The War of the Rosés: Surrender to Rosé Wines Now
In the battlefield of wine, House White, House Red and House Sparkling have always gathered all the glory while rosé has been continuously confined to the lesser lands of housewives’ book club catch-ups, agony aunts’ soap opera watching companions and campy pink treats for those with a thing for the kitsch.
Yet the rosés are proud and have grown strong, recruiting allies in strategic locations such as Provence, Languedoc and Loire Valley in France, Rioja and Navarra in Spain, California in the US, Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale in Australia and Uco Valley in Argentina.
Armed with powerful grapes such as Pinot Noir, Syrah, Grenache, Tempranillo, Zinfandel, Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon, rosé wines are determined to conquer the world and for this purpose they even have a not-so-secret weapon: celebrity wine-makers. Relevant names among these mass distractors include Generals Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie whose Miraval Rosé became viral news in 2013 and made enemy snobs raise their white flags after a taste of their Provençal cherry bomb.
— Miraval Provence (@MiravalProvence) May 30, 2016
Veteran Francis Coppola wrote his daughter’s name on his banner: Sofia Rosé, made from Syrah and Pinot Noir in Monterrey Country, California and earned his medal when The New York Times featured his pink on a piece titled The Summer Drink to Be Seen With. Nü Charlie’s Angel Drew Barrymore also fought for the blush army with My Barrymore by Carmel Road, a delicate and floral Pinot Noir, also from Monterrey.
A less famous but more knowledgeable voice on rosé’s side is the three times IWSC International Winemaker of the Year Neil McGuigan from McGuigan Wines, who worked in collaboration with Australian celebrity chef John Torode to create a food-friendly and modern rosé. At an exclusive interview with TheTaste.ie they talked about how rosé wines are more than just a passing trend, and Torode mentioned that white was already defeated in France and the future looks pink for Australia as well.
Since 2009, rosé has been outselling all white wine in France, and in 10 years rosé is predicted to outsell all white wine in Australia. This is the future. If you go to the streets of London or Manchester, everyone is drinking rosé. It’s an everyday wine, for everybody – and that’s what it says on the label.”
This year, the biggest names in specialist media have contributed to spread the news of rosé’s triumph. Decanter spoke of “how rosé has been re-defined”, Wine Enthusiast blamed millennials for an outstanding growth of the style in the United States, Wine Spectator stated that “Celebrity rosés are leading the way as the trend to watch in 2016.”
Resistance is futile and those who underestimate rosé and think that it’s the same weak hybrid between candy floss and cough syrup that was all the rage back it the eighties are in for a surprise. Technology, expertise and timing have come together and fortunately for all those involved, the result of this clash is more and better options for wine lovers.
And now that the wine powers have made peace with rosé, let us follow their example and treat this delicious wine with the respect it has earned.
There is good news about the examples we’re sharing below: not only are they elegant, dry, modern and full of freshness, they are also part of O’Briens Wines Summer Rosé Promotion and during July and August 2016 you’ll be able to buy 1 and get another one for half price. There are 15 rosé wines to choose from and these are some of our favourites.
Les Hauts Lieux Rosé 2015
12% ABV – Available at O’Briens Wines – €12,95 (Buy one get one half price all summer long)
France – 60% Cabernet Franc, 40% Gamay
A delicate rosé the colour of a young flamingo’s feathers and as light and graceful as their flight. The faint tone is consequence of a short skin maceration which also is responsible for its silent tannins.
Aromas of strawberries and raspberries dominate this juicy rosé, which also has a soft peachiness and a mineral note that holds the fruit together. With a refreshing acidity and an easygoingness that pairs perfectly with a bit of sunshine, this is a lovely summer wine and very good value.
Delheim Pinotage Rosé 2015
12.5% ABV – Available at O’Briens Wines – €12,95 (Buy one get one half price all summer long)
South Africa – 96% Pinotage, 4% Muscat de Frontignan
Clear bright coral hues introduce us to a cherry packed rosé that has a lot of care put into its making: handpicked grapes are de-stalked and the skins left just for a brief period before a gentle pressing. The love is also shared with the environment, as it’s one of the first South African wines to feature the Integrated Production of Wine and Environmentally Sustainable Production.
On the palate it offers a nice contrast between fruitiness and dryness. It is a fine match for spicy foods such as Mexican or Thai as well as shrimp or crab salads.
L’Ostal Cazes Rosé Rosé 2015
13% ABV – Available at O’Briens Wines – €14,95 (Buy one get one half price all summer long)
France – 50% Grenache, 50% Syrah
A very light colour is the mark of a wine which grapes were given only a brief contact their skins before pressing at low temperatures to preserve its finesse even more intact. It comes from the Languedoc, a land known for its freshness and in this case there’s no exception.
Strawberry leads the way and a soft lemon verbena note follows both in the nose as in the palate. It is light bodied and subtle and as such it should be paired with lightly seasoned foods like shellfish, white fish or grilled vegetables.
Naranjas Azules Rosé
13% ABV – Available at O’Briens Wines – €16,95 (Buy one get one half price all summer long)
Spain – 100% Grenache
One of Spain’s most popular red grapes becomes a rosé that feels very much like a white wine that just thought of love and blushed slightly. The grapes were pressed directly and the wine was fermented without skin contact (that’s the real reason for it’s appearance).
The result is a sophisticated and serene rosé that shows a pleasant acidity and aromas of white flowers blended with fresh and juicy summer fruit. It will go well with shrimp, crab and BBQ fish as well as with Spanish jamón, so in other words, this is a wine to share with tapas.
Gabriela’s passion for writing is only matched by her love for food and wine. Journalist, confectioner and sommelier, she fell in love with Ireland years ago and moved from Venezuela to Dublin in 2014.
Since then, she has written about and worked in the local food scene, and she’s determined to discover and share the different traditions, flavours and places that have led Irish food and drink to fascinate her.