Tick tock, it’s Rose O Clock!
By Gerard Richardson
Ah, Spring is in the air folks and with Spring comes the annual urge to try a rose wine again.
I know, I’ve never been one to promote the pink stuff, but it’s either getting more interesting every year or I’m just getting softer. Rose comes in a wide range of colours these days from pale salmon pink to a sort of wishy washy red and the flavours go from peaches and raspberries in the lighter coloured versions to strawberries and red currants in the darker ones. Roses are actually cool wines and make great partners for food as long as you remember not to overpower them. Try the lighter Provence type roses with a seafood salad or shellfish while the more full on Malbec and Cabernet Roses from South America are really good partners for barbecued food.
Sweet roses are a crime against humanity in my view unless they are also sparkling at the same time as the sweetness seems to be lifted in a really classy way by a few bubbles. If you get a chance, try some of the South American rose sparklers with fruit crushed into them. The main fruit is Strawberry but another one I’ve tried uses Pineapple fruit and they are fun in a glass, just don’t take them to a dinner party if you want to be taken seriously.
The salmon pink roses tend to come from the old world i.e Provence, Spain and Italy using grapes as varied as Mouvedre, Grenache, Pinot Grigio and Tempranillo, while the best of the darker roses are hailing from South America. The latter use the big meaty varieties such as Merlot, Syrah and Cabernet but the most outstanding ones that I’ve tasted in a long time are made from Malbec at present. They tend to balance fresh strawberry flavours with crisp acidity and they tend to have far more depth to the palate.
One thing I should point out however is that rose wine takes a lot more skill and quality fruit to get right so please please avoid the rubbish of which there’s plenty on the shelf. Aim for a tenner or more and you will be pleasantly surprised.