SWA 2011: ROSE

While the kick-out rate was high, the wines left at the end served as a blunt reminder to sub-standard also-rans of just how good the pink stuff can be

Oddly, given how dreadful the quality was for all things pink in the House Wine section, the selection of wines here in the final stages was pretty good. It wasn’t simply a question of price either because a number of the wines that picked up medals were only fractionally more expensive than the £5 House Wine cut-off.

Rather, there were two positives: bright, fresh fruit and a general lack of ‘sweetie shop’. Put those two factors together and you have rosé pay dirt. ‘I liked the fact that they were mostly in a lighter, fresher style, rather than confected,’ said Ivo Stoyanov.

Nor were our sommeliers afraid to go with higher-priced offerings either, if they felt they were worth it.

France did well here, with a couple of Golds and both Silver medals. But Turkey Flat’s Gold might have surprised a few people who didn’t really think that Australia ‘did’ pink. In fact, many of the rosés that medalled (including Turkey Flat) did so on the basis of their food-friendliness, while the kind of poppy boy-band wines that play so well in the off-trade tended to be thrown out.

One exception was the Señorio de Sarría, which managed to pull off the difficult trick of being both highly gluggable (lovely soft, juicy fruit) but also sufficiently well structured to really work with food; something which it proved with crispy duck at the food match tasting. Put these two factors together, and it’s no surprise that it was chosen by our judges as a By The Glass Award wine.

At the other end of the food-friendly spectrum was the uber-minerally, aristocratic Domaines Ott. ‘If you were drinking this blind, you would be thinking white wine, not rosé,’ said Harvey Nichols’ Ivan Dixon. ‘But it’s genuine and serious – a grand cru rosé.’ It was also, as you may have noticed, expensive. But our tasters were happy to include it as a worthwhile trade-up for those in search of the finer things in life.

Indeed, the whole Rosé category Gold List is the most balanced it’s ever been, with good wines at every key price point from £6 up to £18. The only downside is that the panels had to taste (and throw out) a lot of pretty substandard wines to get there.

“There were big variations in style and colour, but the best had minerality and structure that would really work with food. We were specifically looking for that. ” Matthew Cocks, Cubitt House


Senorio de Sarria Rosado Vinedo No 5 2010, Navarra, Spain
£6.44 @ Boutinot
  Deep and vibrant in colour, this is refreshing, dry and zesty with a floral, raspberry finish. ‘A long, appealing, light style,’ said Christine Parkinson. ‘Fresh minerality with hints of pepper,’ added Nicola Thomson.

Turkey Flat Rose 2010, Barossa Valley, Australia
£8.32 @ Mentzendorff & Co
SWA 2011 Gold List Medium-deep rose pink in colour, with a light nose, there’s a refreshing acidity and clean minerality alongside the strawberry-infused palate. ‘Good length,’ said Laurie Watson, while Charlotte Jonasson applauded ‘the elegant mouthfeel and slight vanilla undertones’.

Domaine Vacheron Sancerre Rose 2010, Sancerre, France
£10.87 @ Stevens Garnier Wine Agency
Light salmon in colour, there’s a lemony citrus twang alongside delightful raspberry torte flavours, touches of apricot and a nice central minerality. ‘The supporting acidity and medium finish round the wine off nicely,’ said Louise Gordon. ‘This is subtle and balanced, clean and crisp,’ said Kyri Sotiri, The Soho Wine Supply.

Domaines Ott Clos Mireille Rose 2009, Cotes de Provence, France
£17.50 @ Maisons Marques et Domaines
SWA 2011 Gold List   Pale wild salmon in colour, this is both subtle and attractive with fine berry aromas alongside leesy notes. The complexity and subtlety continues onto a silky palate. ‘This is well constructed, with focused minerality and acidity, and excellent length,’
said Kyri Sotiri.


Domaine Rimauresq Cru Classe 2010, Cotes de Provence, France
£8.09 @ Boutinot
Pale salmon pink, with an appetising nose of fruit blossom and minerals. Near-dry, it has an elegant structure, cherry and strawberry flavours and a long crab-apple finish. ‘The palate is silky and soft with good depth and complexity,’ said an impressed Ivan Dixon.

Chateau du Galoupet Cru Classe Rose 2010, Cotes de Provence, France
£9.40 @ New London Wine
Pale salmon in colour, this is delicately fragrant, with soft red fruits and herbaceous notes.
‘The palate is well balanced and elegant, with a nice texture and a touch of sweetness,’ said
Angus Macnab.

Domaine Lafran Veyrolles Bandol Cuvee Tradition 2009,
Cotes de Provence, France
£10.84 @ Boutinot
Pale peach-skin colour, this is bright and weighty with a long finish. ‘This wine will wake you up, rouse your appetite and make you want to eat,’ said an enthused Matthew Cocks. ‘Great for food too – antipasti ahoy.’

Esclans 2009, Cotes de Provence, France
£15 @ Chateau D’ESCLANS, Domaines Sacha Lichine
Whereas some questioned whether this was rosé due to its extreme paleness (it is),
Nicola Thomson wasn’t the only one to appreciate its fresh minerality, great acidity and
lovely long palate.


Vina Real Rosado 2010, Rioja, Spain
£5.62 @ Hatch Mansfield
Pale pink sorbet in colour, with bubble gum on the nose, this is medium dry with ripe red apple and baked strawberry flavours. Juicy, warming acidity with some minerality on the finish.

Armidale Estate Hill Grove Petit Verdot Rose, 2009, South-Eastern Australia
£5.90 @ Matthew Clark
Pale ruby in colour, and New World in its approach, this is packed with strawberry and cherry fruit, with a good balance and long finish.

Les Clans 2009, Cotes de Provence, France
£39.50 @ Chateau d’Esclans, Domaines Sacha Lichine
With a price tag like this, it had to be good to get through, and it was! Well balanced, with nice minerality, soft herbaceous and floral notes, and, according to Angus Macnab, strawberries and cream on the palate. ‘A proper wine,’ said Kyri Sotiri.

Editorial feature from Imbibe Magazine – May/June 2011

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