Why are we so wedded to Provence rose?
Turn up to next week's online tasting to find some cheaper alternatives . . .
If there’s one wine that’s got a vice-like grip on the wine-buying public it’s Provence rosé
Even more than New Zealand sauvignon blanc - people drink other white wines
More than malbec (most have a repertoire that includes other reds)
So why are we all in love with Provence rosé and why have so many rosé producers copied the style?
It’s tempting to say the taste. It’s more like a white wine in many ways. Dry, crisp, delicately fruity, sometimes creamy (that’s generally the smidge of rolle aka vermentino that’s added to some blends)
But in my view it’s more about clever marketing and branding, a trend kicked off by the iconic Whispering Angel. Take a look at the bottles and you’ll see that Provence producers have taken a leaf out of the Champagne playbook and discovered that if the look is right consumers are not deterred by ambitious pricing.
In these hard times you probably don’t want to spend upwards of £15 a bottle though, especially if you’re having a party. So what are the alternatives?
Well neighbouring Languedoc is the next best option making copycat wines without the price tag.
You find some pale rosés in Italy too though be cautious of the word ‘blush’ which generally indicates a medium-dry wine’.
Rosés made from pinot noir which you tend to find in the Loire, New Zealand and the UK - anywhere where pinot noir is grown for a red or sparkling wine - can be particularly pretty with their delicious raspberry fruit but are generally not cheap (barring the example from Lidl below)
If you like a more full-bodied rosé you’ll generally find them in Spain, especially Rioja though there are a couple of exceptionally dark coloured rosés - Tavel and Cerasuolo in the Abruzzo - you might want to try for a change
We’ll be exploring some of these different styles in my next online wine tasting on Monday - one of the perks of being a paid subscriber. The timing of 6pm GMT is designed that those of you who live outside the UK can join in albeit Aussie and Kiwi friends might be sipping rosé in the early hours of the morning.
Bring along a favourite rosé you like to drink. One that’s made locally or which your local wine store champions. You’ll find some in my recent Guardian column or choose from this list of 18 I’ve picked from recent tastings below. I’ve starred what I think are the best bargains (which doesn’t mean the others aren’t worth buying).