Chilled rosés are light, but still flavourful, and are ideal for sipping on a hot day. That’s why more rosé wines are sold during the summer than at any other time of the year. So you’d think picking up a reasonably priced and tasty bottle of rosé would be easy. Not so. Of the bottles tasted for this column, less than half came up to scratch.
So why are the odds stacked against picking up a good rosé? Because rosés aren’t that easy to make.
Grape juice from white and red grapes is green. Most of a wine’s flavour and colour comes not from the juice, but from the skins of the grapes. Add yeast into a vat of grape juice from a ‘red wine’ grape such as Cabernet Sauvignon and you’ll end up with a white wine. To get a bit of colour into it, red grape skins need to be put into the brew.
The longer they are left in, the more colour and flavour is leached out. For a delicate rose-coloured wine like Rosé D’Anjou the grape skins are left in the wine for just a few hours. Leave the skins in for up to three days and even more of the grape’s colour and flavour will move into the wine – the resulting dark-coloured rosé could be mistaken for a light red.
Too little soaking will result in a flavourless wine while too much can result in ‘off’ aromas. The light strawberry flavours and raspberry aromas of the best rosés are due as much to the skill and judgment of the winemaker as the quality of the grapes.
PG Wine Reviews
Co-op Argentinean Fairtrade Malbec Rosé 2014
Aromas of pear blossom – then flavours of peaches, pears and lemons. More of a white wine than a rosé.
Aldi Exquisite Collection New Zealand Pinot Noir Rosé 2015
Down in price 50p since June. Hints of strawberry.
Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference French Fronton Rosé 2015
£6 Sainsbury’s (dow from £7 until August 30)
A blend of three red grape varieties produces more of a light red than a rosé with flavours of blackberry, spice and bubblegum.
Muga Spanish Rioja Rosé 2015
£9.99 Waitrose, £10.99 Majestic
Delicate colour and delicate flavours of raspberry.
Esk Valley New Zealand Merlot Rosé 2015
£10 Wood Winters Wines and Whiskies
Tastes like strawberry Lockets.
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© Paula Goddard 2016 www.paulagoddard.com