One of the most compelling characteristics of a good rosé is youthful vivacity, writes Ernie Whalley. Rosés are made in different ways, including the blending of red and white wines together; by leaving the skins briefly in contact with the juice just before fermentation; or by a technique called saignée (‘bleeding’). When a winemaker desires to impart more body to a red wine, some of the pink juice from the must can be removed at an early stage. The red wine remaining in the vats is intensified as a result of the bleeding; the pink juice that is removed can be fermented separately to produce rosé. Rosé is best enjoyed during the warmer months, often in an out-of-doors location. The rosé fan seeks a fresh, lively wine with attractive strawberry, raspberry and, sometimes, cherry and/or redcurrant fruit. The colour is often a dead giveaway – faded wines and those from older vintages are best avoided. Overall we were surprised by the high quality of the 24 wines tasted. 8 chosen, these are the first four.
Chateau Bellevue La Fôret 2012, Fronton, €13.99 Martins, D3; Londis stores; Deveney’s, D14 and other independents. BRONZE
EW: Gutsier than your average rosé, this comes over fresh as a daisy with rich, joyful clean red fruit, enlivened by zippy spices and a citric touch.
MM: Irish owned chateau that appears to be in safe hands if this quite full bodied style with plenty of red currant like fruit is anything to go by
EW: Mandarin, pink grapefruit and beautiful red berry fruit. Clean finish, class act.
MM: Hortus is a model of consistency. I’ve never had a bad wine from them and this serves up attractive berry fruit but also a slightly different, zesty orange note on the finish.
EW: Good heft of strawberry and redcurrant fruit, quite complex. Merlot and Cabernet working well together, quite ‘serious’ for rosé
MM: Weighty for a rosé with plenty of ripe fruit such as tinned strawberries, cherry and pear yet it stays tangy and fresh.
Ch de Sours 2012
Bordeaux €18.99 Deveney’s, D14; www.sweeneyswine.ie
, D11 and selected independents. SILVER
EW: Strawberry, raspberry, grapefruit, touch of lemon verbena. Attractive, balanced, likeable and very high quality wine. As always, a benchmark, giving something for others to aim for.
MM: This chateau has a stellar reputation that is fully deserved. Consistently delivers subtle wild strawberry fruit, creamy texture and a zippy grapefruit finish. Delish.
READ ERNIE WHALLEY AND MARTIN MORAN IN ‘SUNDAY’ MAGAZINE IN THE SUNDAY TIMES (IE)