Giles has a long and lingering look at the wide range of Rose wines available.
War of The Roses
Hello! And welcome to this month' wander through wine. This time, as the name suggests I am looking at rose wines, the fastest growing sector in the UK with growth over twenty percent year on year in the last three years...guess who spent most of the week at the London Wine Trade Fair!
Over the last few years we have seen beyond the evils of Matteus and taken these often wonderful wines to our collective hearts, and about time too if you ask me! Much of the misapprehension about them has come from the belief that roses are either sweet; yes to the likes of white zinfandel (a crime against wine if there was one!) rose d'Anjou (another 1970's classic) and certain oddities from certain parts of Spain and Alsace which are not technically roses, but have a certain richness of colour that often leads people to believe that they are. Fact is most roses are as dry as an red or white wine and hold the unique position of being as refreshing as whites but as satisfying as reds.
And whilst we're on the subject of dispelling myths about roses, most, and by most these days I mean the vast majority, of roses are not created by the mixing of red and white together, rather they are created by allowing the red pigment from the black skins to come into contact with the clear grape juice, a process known as saignee in France and other things elsewhere that this particular dire linguist can't recall!
The exact colour of the wine will depend on a number of factors; the grape varieties used, Grenache or Garnacha as it's known in Spain is ideal for making rose wines as of its low tannin, low acidity and early drinking nature but owing to its lack of pigment rarely gives dark wines. Syrah and Cabernet by contrast give good, deep almost red roses but often lack the weight and fruit of their paler counterparts, in the world of rose, darker does by no means mean better or weightier.
Anyway first up is an old favourite in a new vintage, the Muga Rioja Rosado 2005 (£6.99 £5.59 if you buy two, Majestic) This is just a joy this wine, a complete heart warming joy. Even if the weather is miserable this wine always puts summer in your soul with its abundance of strawberry and raspberry tones, elegant, zesty acidity and full, ripe finish. Get a couple of this lightly chilled and your party or supper is off to a flying start.
Next up something with less grace and much more weight. It's the Santa Rita Cabernet Sauvignon Rose (£5.99 or £4.79 for two, Majestic) Cracking Chilean wine that is sublime with barbecued food. There is not that much subtly here, the hefty green pepper and cherry notes are rather screamed at you from the glass, but the fulsome flavours of raspberries, currants and limes are so likeable you don't care that it can seem a touch boorish.
Back to Spain, and Rioja for that matter, and the Martinez Bujanda Rosado 2005 (Laithwaites, Odd Bins £6.99) This Garnacha dominated wine is super ripe and super juicy, with mouth-fillingly soft flavours of stewed plums, blueberries and vanilla. An absolutely wonderful wine on its own, its spritz of citrus acidity makes it happy to go with green salads and lightly seasoned poultry.
Last, but by mo means least, look out for the Lindauer NV Rose (Majestic £5.99 if you buy two or more) You always get a lot of wine for your money with Lindauer and the rose is no exception. This rich, fruity, weighty fizz has a lovely array of red and white berry fruit flavours and a seductively cream texture. Great fun fizz and at a price that makes toasting the summer in style decidedly affordable.
Well enjoy the weather; you know I think I need a glass of something...
PS Any wine queries please feel to mail me on firstname.lastname@example.org!