THE WINE BUFF
If you’re a fan of rosé, you’re not alone. The celebrity love for this delicately hued tipple knows no bounds. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie were among the first to give it the celeb treatment when they launched their Château Miraval in 2011. Jon Bon Jovi has had huge success with his Hampton Water, which he makes in collaboration with renowned Languedoc winemaker Gérard Bertrand; Sting and Trudie Styler produce a rosé at their Tenuta Il Palagio winery in Tuscany; and Graham Norton, who’s had quite the success with his gin and wines, also has a rosé in his portfolio. More recently, rapper and Grammy award winner Post Malone reportedly crashed the Vivino app when he launched his own French rosé, Maison No. 9, named after his favourite tarot card, the nine of swords.
But now it seems that rosé is the new perfume. Donnafugata is flashing a Dolce & Gabbana-designed label on its new Sicilian rosé, and there’s been the pitter-patter of Manolos as Sarah Jessica Parker and Kylie Minogue have revealed that they too have a real passion for rosé winemaking. I haven’t tried the SJP, but I have tried Kylie’s blend of Carignan and Cabernet Sauvignon, which has her signature on the embossed white label. It is a nicely made drop, with plenty of summer strawberries and ripe blood orange. You’ll find it online at winesoftheworld.ie and in Carry Out offlicences for €12.99.
Of course, the Provençal rosé that gets hearts racing is Whispering Angel, which I reviewed a few weeks ago, and it’s in greater supply than it has been in years past. At €25 a bottle, it basks in the reflected glory of Garrus, a super-premium rosé which costs around €80 and was the most expensive rosé available when it was launched in 2007. The winery also produces Rock Angel and Château d’Esclans, which are €40 and €44, respectively. Although we’re looking at huge differentials in price, there is a house style that ties these wines together. The grapes, which are predominantly Grenache and Rolle (Vermentino) are picked much riper than is typical for rosé, about 10 to 12 days later, adding a broadness and floral quality to the wine while not adding sweetness.
You could ask, is it all marketing? Are these wines really worth it? Elizabeth Gabay, a Master of Wine who is considered to be the world’s leading authority on rosé, suggests seeking out lesser-known rosés, like Negroamaro from Puglia, and rosés from Austria, the Douro and Ribera del Duero. And I would add to that: to look out for rosés from small family producers, made in a low-intervention style.
As this is my last wine column for Weekend, I just want to say thank you to all my readers. I’ve loved writing this column so much; I hope you’ve learned a bit more about wine and found some wines that you love too. And don’t forget to stay curious. Shop in your local independent, ask for advice, and discover a new wine each time.