rosé -


There's been a revolution in rosé over the last ten years or more. Once seen as sweet, simple, drink now, forget tomorrow, the diversity of the styles of wine now produced is greater than ever before. The quality is also far higher. And both these aspects are being more appreciated by both producers and consumers.

At the same time, it can be easy to put rosé in a pigeon-hole: it's a summer wine (and I am writing this in August in California); it has to be pale-coloured; it shouldn't be expensive; it should always be the latest vintage; it shouldn't be taken seriously.

Those stereotypes are slowly changing. Why shouldn't you drink rosé whenever or however you want? Drink it by the pool; bring it to a picnic; have it in the winter; serve it with a fantastic meal you've just cooked. If it's an enjoyable, pleasurable wine, then it's an enjoyable, pleasurable wine.

I recently went to France and tasted some fantastic rosés, exploring the range of styles being made. One place I had to stop off at was Tavel. It's one of the most historic regions for rosé, on the other side of the river Rhône from Châteauneuf-du-Pape. It hasn't quite ridden the rosé revolution like Provence though. If we expect rosé to be pale-colored, crisp, and rather neutral, then Tavel is not that. The wines are deep in color compared to most other rosés, with a light tannic structure, and a round, mouthcoating texture. These are food-friendly, food-focused wines, ideal for the richer food found in the southern Rhône

I visited Château de Trinquevedel and tasted two of their Tavel rosés. Their introductory rosé is macerated on the skins for 24 hours, which adds color, body, and complexity to the wine: it's fresh, crisp, but also weighty. Their other rosé is made from vines planted in 1936, macerated for 48 hours for an even richer, more ageworthy style. Production of this wine is so small that very little if any is exported to the USA: no matter, because both rosés are perfect representations of Tavel.

Further east on the border with Provence is Chêne Bleu, a winery located in view of the Dentelles de Montmirail which look down on the region. The elevation of the property makes it cooler than lower-down regions in the southern Rhône and Provence. Their rosé has long been a favorite of mine—I've tasted older vintages which maintain a fresh vibrancy, demonstrating that rosé doesn't have to be drunk straightaway. At the same time, it can be drunk straightaway. I had a glass of the 2022 with bread, cheese, and summer fruits, the grainy texture of the wine pairing so well with both the soft and hard cheese.

One of the other regions in France where rosé production is important is the Loire. There are many styles made, from dry to medium-sweet, but like elsewhere it's the dry wines that are most in demand. Bernard Baudry in Chinon, more known for red wines from Cabernet Franc, makes a rosé which I've previously had in the club. Having visited the property and tasted the wine there, I got  to try the new 2022 vintage: a wonderful, delicious, intriguing wine that can be drunk and enjoyed now but which also has the structure, texture, and complexity to develop over the next three to five years. In other words, drink it whenever you want.

And that's the joy of rosé. You can drink it today, tomorrow, next year, in the warm summer, or the cold winter. You don't have to open the bottle immediately, but you can. You can take it seriously, pairing it with specific food dishes, or just drink it in the sunshine. Rosé is no longer a guilty pleasure: it's a pleasure to be shared.