As the weather begins slowly to warm up, my thoughts turn to summer drinking and that often means rosé. There is something psychological about rosé; however hard you try to be objective it simply does not taste as good under a grey sky. So in anticipation of blue skies, Yapp Bros, the friendly family-run wine merchants in Mere, Wiltshire, hosted a tasting of rosés the other day. We began with some English bubbles and there were a few examples from the Loire Valley, but the majority came from the south, from Corsica, the Rhône Valley, Provence and just a couple from the Languedoc.
In some ways rosé is more difficult to make than red or white wine, as the colour is so important and can vary enormously from the palest gris de gris which is almost white, to a deep vivid pink, that is almost red. The appellation of Côtes de Provence may make more red than rosé but it has set the trend for pale delicate rosés, which are indisputably pretty and enticing. However, the Languedoc produces twice as much rosé as Provence.
NV Crémant de Limoux Brut, Cuvée Prestige, Domaine Philippe Collin - £13.95
A lovely elegant glass of bubbles. Pale orange pink in colour, with a good mousse. Some dry raspberry fruit and balancing acidity. Fresh and elegant. A blend of 60% Chardonnay, 25% Chenin Blanc and 15% Pinot Noir. Philippe Collin is the son of a champenois vigneron who moved to Limoux in 1980 and established his own estate.
2016 Coteaux de Cap Corse, Domaine Pieretti - £17.25
A pretty pale colour. Lightly fruity nose, with some weight and body in the mouth. Good fruit and nicely rounded. This is a food rosé; you could happily drink it with a barbecue or with quite a substantial fish dish, rather than as an aperitif. A blend of Nielluccio, that typical Corsican variety that is related to Sangiovese, with Alicante and Grenache Noir.
2016 Vin de Corse, Sartène, Domaine Saparale - £16.25
Pale orange pink. A delicate nose and on the palate some firm dry fresh fruit. Rounded flavours with good weight and mouthfeel. Again, another food rosé, From Nielluccio, Sciacarello, another typical Corsican variety, that is particularly grown around the town of Sartène, with some Vermentino.
2016 Vin de Corse Porto-Vecchio, Domaine de Torraccia - £14.95
A pretty pale pink. Quite a rounded palate, with good weight and mouthfeel. A rounded dry finish. Very satisfying. Nielluccio is the main grape variety, with Sciacarello, Cinsaut and Grenache Noir. I like the observation on Yapp Bros website about the founder of Domaine de Torraccia, Christian Imbert - ‘At the time (in the mid-1960s when he established Domaine de Torraccia) he was regarded as an ill-advised eccentric - today he is seen as a pioneering visionary’. Today the estate is run by his son Marc Imbert.
2016 Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence, Domaine des Oullières - £11.75
Pretty pale pink with a dry fresh raspberry nose, and on the palate more raspberry fruit with a dry finish. A blend of Grenache Noir, Cinsaut and Vermentino.
2016 Cassis, Clos Ste Magdeleine - £21.25
Pretty pale pink. A delicate nose with a firm structured palate. Good fruit on the palate with body and a dry finish. A blend of Grenache Noir, Cinsaut and some Mourvèdre. Cassis tends to be expensive as much of the land is more valuable as building land than for vineyards. The vineyards of Clos Ste Magdeleine are amongst the most dramatic in the appellation, with stunning views of the Mediterranean.
Pale pink colour. Light delicate fruit on the nose, and a fresh rounded palate, with some weight and a ripe finish. This would make an ideal aperitif or partner that most classic of summer dishes, a salade niçoise. And I have always been amused by the name of the estate - the explanation is simple. The two owners, Hugues and Roland Géraud, each have a daughter, who was born in September.