For years, I hated rosé, writes Ernie Whalley. This almost certainly stemmed from memories of quaffing Mateus Rosé in student bedsits. The familiar flask-shaped green bottle held innocuous commercial plonk – kids’ stuff – no body, no character, too sweet to pair with food and lacking sufficient acidity to refresh. Curiously, Mateus is now in much better shape and I was quite surprised not to receive a bottle for our tasting. Now, like any other sort of convert, I’m a zealot for the cause; introducing full-on bone dry rosé to my friends, especially if there’s a sun in the sky. Grenache, Malbec, Merlot, Sangiovese, Syrah, Pinot Noir, Gamay rosé, bring it on! Rosé has largely been considered uncool for years; unfortunate because it’s kept a lot of people from appreciating a wine that’s intensely food-friendly and, moreover, looks beautiful in the glass. The big surprise of the tasting was the performance of one rosé d’ Anjou, an appellation that never seemed to cop on that sweet-tinged, clingy wines are not where it’s at. Here are our second selection of four, making 8 from 24 in total.
Ch La Grave ‘Expression’ 2012 Minervois, €13.90 Ardkeen Stores, Waterford; Avoca, Monkstown; Searsons, Monkstown, Co Dublin. BRONZE
EW: Clean, friendly fruit, refreshing; some delicacy too, with a strawberries-and-cream appeal and an intriguing hint of marjoram, almost ‘garrigue’ herbs.
MM: Their red is always good so no surprise to see their rosé showing a an interesting array of fruit flavours of red pastille, apple and citrus overlaying a creamy mouthfeel.
EW: Pleasing, unflashy but solid wine and a real bargain to boot. All this from an appellation that almost invariably fails to deliver. Super casual drinking.
MM: The shock of the tasting. This is an attractively juicy fruity style rather than the cloying sugary rubbish normally sold under this appellation.
EW: Smart, fragrant nose redolent of rose hip & white peach. ‘Real wine’ on the palate with a huge juicy mouthfeel overlaid with cream. Dies a bit quick but what the hell, this is for guzzling on the lawn.
MM: Typical Provence rosé, lots of berry fruit, crisp dry and long. The essence of what you want for a party.
Douce Vie 2012 Bernard Magrez Les Muraires Cotes de Provence €15.95 Redmonds of Ranelagh, D6 and selected independents. BRONZE
EW: Great wine from a producer who carries a lot of clout. Nettly, herbal scents on the nose amid the strawberry fruit. quite full-bodied, lot of fruit.
MM: A modern full-bodied fruity style filled with strawberry and pear flavours. One to enjoy with barbecued food.