The Longridge News has kindly asked Tom to write a wine column in the newspaper every month. This week in the run up to Valentines Day, Tom puts the case for giving a dozen gorgeous pink Rosés rather than a dozen prickly red roses on the romantic day…
The case for a dozen pink rosés.
At this time of year, with Valentine’s Day just around the corner, we tend to see an upsurge of interest in all things pink at The Whalley Wine Shop. It’s certainly a popular time for pink fizz, as many an amorous evening begins with those delicious bubbles! Whether still or sparkling, Rosé wine has become very fashionable in recent years, gaining popularity all around the world as a fabulous year round wine. And it’s easy to see why, with its light tannins and fresh acidity, it’s a delicious aperitif and is brilliant paired with food especially light salads, light pasta and rice dishes, seafood, lightly cooked shellfish, grilled fish and goats’ cheeses.
So what exactly is Rosé? Is it a white wine with a bit of red wine added? Or is it just a very pale red wine? Or is it a blend of both? Rosé is made in different ways in different parts of the world, but it actually started life in France as a by-product of red wine. It was originally made by bleeding off the pale juices so that the rest of the juices would create a more concentrated red wine. Nowadays the most predominant way of making rosé is called the ‘skin contact method’. Black grapes are picked when they are ripe, they are pressed and then the juice is left in contact with the skins for just a few hours so the colour, flavour and some of the tannins pass from the skins to the juice, leaving a lovely pale pink colour. Then you take the juice away from the skins and once fermentation has happened, you end up with a beautiful bone-dry rosé. The longer that the skins are left in contact with the juice, the more intense the colour of the final wine.
There are some fabulous rosés made around the world, but our motto would be if you like it pink then it must be Provence. Provence, encompasses many appellations, from Côtes de Provence to Coteaux d’Aix en Provence, Bandol (famous for its big-chested reds based on mourvèdre) and Cassis, home of some particularly refined whites. But the predominant output of this region is delicate, pale and it is pink. Our recommendation for a delicious rosé is the Whispering Angel AOC Côtes de Provence 2015. A delicious lighter style of rosé, it’s fresh, clean, mineral with a white peach expression. This is unoaked, vinified in stainless steel tanks, kept chilled at every stage of the process. From a blend of Grenache, Rolle, Cinsault and Syrah, all hand-harvested, it is simply superb. With an apology to all florists, maybe the love of your life might prefer a case of these sublimely pink Rosés, rather than a dozen of the prickly red variety. They’ll certainly last a lot longer!