Today’s Sunday Best rosé reminds us of the various chapters in the story of “pink wine”.
In the Seventies, rosé was seen as a welcome alternative to the (then dominant) sweet whites and robust reds.
However, its initial association with trendy Mediterranean lifestyles gradually wore thin as drier whites and fruit-driven reds began seizing attention.
Thereafter, rosé justified only a small space on the bottom wine shelf in most retailers – as yesterday’s fallen heroes.
The pendulum swung back in the hot summer 20 years ago, but the versions most readily available then were largely crimson coloured, off dry and less than subtle.
By and large, they were designed as – and consumed as – “drink anytime” wine for summer days.
However, rosé production was changing at around the same time and premium versions were slowly beginning to have their day at the races.
Better quality fruit, lighter pressing and shorter skin contact time all helped to make those wines aromatic and truly delicate in colour and flavour.
An aura of sophistication grew around these paler examples.
Equally, their successful partnerships with food increased their popularity and made them less of a seasonal speciality.
As the wines grew lighter, so their prices went the other way but the high quality that was emerging fully justified paying more.
We highlight one such premium version today.
But don’t let the rosé story overshadow today’s Friday Treat wine.
It is a full, rich red from a less well-known Spanish region, but wine that tempranillo lovers will relish.
All-in-all, an excellent option at a few pennies under £10.
The images and hyperlinks provided should help you to find them in crowded displays.
Friday Night Treat
Starting with that rich, red option
2018 Ramon Ramos Parlaor Tinta de Toro Roble (£9.95 at Slurp and 14.5% abv):
- Produced in a region in north-west Spain.
- Rich and full, from a tempranillo variant.
- Cherry and prune flavours lead the parade.
- It has good acidity but gentle tannin.
- Supporting elements include eucalyptus, cocoa and minerality.
The Tinta de Toro grape – probably a tempranillo variant – prospers in the Spanish region north west of Madrid that shares the second part of its name.
The climate and number of old vines there help the area make full bodied and rich wines like this.
With fruity aromas and gentle tannin, this brilliant example provides smooth cherry, prune and raisin flavours.
These are combined with good acidity, touches of cocoa, eucalyptus and rosemary and a savoury (almost slate) finish.
And now for that rosé
2022 Clarendelle Inspired by Haut-Brion Rosé (from £15.99 at Laithwaite’s and 12.5%):
- Classy rosé from Bordeaux.
- It uses that region’s grapes to fashion very delicate wine.
- Raspberry and red currant flavours abound.
- Zingy acidity adds vibrancy.
- Herbs and subtle sweetness complete the picture.
While Provence steals the headlines for rosé, never underestimate the quality and attractiveness of versions from Bordeaux.
And, this one – as its name suggests – has a perfect Bordeaux pedigree.
It is merlot centred with contributions from cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc and sits around the (currently, usual) price for top-quality rosé.
Fresh with a rounded mouthfeel, it is centred on zingy raspberry and red currant flavours.
Support for those elements comes from sherbet acidity, gentle herbiness and a hint of sweetness – all provided without compromising the wine’s delightful delicacy.
While Laithwaite’s are pretty well known, today’s other supplier – Slurp – may need a little introduction.
They are widely recognised as an especially innovative online wine retailers and do operate a very slick business.
Nowadays, they form part of Henkell Freixenet, the German based sparkling wine producer, and this gives them access to a wide range of products.
More details appear on their “About Us” at the other end of this link.
My next post (on Monday) contains terrific recommendations of Top Tips for you but keeps the prices down to budget levels wherever it can.
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