Sunday, July 20, 2008

Joanna Simon in The Sunday Times, June 22, 2008: Summer Rosé

I thought I would wait for what passes for summer to update you on rosé and recommend some of my favourites, but now we’re here I realise it was pointless to hold back, because one of the most striking features of the surge in popularity of rosé is that it is no longer purely seasonal. We get through greater volumes in the summer - even when, like last year, there isn’t one to speak of - but most of us now drink pink the rest of the year too. No wonder sales are growing at 30% a year.

The original catalyst was the heatwave summer of 2003, but we’ve carried on, whatever the weather since, partly because rosé has shaken off its previously suspect image and partly because both choice and quality have soared. It’s the textbook delicious circle: we buy more, so producers and sellers try harder, so we… so producers etcetra. Not that the picture is all rosy. At least half the market is cheap sweet California brands which aren’t worth wasting words on (or money), but overall there’s plenty to celebrate.

2007 Clos d’Yvigne Bel Ami, Bergerac £7.99
Pure merlot rosé; paler than the 2006, but every bit as good (Majestic).

2007 Maby La Forcadiere, Tavel, £9.95
Full-bodied, stylish, spicy southern Rhone rosé (Yapp Bros, 01747 860423).

2007 Vinha da Urze Rosé, Douro £5.99
Fresh, spicy strawberry fruit. Portuguese, but a far cry from Mateus (selected Marks & Spencer).

“The only wine made in Tavel is rosé”
Anorak Fact: Tavel is the only appellation contrôlée (French quality wine area) where rosé alone is allowed to be produced.