EVERYTHING’S COMING UP ROSES.
The sun’s out and then you realise, it’s September; this could be your final BBQ of the year. Phone your friends quickly. They’re up for it and as they arrive and the BBQ’s getting a healthy glow on you can serve your favourite charred, skewered prawns. But what to pour on this delightfully warm afternoon with this cracking starter? It has to rose or, better still, share a few roses from around the world with your mates.
As rose sales soar, more and more winemaking countries are, I’m pleased to say, taking this wine style far more seriously, giving us wines that are now more than just a pretty face. The ‘sad let-down’ days of big colour and no flavour are long gone – thanks to the sun blessed New World wines that introduced vibrant fruit flavours and backbone to match the exciting colours. Happily the Europeans followed suit.
Cleefs Classic South African Selection Rose, (£8.49, www.sawinesonline.co.uk) made from Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinotage by the respected Kleine Zalze winery in South Africa’s beautiful Cape vineyards will get the afternoon off to a flying start. With its pale salmon hue and crisp cherry raspberry flavours although dry it has a creamy richness of flavour to match its colour and the prawns head on. Quick Tip; serve it chilled, but not too cold, to get the very best out of the partnership.
“How does rose get its colour?”, I hear you say. The colour of red wine and rose comes from the grape skins so for rose the winemaker keeps the skins in contact with the juice for a shorter time than for reds to extract the desired colour, be it delicate salmon or bold fairground pink.
Rose is so popular that most wine countries are now on a bandwagon that gathers speed year on year. So, grab your passport and we’ll match a few more roses with the prawns and the warm September sunshine. First to France’s Rhone Valley and vineyards south for Jean-Luc Colombo’s Mediterranean sourced ‘Les Pins Couches’ Rose 2013, (£9.99). A blend of Syrah (40%), Cinsault (40%) and Mouvedre (20%), these classic Southern Rhone varieties give a touch of spice to this light, subtle, red fruit rose.
Staying in Europe, Ramon Bilbao’s Rosado 2014 (£9.95, www.nywines.co.uk) is made from 100% Garnacha grapes harvested around the high altitude Rioja villages of Cardenas, Canas and Berce in the foothills of the Sierra de la Demanda. An attractive delicate pink, the fruity strawberry, lemon, watermelon flavours are also a great match for the prawns. Winemaker Rodolfo Bastida notes that “our region has been making ‘clarete’ wines for decades but never exported them. The cool climate gives a lower colour intensity to the Garnacha but all the light floral notes you want from a pale, dry, elegant Rosado”. ‘So there you go.
Villa Maria is now a well established label so the Private Bin Rose 2014 (£10.25, Majestic) will no doubt fly off our shelves. Made from Pinot Gris and Merlot picked from the “east coast vineyards of New Zealand” it has a crisp red fruit richness that will lift the conversation wonderfully.
Your guests will love it if you open and compare a few international roses. They may have different opinions when it comes to their favourite wine but they’ll all agree that you can keep on drinking roses throughout the cold months ahead. A little bit of summer colour in our chilly winter will go down a treat.