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A dozen rosés

The very first wines were rosé.

The ancients crushed red and white grapes together and, as early as the sixth century, the Greeks bought vines to southern France where they made pink wines. By the time the Romans landed in Provence they had heard of these wines and soon made them popular with their established trade routes.

By the middle ages bordeaux earned the still-used name claret, from the British, as this reflected their light red colour. Two hundred years ago, when French tourists started to holiday in the south of their country, rosé wine became the fashion.

When I joined the wine trade in 1975 it was dominated by inexpensive rosé but gradually sales slid and, in an effort to stimulate them in Britian, advertising campaigns that spread worldwide even included Jimi Hendrix. Then of course those wily Californians “invented” white zinfandel.

In 2006 Sasha Lichine, with a long family history in Bordeaux, had a desire to restore rosé wines to a position of eminence and so he purchased Chateau D’Eslans in Provence and hired highly talented and experienced people to work with him. Whispering Angel was born and the whole world found out that beautiful pink wines were available. Let’s find out about a dozen from our very considerable selection.

Australian Qantas Airlines has this to say about 2019 Jim Barry Anabelle's Rose: “Offers lifted notes of spring rain, wet stone, red fruits and fresh-cut strawberries with cream. The palate is alive with red berries, wild strawberries, pomegranates and redcurrant leaf.” A lovey grenache-based wine for $24.85 (Stock #6417).

The 2019 Bertrand Cote des Rosés from the Languedoc offers a soft, pale, brilliant pink with bluish tints developing over time towards more orangey nuances. The bouquet releases aromas of summer fruits, cassis and redcurrant. Floral notes with hints of grapefruit complete the picture. The finish is fresh, offering notes of candy. On the palate, the impression is fresh and full, with great aromatic persistence and balance. Wilfred Wong rates it 90/100 and writes: “The 2019 Côte des Roses blend of grenache, syrah and cinsault is a lovely example of why rosés from the south of France are so popular.” $24.50 (Stock #7298).

If you have been wondering what a mix of groppello, barbera, sangiovese and marzemino grown in the Lake Garda region of northern Italy can offer, then wonder no more and just ask for a bottle of 2018 Santa Margherita Stilrose. Its delicate pink colour leads you into floral fragrances of rose and fruity notes of orange and fraises des bois, along with hints of lychee and ginger, in a scent profile that is at once elegant and complex and made vibrant by a tanginess that gives added dynamism to its almost crunchy nuances of wild berries and sweet spices. $25.80 (Stock #8890).

The 2019 Sasha Lichine Single Blend is a grenache-based wine that offers fresh strawberries, raspberries and pears with a hint of grapefruit on the nose and palate. An excellent value at $19.95 (Stock #8105).

Let’s start our Provence journey down the road of rosé with the 2019 Palm by Whispering Angel. This authentic rosé operates as a playful, trendy, energetic “little sister” to Whispering Angel. The Palm is expressive as it shows great aromatic freshness on the nose followed by more subtle, fruity notes on the palate. $23.65 (Stock #8112).

The 2019 Whispering Angel gets this from critic Matthew Jukes: "Whispering Angel is the most famous rosé in the world and it is now firmly established as the most glamorous pink wine on the planet too! This brand new 2019 vintage is absolutely stunning." We will shortly be switching to the 2020, that rates 92/100 with James Suckling. $29.50 (Stock #8101).

Big sister 2019 Rock Angel is a serious rosé more akin to good, white burgundy than rosé. Handcrafted entirely from Château d'Esclans' best grapes, Rock has magnificent subtle fruit flavours, just the right amount of body and a long, fine finish. An exquisite rosé if ever there was one! $39.90 (Stock #8102).

When Sasha Lichine started his quest for the finest rosé in the world his ultimate goal was called Garrus. We now have very limited stocks of his 2019 Garrus Rosé that Matthew Jukes rates beyond perfection as he comments on this vintage: “I sense that Garrus will, one day, be mentioned in the same breath as wines like La Tâche, Latour, Vieilles Vignes Françaises and Le Montrachet. 20+/20." $69.95 (Stock #8111).

Another benchmark is 2019 Domaine Tempier Bandol Rosé. Because of its astounding ability to age, British critic Jancis Robinson wrote: “This iconic rosé could last as long as 30 years; the 1988 was probably the finest pink I have ever drunk.” This blend of mourvedre, grenache and cinsault is complex and fresh, and these organically farmed grapes give us peach and pomegranate followed by delicate spices and freshness. $36.55 (Stock #7076).

We now move south to Portugal and pick up a bottle of 2019 Porta 6 Rosé that is soft with hints of strawberry and vanilla from the castelao, tinta roriz and syrah grapes. We will only ask you for $15.85 for this quaffable summer refresher. (Stock #8782).

In California they blend grenache, barbera, pinot grigio, tempranillo and zinfandel together to give us 2018 Dark Horse Rosé that is a medium salmon pink colour that opens with sweet strawberry, pineapple, and floral notes on the nose. It has flavours of white peach and a pleasant hint of lime. $18 (Stock #6869).

Just room to squidge in number twelve, 2019 Mirabeau Classic Rosé from Provence, that earns this review from the Wine Enthusiast: “Syrah and grenache make a happy partnership in this wine that revels in fruitiness. A touch of spice and minerality add texture to a wine that is bright, fresh and ready to drink.” $23.35 (Stock #8251).

Hope you enjoy the bunch!

This column is an advertorial for Burrows Lightbourn Ltd. Contact Michael Robinson at mrobinson@bll.bm. Burrows Lightbourn have stores in Hamilton (Front Street East, 295-1554) and Paget (Harbour Road, 236-0355). Visit www.wineonline.bm

Wine critic Matthew Jukes says the 2019 Garrus rosé is beyond perfection

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Published May 14, 2021 at 8:00 am (Updated May 12, 2021 at 2:52 pm)

A dozen rosés

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