amounts of the Cinsault and Mourvedre provide depth and structure – perfect for those who like a more strong style of rosé, with structure and fruit.
In Spain, rosé is known as rosado and are produced throughout the country. An excellent everyday drinking wine that will please even the most discerning palate is Berry Bros. & Rudd Reserve Rosé, Collovray & Terrier Spain (HK$75). This rosé has been crafted primarily from Cinsault and Syrah, lending red fruit charm and herbal freshness, and also Grenache and Mourvedre adding warmth and spicy depth. The wine’s complexity and lively flavours are therefore happily entwined.
Many consider Rosé Champagnes the ultimate indulgence. Thienot Brut Rosé NV Champagne (HK$400)has a delightful crispness. This A grade rosé is exquisite to drink with excellent levels of complexity. Soft red fruit of strawberry and raspberries come to the fore in a wine that has all the hallmarks of a top quality rosé from Champagne. Subtle, elegant fruit is complimented by soft floral, perfumed notes. This is an elegant wine with a delicate structure – making for a perfect aperitif for summer picnics.
A truly remarkable wine for special occasions isCristal Rose Champagne 2004 (HK$4,100). Intense, refreshing and exceptionally precise, the bouquet reveals a comprehensive and complex range of flavours – the ensemble is silky, full-bodied, luscious, and light, with a wonderful aromatic purity.