Premium Rosé Tasting #poshpinks15

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For the 3rd year running, Richard Bampfield MW and  Jean Christophe Mau of Chateau Brown from Bordeaux, have held a tasting of premium rosés (£15 and over)  in London. My tasting results of my top 18 will appear in the September 2015 edition of Decanter’s Expert Choice (out 5 August 2015).

Most tastings have a national or regional focus and it is rare to have the chance to see how a wine style compares to the international competition.These tastings have caught the UK wine trade’s imagination with a growing number of journalists covering the event. The UK trade magazine Drinks Business published their own tasting results for the  2013 and 2014  tastings.

IMG_4976This year, the tasting was held at The Atlas pub in Fulham, there was a line up of 36 premium rosés from around the world ranging £12 to £100 per bottle.  The growing importance of this tasting was maybe reflected by those who came (by invitation only). While I was there the other MWs were: Jancis Robinson MW, Mark Bingley MW, Nancy Gilchrist MW, Rosemary George MW and Matthew Stubbs MW. Journalists included Victoria Moore (The Telegraph), Joanna SimonJoe Wadsack and Will Lyons. There were also a large number of MW students desperately keen to understand something about rosé.

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2014 Rosé Wines from Coteaux-de-Aix

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Coteaux d’Aix tasting

On 30th March I went to the official 2014 vintage tasting of the wines of Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence in the town of Aix-en-Provence at the Hotel Renaissance, a new five star hotel in a modern business district of central Aix.

The appellation covers 4000ha, a quarter of the size of the appellation of Côtes de Provence. There are 67 domaines and 12 cooperatives. 34 producers came together to show their wines.

Map of the regions of Coteaux d'Aix

Map of the sub-regions of Coteaux d’Aix

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2014 Rosé Wines from Provence in 2015 – part 1

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Rosé Cotes de Provence Tasting, Mandelieu, March 2015

Rosé Cotes de Provence Tasting, Mandelieu, March 2015

I am often asked which rosé wines from Provence I would recommend, so I have put together some which I liked at recent tastings.

The wines were tasted at various domaines, the large trade fair Prowein in Dusseldorf and the annual Côtes de Provence tasting in Mandelieu, both this month, March 2015.

I tasted 77 rosés released for 2015 (almost all from the 2014 vintage); 46 stood out as being of interest.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, and I did not taste all of the wines available at either Prowein or at Mandelieu. With over 600 rosés made in Provence (and making up 90% of the region’s wine production), this survey barely scratches the surface.

The range of colour ran from very pale creamy white with a hint of pink to slightly darker shell pink. The rosés I tasted fell into broadly five groups, all dry:

  1. Fresh, crisp red fruit, and good acidity. This group was the largest.
  2. Red fruit with rounder more complex structure.
  3. Black and red fruit, rounder, balanced acidity.
  4. Softer peachy, apricot fruit, creamy body and good acidity (interestingly all including Cinsault and all but one from the hotter central Valley).
  5. More mineral, salty, structured, austere and mouth-watering.

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