Four fine rosé wines worth paying a little extra for

John Wilson: I have shifted from my curmudgeonly ‘won’t pay more than €15 for a rosé’ stance

Sales of rosé in Ireland grew last year, although it still accounts for only about 6% of our wine consumption

Sales of rosé in Ireland grew last year, although it still accounts for only about 6% of our wine consumption

 

Over the past few months, I have increased my intake of rosé, usually enjoying it alongside all sorts of summery foods, or sitting outside before dinner. I have even shifted from my slightly curmudgeonly “won’t pay more than €15 for a rosé” stance too, and enjoyed several wines costing €20-€25 a bottle.

I have written about Provence rosé before, and while I enjoy the wines, I still baulk at paying €40-€50 and more for some of the premium brands.

Whispering Angel, recently bought by LVMH, is widely available at around €25, or if you want to make a statement, €55 for a magnum and €115 for a three-litre bottle (from Avoca, Ballsbridge; the Corkscrew; and wineonline.ie). It is the original of the species, and on recent tasting, as good as ever.

The challenge was, Paul Chevalier of Whispering Angel told me on a recent Zoom tasting, to make a wine with more mouthfeel and ripeness without increasing the alcohol and colour. The 2019 Whispering Angel has that unique mouthfeel, ripe strawberry and raspberry fruits that coat the palate, and a dry finish.

All of these would be good for large outdoor (socially distanced) gatherings. All we need is the sun to return

Provence rosé, and all the lookalikes, try to achieve this with varying degrees of success. Many of the less expensive versions can be too herbaceous or simply lacking in fruit.

Sales of rosé in Ireland grew last year, although it still accounts for only about 6 per cent of our wine consumption. My guess is that, with the reasonably fine summer weather this year, it will increase still further in 2020. It is possibly the most versatile food wine of all, going perfectly with a variety of foods from light salads to fish, to barbecued white meats. All of the rosés I feature this week fall into the light, crisp, dry category and would make ideal partners for sashimi, light pasta dishes, shellfish and, of course, summery salads. 

As well as the wines here, Mitchell & Son has recently taken delivery of the lovely, if strangely named, Pig rosé from Domaine de la Sarabande (€21.95). At more humble prices, I enjoyed the Ventoux rosé from Dunnes Stores (€10) and the M&S Classics No 22 Côtes de Provence rosé (€11.80).

O’Briens continues its buy one, get second at 50 per cent off, rosé promotion throughout the month of August. As well as the MIMI featured here, I enjoyed the smartly packaged and very elegant Les Auzines Ailana rosé (€16.95, or €12.71 when you buy two bottles). All of these would be good for large outdoor (socially distanced) gatherings. All we need is the sun to return.  

MIMI en Provence 2019, Grande Réserve, Côtes de Provence
12.5%, €19.95-€14.95 when you buy two bottles

A very attractive light-bodied rosé with fresh strawberry and redcurrant fruits, good acidity and a crisp dry finish. Try it with grilled sea bass or a salade Niçoise.

From: O’Briens, obrienswine.ie  

Rosé Volcânico 2019, IG Azores, The Azores Wine Company 
11.5%, €23

A hugely appealing delicate rosé, with strawberry, red cherry and hedgerow fruits and a herby, savoury complexity, underpinned by crystalline mineral acidity. A lighter style to drink alongside raw seafood, grilled plaice, or prawns with a lemon mayonnaise. 

From: Barnhill Stores, Dalkey, barnhillstores.ie; 64wine, Glasthule, 64wine.com; Ely Wine Store, Maynooth; elywinebar.ie; Avoca, Ballsbridge & Rathcoole, avoca.com; First Draft Coffee & Wine, Dublin 8, firstdraftcoffeandwine.com; Wine Pair, D8; Green Man Wines, Dublin 6, greenmanwines.ie; Nash 19, Cork city, nash19.com; Out of the Blue, Dingle, outoftheblue.ie 

Maulin Bèle 2019, Sancerre Rosé, Domaine André Vatan
13%, €24

A slowly seductive elegant rosé with fragrant red cherry and redcurrant fruits that open out beautifully in the glass. Spoil yourself with poached salmon, lobster salad or a plate of prawns with lemony mayonnaise. 

From: Whelehan’s Wines, Loughlinstown, whelehanswines.ie

M de Minuty, Château Minuty 2019, Côtes de Provence
13%, €22-24

Refined lightly textured raspberry, fleshy peach and orange peel with a crisp dry finish. Classic Provence rosé. Drink in the sun, by itself or with Provençal snacks. 

From: Basil Market & Deli, Cork, basil.ie; Bradleys Off-licence, Cork, bradleysofflicence.ie; Barnhill Stores, Dalkey, barnhillstores.ie; Caviston’s, Sandycove, cavistons.com; Carry-Out, Killarney, carryout.ie; Eldon’s, Clonmel; Cashel Wine Cellar; Cashel Wine Cellar; The Wine House, Trim; Jus de Vine, Portmarnock, jusdevine.ie; Mitchell & Son, Dublin 1, Sandycove, and Avoca, Kilmacanogue & Dunboyne, mitchellandson.com; Avoca, Ballsbridge & Rathcoole, avoca.com; Deveney’s, D14, deveneys.ie; Morton’s, Dublin 6, mortons.ie; Martin’s Off Licence, Dublin 3, martinsofflicence.ie; Higgins, Clonskeagh, higginsfflicence.ie; Redmonds, Dublin 6, redmonds.ie; Clontarf Wines, D3, clontarfwines.ie; Donnybrook Fair, donnybrookfair.ie; Grapevine, Dalkey, onthegrapevine.ie; Gibney’s, Malahide, gibneys.com

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