A Rosé From Any Other Place Would Taste As Sweet
Ah, rosé. The sun-soaked juice from the heavens. Nothing makes me feel more aligned with my best summer self than a glass of well chilled rosé. I love Provence rosé (who doesn’t, right?) but is it always my go-to? Not necessarily. While the super brand that is “Provence” gets most of the airtime (even to the point where many established rosé producing regions are trying to replicate the pale, delicate style), there are some real stunners to be found elsewhere. And doesn’t the adage go, “a rosé by any other region would taste as sweet” or am I making that up?
Wines from the Languedoc can often be overlooked and that’s a shame. There are smaller sub regions like Côtes de Thau and Coteaux de Béziers that produce some very good rosés made by quality focussed, smaller batch producers. These are similar in style to the wines of Provence but are much more affordable and in certain examples, can show way more complexity and interest. You’d expect them to be pale pink with refreshing acidity and show hints of vanilla and spice thanks to some potential oak influence.
If you aren’t familiar, it’s time to unravel Tavel. Unusually, this Rhône Valley appellation is dedicated to rosé and just rosé. Always containing Grenache, these wines are traditional a deeper shade of pink and sometimes closer to orange. They’re relatively alcoholic (circa 13.5%) and much fuller in body than the tipples from Provence, but these wines are the epitome of “food wine” suiting a range of foods from Vietnamese rice paper rolls to a rich and creamy pasta. The best examples are packed with cherry, strawberry, almond, and peach aromas.
We’ve jumped from France to Italy and I’m not mad about it. Just north of Verona you can find the darling region of Bardolino. Taking in the lovely views of Lake Garda, the rosés are made of predominately Corvina (like Valpolicella) and are fresh, crisp and bang on delicious. Chiaretto is all about red fruits so pucker up and prepare yourself for loads of red cherries, raspberries, strawberry, and red plum flavours. Ours is made by the lovely team at Massinoti and it’s a favourite for team drinks of a Friday afternoon. Massinoti also make our Custoza, which if you’ve not yet had, is delish.
Being one of the most important and well-known wine producing regions in the world, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Rioja has dipped its metaphorical toe into the rosé-coloured waters. The rosés from Rioja can be deeper in colour, more structured and have ranging levels of sweetness. Made from a mix of the traditional grapes of the region Tempranillo, Garnacha and Viura, the best examples are slightly off dry and are packed with juice ripe fruits and showcase silky, smooth textures.
California can make some lovely rosé wines. Hear me out. You may be familiar with a very specific style of rosé that comes from California made from white zinfandel that’s a bit sweet. A very famous and commercially important wine that we won’t name (rhymes with “shmossum spill”) has put a lot of drinkers off the thought of trans-Atlantic rosé. There are, however, some very good examples of dry rosés being made. The style is evolving and is thankfully on the paler side of things, with some decent kit coming out of Sonoma County. I will splash out and say that if you’re wanting a 10/10 rosé from California, you’re probably best to look for a sparkling rosé. California makes work class fizz and the rosés are delicious. Often a bit on the pricey side, but well worth the money, you get the excitement of bubbles with the lush and juicy, red fruits that you know and love from rosé.
Now that we've got you drooling over rosé, you can explore all the best bottles we have to offer here.