I have a particular soft spot for pink wines. But what do we mean exactly by ‘pink’ wines? Some of them, however, do receive a bit of a bad reputation. Some people believe that rose wines are very seasonal and allegedly only appeal to a particular segment of the wine-drinking public. To be honest, my palate tends to prefer proper pink wines. These are the types of wine that you can drink all year round and are truly exquisite. I don’t really enjoy the very commercial, almost industrially-manufactured mass market brands, especially those that taste rather synthetic. For instance, I could actually name a few of them (mostly they are called ‘blush wines’ and blah blah rose etc), but that would be very indiscreet. I would genuinely prefer to give you a few suggestions of some of my current favourites. Moreover, not only will these authentic pink wines be delicious on their own, especially during spring, summer and early autumn, but also great partners to seasonal dishes.
Within Europe, for me, one of the regions most synonymous with pink wines is Navarra in Northern Spain. Here, there is a great tradition and heritage with rosado. In fact, legend has it that they are considered to be “the wines of the people”. Most bodegas in Navarra, located around Olite and south of Pamplona, are very proud of their rosado wines. I first visited this wonderful province in 1998 and was amazed by the top quality local agricultural produce – Navarra is famous for asparagus, lettuce, peppers, as well as the ever-improving wines. We visited Ochoa, Guelbenzu, Chivite, Nekeas and Castillo de Monjardin, amongst others. It was a fabulous experience and I have many fond memories.
Here are a few recommendations:
2010 Bodegas Chivite “Gran Feudo” Rosado - 100% Garnacha, fresh, clean, attractive and fragrant strawberries, creamy texture on palate. Easy-drinking style.
2011 Bodegas Ochoa “Calendos” Rosado – 60% Garnacha, 30% Tempranillo and 10% Merlot, classic Navarran rosado. Well-structured and authentic.
2011 Bodegas de Sarria “Senorio de Sarria” Rosado – 100% Garnacha, well-balanced and good value for money.
2011 Bodegas Nekeas “Nekeas Garnacha Rosado” – 50% Garnacha and 50% Cabernet, very well put together, expressive and nicely-balanced. An honest and authentic Navarran rosado.
Rosado wine styles are also produced in the neighbouring Rioja region. I would suggest the following:
2011 CVNE Rioja Rosado - packed with summer fruits, this delicious rosado is produced by one of the most historic Rioja bodegas.
2011 Muga Rioja Rosado
and the following from the South of France, which produces iconic rose wines in appellations such as Bandol and Cotes de Provence etc.
2011 Commanderie de Peyrassol, Cotes de Provence - powerful, expressive and packed with fruit and spice.
2011 Chateau Sainte Marguerite, “Grande Reserve” Cru Classe, Cotes de Provence - bone-dry, fruity and full of finesse. A personal favourite. Great value for money and consistently good.
2011 Domaine Ott “Chateau Romassan”, Bandol - possibly considered to be the benchmark in pink wines from France. Worth pushing the boat out for this top-notch example from Bandol when you’re in need of a special treat!
To round off with a couple of pink wines which have been produced within these shores, I would like to recommend one from England and another from Wales.
2010 Chapel Down “English Rose”, Kent - lovely, attractive red fruits with good refreshing acidity.
So, I reckon that’s plenty of choice for you to be getting on with. Hope you you enjoy my wine suggestions and go on to make some discoveries.
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The epicurean odyssey continues…