Rosé wine | The taste of summer in France

Written by on May 4, 2020 in Wine and Drinks

Glass of rose wine on a table in a field of blooming lavender in Provence

You would have to be a tea-teetotaller not to have noticed the explosion in popularity of rosé wines in recent years, they are everywhere. Exports of Provence rosés, the main production area in France,  to their largest customer, the USA, have increased 10 fold in just over 7 years. As soon as the sun stars to shine, it seems that only a glass of the pink stuff fits the mood.

Rosé is the  favourite summer drink of Provence

It wasn’t always this way. For many years outside of France, the fact that French rosés had a long tradition of excellence and were well worth exploring seemed to have missed most people. Rosé in France is popular with everyone, including the serious winemakers of great red wine in Provence.

“Do you mix red and white wine together to make rose?” I’ve been asked. Sacre bleu! No! At least not here in France where the practice is strictly illegal. It is associated with only the cheapest inferior rosés. Strangely the only appellation that does permit such a practice is Champagne. A proportion of wines are made by blending finished white Champagne with 15% still red wine from Pinot Noir grapes. But the principal method is time honoured and arguably leads to a much finer end product. Red grapes are lightly crushed and held in contact with the skins for just sufficient time to obtain the pink colouring. Thereafter it is made as if a white wine – this is called the “direct press” method.

Far and away the style of rosé that is driving all the growth is the light refreshing pale salmon coloured Provence rosé style. The big brands in the US are Whispering Angel and the Brad and Angelina owned Miraval. These are delicious wines that I call perfect “deck chair” rosés, light, refreshing and fun.

A rosé for true fans

But for the true rosé fan there is an altogether difference experience available – the Tavel wines from the Rhone valley. Tavel rosé, located on the right bank of the Rhone near the city of Avignon, is the granddaddy of French rosé. It’s the first appellation dedicated to the colour, and the only one that exists today purely for rosé. The style is rich, full bodied, strong in alcohol for a rosé, sometimes even 15.0% as per a big red. It has a darker pink colour that verges on the amber – achieved with a longer skin contact time. The palate is packed full of red summer fruits , think summer pudding, but in a glass.

This is what the French call a “gourmand” wine. They mean a wine for the table (not the deck chair!). It works brilliantly with spicy foods, tagines, couscous or even a curry.

La vie en rosé – it’s the taste of summer in France…

Wine expert Philip Reddaway runs Rhone Wine Holidays, tours which take you under the skin of the legendary wine produce area of Provence.

Related Articles

How to drink Pastis

How to drink Pastis

Written by on August 17, 2020 in Wine and Drinks

You can walk into any bar in France and be assured of a familiar sight – a sign or a jug (the type you see at every French flea market) advertising pastis. And if it’s a hot day, there’s sure to be a Frenchman or two sitting at a table watching the world go by […]

Continue Reading

Guide to Armagnac – the spirit of Gascony

Armagnac is the most ancient French eau-de-vie. It’s produced in the Gers department, known as Gascony, and is at least 700 years old. However, it’s believed that the origins of Armagnac go back as far as the 10th century. And in fact, the Romans were the first to plant vines in the area. The first […]

Continue Reading

SomMailer Wine Club | Bringing French Wines to America

We chat to Laurent Yung of SomMailier.com, a French wine club that brings unique, exclusive and difficult to find utterly delicious French wines to America… Can you tell us a bit about you and where you live? I was born in a small village near Bordeaux, France and I’m the youngest of three brothers. I […]

Continue Reading

Stay home and still enjoy French wine

Whether you want a glass of French wine to enjoy over a Zoom or FaceTime call to catch up with friends, or to pair with a delicious dinner in the garden after staying indoors all day working, these trying times call for a glass of wine… With SomMailer.com in the US you can have your […]

Continue Reading

French wine is the most romantic valentine’s gift

What makes a great gift for your loved one for Valentine’s Day? It’s a question that never gets old. Do you choose a heart-shaped box of chocolates to woo your partner? Or, an exuberant bouquet of flowers? Or better yet – an elegant bottle of red wine or even Champagne? According to a study by […]

Continue Reading

Subscribe

If you enjoyed this article, subscribe now to receive more just like it.

Subscribe via RSS Feed

Comments are closed.

Top