Here is boys and girls, as promised, my vid for Provence Wines UK. Here’s my take on why Provence Wines are a must for any wine lover…
Right, I might have given the game away a bit much about my guilty pleasure of the film “A Good Year”, but my recent article in The Buyer is up and published.
Here’s my love letter to all things Provence Rosé, on of the most serious “fun” wines money can buy…and should buy!
So the marketing guys and girls have come out with this term “Brosé”. It’s where rosé wines are starting to get guzzled by blokes as well as lasses. More power to it I reckon, I’m a rosé lover and proud! But why is it something that people still feel like they need to hush up? Why do my mates give me a right old barracking if I ever pick some of the pink?
On the recent trip out for this wedding in Mallorca, the wife and I picked up a bottle of Mateus Rosé at the market. That’s right, Mateus Rosé. The infamous wine that kept middle classes in the 60s and 70s plastered! It’s got a shocking reputation these days, but I’d never tried it. And there it was on the shelf for €5!
I’m still struggling to say “Spanish Rosé”. It’s kind of like saying “british sausages”, and my experiences of the three rosés I drank this weekend were as far different as cumberland and black pudding. Having said that, compared to the sad continental crap you get at holiday breakfast buffets (still on sausages here sorry), they definitely had a consistent quality and style about them.
Firstly, sorry this has taken so long to post. This should have been out yesterday but with my first day back from a lovely long weekend in Barcelona, I was…er…mostly walking round in a complete haze. The nice thing about doing Spanish rosé is that it’s so open in terms of what you’re buying. The drawback is that trying to put your finger on what I’m meant to talk about here. Would you really start a blog about how white wine is made in France?
Well it’s official everyone. We are exactly half way through 2014 with NWTW Week 26. As Ant has said earlier, my shameless shift of last week to Cava to coincide with my weekend in Barcelona has not stopped us from sticking to Spain this week. We’re going to leave it a fairly open one this week and just offer up the idea of Spanish rosé (rosado in Spanish).
Navarre is Rioja’s next door neighbour. It has a history of making rosés from the Garnacha grape we spoke about last time. Problem for years was that there wasn’t all that much care and attention paid, they were a bit too alcoholic and often too oxidised.
What do I mean by that? Well, believe it or not, it is possible to have too much alcohol in the wine! I know, I was shocked when I found that out too! But all the components of the wine, the acidity, the body, the flavours, and the alcohol all jumble together in the glass to give you what I suppose you could call the real “taste” of the wine. If one of those is relatively higher than it should be, then it becomes obvious and what people in the wine world call “unbalanced”. With alcohol it gives a burning feeling at the back of the throat, which tends to take away from the enjoyment.
Wines become too oxidized mostly due to lack of care in the production. The wine has plenty of components that will react with oxygen and give rather funky tastes. If you think about what happens when you leave a glass of wine on the table over night, you come back in the morning and what does it smell like? Vinegarish, right? Well that can happen to the wine at any time in its life after (and even during) fermentation. Usually wine makers use techniques like airtight tanks, pumping over nitrogen gas, and sulphur treatments to stop the oxygen attacking the freshness. But those techniques weren’t always available. So in a place like Navarre you had oxidised wines with too much alcohol. Drinkable, but not exactly outstanding.
So what they did was turn and look at Rioja (arguably Spain’s first major red wine global success) and thought “we could do that?!” Tempranillo was the new grape of choice, and Rioja style blends were all the rage. With all the move towards red wine production, general production techniques got better and better, and that spread to all styles of wine from the area. Including the historically average Garnacha based rosè.
Now I’ve got nothing against reds from Navarre, but given they try to copy the Rioja style, then you might as well just drink Rioja. I’m sure someone will tell me that’s bollocks, and I’m more than up for having that opinion changed. But for me, when I think of Navarre, I think the improved rosé, and I love it!
So there we were. 8 lads on my stag do, and the first drinks of the day were ordered in. 7 beers and a rosé. I didn’t care, they were great. Earlier harvesting has meant Garnacha used for rosé keeps its acidity and doesn’t have as much time to develop the sugars. So the freshness is there, and the alcohol is back to manageable levels. So what you get now is fresh, fruity (red fruit), and well balanced wines.
If you like your rosés, you’ve got to give Navarre a go.
My missus’ little sister cracks me up. She’s a really nice lass, and as a young lady trying to make her way in the world she’s doing really well. She does however have a love of tattoos. Not big ones, dirty ones, rudes ones, or anything like that. Just ones that you think in 10 years time she’s going to look in the mirror and think “hmmmm, maybe not!” I have to say this is my problem with tattoos. What seems like a great idea at the time may prove in time to be slightly ill judged.
Last time came to stay she was sporting her latest and greatest. The letters Y O L O printed vertically down her neck. Apparently I’m just not down with the kids. Apparently it means “You Only Live Once”. Nice one. I guess the fear of wearing turtle necks to every job interview for the rest of your life just isn’t a factor when you’ve only got one life to live!
My missus, on seeing said tattoo, was in serious need of a drink. It just so happened we had a nice bottle of Garnacha Rosé (a rosé wine made from the Garnacha grape, typically found in Spain) in the fridge from a box of randoms I’d got in from a company called Naked Wines that are making great strides in the UK online market. So I went off to crack it open when the future sister in law pulls me up “don’t open that, i don’t like rosé, it’s too poncy”.
This has consistently been the biggest stumbling block for rosé wines, especially in non wine producing countries. It is easing off as more and more of the younger generations are getting back to the barbeques over summers, but in general it’s still seen as an effeminate drink. Some lasses won’t drink the stuff for fear of slipping into the stereotype.
It’s madness. It’s a legacy from days gone by when you could only get one or two styles of rosé and they were both horrible. But time to move on people. There are so many different styles and ways to make the stuff, that there’s no doubt you’ll find one that you absolutely love.
Rosé wines bring something new to the table…
Most rosés are made in light, refreshing, and fruity styles, but pack a bit more of a punch than the usual white wine varieties. Fruit flavours tend to be light red fruit, things like strawberries and raspberries. You like those? You’ll find plenty of rosés that’ll suit you. They also lack the (harsh) tannins of younger red wines, that a lot of people don’t like.
It’s actually not a bad shout for drinking with spicy food. The alcohol burn tends to be slightly lower, but beware, that will depend on how it’s made:
Think about where colour for red wines come from…
As we saw in previous posts, it’s from the skins during pressing and early fermentation. So if you use black grapes, but crush and press them very delicately and then remove the skins as quick as possible, you’ll get very delicately coloured rosé wines.
You can get heavier coloured rosés…
If you follow the same process as red wine making, and then remove the skins early. You can then keep the fermentation going at low temperatures as you would with white wines, in order to keep the fruit flavour.
A great bulk way is by blending…
We all remember our primary colours right? What do you get if you mix red and white? Boom! This is a very popular way of inexpensive rosé production in the new world. In the EU it’s mostly banned (the exemption being Rosé Champagne).
Some grapes very good for it…
Garnacha/Grenache, for example, is a grape made famous in Spain for rosé in particular. It’s a red wine grape that’s got very thin skins and and hence has naturally weak colour. Makes it an ideal candidate. That’s the kind of grape you’re looking for.
Rosé wines really fit certain occasions…
Don’t know about you guys, but we’ve had a ridiculously hot summer over here in the UK. It’s a perfect wine for warm summer days, BBQs, trips down the beach, all that kind of jazz.
Maybe that’s why it struggles in the UK? The weather tends to be pretty crap.
Maybe we’re just not open minded enough? But come on guys! As the neck of a 20 year old scandie lass has reminded me, you only live once! Get involved.