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No need to hide the glass with today’s rosé

Old vines at Domaine Tempier (Photograph supplied)

If we were sitting on our porch in ancient Greece, and sipping a glass of wine, chances would have been that it was a field blend of red and white grapes that very likely had some water added to it.

It would also have been, in today’s parlance, a rosé. Fast forward to the 14th century and we find that Bordeaux reds were much lighter than they are today, in fact many of the Brits still refer to them as “clarets”, even though hearty reds are now well perfected and established.

Now we move on to 1975 when I first became involved with wine. Rosé was very popular, but it was pleasant, everyday quaffing wine, much of it from Portugal. “White” zinfandel was also entering the market for the first time and was considered an entry level wine on the road to more complexity as tastes developed. Back then, when dining in a fine restaurant, one might be inclined to not prominently display their rose-coloured wine choice for all to see.

In 2006 Sasha Lichine introduced the world to Whispering Angel and overnight rosé became a fashionable and extremely well-made libation that changed the perception of pink wine. A few weeks ago, I wrote about the wide range offered by his Chateau d’Esclans in Provence and so today I will suggest others to have on the ready for the fourth Friday of this month, as this is designated International Rosé Day.

If you chose to bet on a dark horse, then you will find our 2020 Dark Horse Californian Rosé is refreshing and bright. It features fruity flavours of strawberry, raspberry and melon, along with tart cherry in a fruit-forward style. Perfect for drinking on summer days or blending into frosé, this blush wine offers a crisp finish that pairs well with chips and dip or a smoky burger. $18.75 (Stock #6869).

Hopping over to the Navarra region of Spain we find the Otazu winery that has earned the Vino de Pago classification, the highest on the quality scale of Spanish wines. Their 2020 Otazu Tempranillo Rosé is made from grapes grown on their 770-acre estate that benefits from Atlantic and Mediterranean climatic conditions. Pale peach in colour it exhibits tropical fruit and a lively finish. $24 (Stock #9409).

Our 2020 Porta 6 Rosé is a blend of castelao, tinta roriz and syrah grapes from Portugal. It is pale, salmon pink with aromas of strawberries, citrus and flowers. The red, white and rosé that we carry from this winery are all so reasonably priced, in fact at $15.85 this is our best priced rosé overall. It is a well-balanced and pleasant summer sipper. (Stock#8782).

The 2020 Jim Barry Annabelle’s Clare Valley Rosé from Australia presents a problem for Peter Barry who writes: “August 2015 heralded the arrival of our first grandchild, Annabelle, and the purchase of a new vineyard alongside her home. As a proud grandfather, it was my honour to name the site and wine after her. I invite you to share in a glass of this delicious 2021 rosé and to contemplate my predicament … Annabelle now has a baby sister, Alexandra, and cousins, Florence and Hazel!”

The nose opens with lifted notes of blackcurrant and blackberry aromatics and subtle savoury notes of garden herbs, turned earth and spice. The palate displays generous red and blackcurrant fruit gently shaped by soft, silky tannins. Hints of liquorice, tobacco and savoury oak add further character to a wine packed with bright fruit flavours. $24.85 (Stock #6417).

Decanter magazine tells the story for me of 2020 Mirabeau Pure Rosé when they print, “Leaving South London in 2010 to set up the Mirabeau domaine in Provence, this energetic English couple have always aimed high. This is their grenache-led, direct press rosé, which is a little restrained and delicate on the nose initially, but comes alive in the mouth, filling you up with strawberries, redcurrants, grapefruit and fresh garrigue herbs. The acidity is laser fresh and keeps the sweet fruit in check, finishing almost like an elegant white wine. Why not try with Thai food. 90/100.”

I doubt if Decanter knows that some of the land now owned and used by Mirabeau was quite recently purchased from a Bermudian couple who used to be my neighbours! $26.75 (Stock #8250).

The web site Rock Juice is maybe a good choice of a name if I get tired of Grape Expectations. Anyway, this is how they describe 2020 Val de Caire Provence Rosé: “This is textbook (and gorgeous) Provencal rosé, with a twist: it’s certified organic, small production and unfined/unfiltered. Legit natural rosé from Provence, which is a rare and beautiful thing. Perfectly pale pink in the glass with bright acidity, pretty, red fruit, citrus, and Mediterranean herbs, it is bone dry on the palate and practically oozes sophistication.” $22 (Stock #7099).

We wrap this up with a wine that The Wine Spectator comments on this way: “In Bandol no other winery rivals the influence of Domaine Tempier in defining the identity of the appellation.” Parker has called it “the world’s greatest rosé”.

The wine is 2018 Domaine Tempier Bandol Cuvee Classique Rosé, made from mourvedre, grenache, cinsault and carignan grapes that have always been grown organically, although a biodynamic approach has been used recently. The colour of salmon pink is darker than you may expect, as modern rosé can be pale. Fresh pit fruit and flowers are on the highly perfumed nose and nectarine, strawberry and more flowers follow. This is a lovely treat for special occasions and so good with many foods. $41.70 (Stock #7921).

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

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Published June 17, 2022 at 7:59 am (Updated June 16, 2022 at 5:08 pm)

No need to hide the glass with today’s rosé

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