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Cometh the sun cometh the Rosé

Fingers crossed, it looks as though summer may have arrived and if like many Rosé proves to be your go to drink for sunny afternoons and clement evenings then stay on this page.

What grapes are used?

On this occasion we’re covering rosé wine from France, so whether it’s from Provence or the Languedoc Roussillon region the wine is usually a blend of two or three grape varieties. The principal grapes are all red / dark skinned varietals - Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault and Mourvedre.

Rosé from the Loire is likely to be made from Pinot Noir.

How is Rosé made?

Generally speaking either one of two techniques is employed these days.

The first, known as Saignée, means ‘bled’ in French. Free run juice from newly crushed red / dark skinned grapes is drained off after a short maceration period. The subsequent juice collected is a pale pink colour due to the brief time spent in contact with the grape skins.

The second, referred to as ‘direct pressing’, involves a short maceration between the grape juice and the dark coloured skins (after the fruit has been crushed) for just a long enough period so that the desired level of colour is achieved throughout the entire batch of juice. Thereafter the juice and skins are separated. 

This technique is sometimes viewed as preferential over the Saignée method and is used more frequently in Provence. Some say that Saignée is a by product of red wine making so the pink free run juice is not the primary focus of the winemaker.

Draining off the free run juice from the crushed grapes also concentrates the remaining juice (later to be red wine) hopefully to beneficial effect.

However, wine producers can employ both techniques in the process of making their Rosé, choosing for instance to bleed one variety and direct press another before blending the two. This is the case for the Trilogie Rosé covered further below.

The Picks

We’ve recently added to our year round selection with the welcome return of some firm favourites as well as some new arrivals. Here are a few choice picks from many more on the shelves.

Chateau de Brigue, Provence.

Imported by ourselves so as you might expect we’re big fans. Three tiers to choose from, starting at £8.95 for the Provence, £10.95 for the Signature and £13.95 for the Prestige.

Each wine consists of a different grape blend using the aforementioned varieties, so as a result there are subtle differences between the three. Overall the wines are true to regional type displaying a pale onionskin colour and exhibiting aromas of fresh red fruit, hints of spice with stone and citrus fruit flavours. The prestige offers a subtle floral quality and a lengthier finish though we think all three wines are outstanding in their own right and price category.

The Signature is available in Magnums, 1.5 litres. The Prestige also comes in halves.

Domaine Les Yeuses, St Felix Rosé Cuvee Pierre Martin £6.95

This one’s a little charmer and fantastic value to boot. Hailing from the Languedoc, it’s a blend of Grenache and Cinsault. A slightly darker hue with a light fruity nose and just off dry (the merest hint of sweetness).

Domaine de Viranel, Trilogie Rosé £11.95

Brand new from the Languedoc, it’s a blend of three grapes, hence the name, these being Syrah, Cinsault and not so typically Cabernet Sauvignon. Provencal in style and colour, this is smooth and silky, displaying aromas of summer fruits with glints of lemongrass and orange. An abundance of strawberry fruit on the palate leads to a rich full-bodied finish.

Chateau la Grave, Expression Rosé £8.95

Raspberry jelly in colour, filled with summer fruit aromas of strawberry, raspberry as well as redcurrants and a subtle savoury note. A delicate Rosé and at this price possibly our pick of the crop under £10.

Domaine La Gemiere, Sancerre Rosé £15.95

A floral and peachy nose gives way to flavours of wild strawberries and ripe peach from this salmon pink 100% Pinot Noir rosé. This is smooth and elegant, delivering a lengthy orange and citrus imbued finish.  

All our Rosé wine is listed online here and is available in both our Hurstpierpoint and Lindfield stores.

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