Ever since the sun began to peek from behind the winter clouds it brought not only the first semblance of spring warmth, but also a flood of digital marketing from the who’s who of online wine retail proclaiming to have THE rosé I simply must have for the coming season. Unsurprisingly, the two most common recommendations were the one from the Brangelina estate and the French one with the English name, carefully curated to spare the blushes of those whose French pronunciation is questionable even before a few glasses of ultra pale pink wine.
So, what’s it all about, this delicately coloured, subtly scented fermented grape juice? Is it not much more than clever marketing ensconced within a glass prison or is there more to it? Admittedly, it has taken me more than a decade of enthusiastic consumption of all things red, white and bubbly to finally begin to appreciate the understated charm of rosé. Maybe it’s just my maturing palate but I certainly find myself drawn towards wines with a bit more elegance than monstrous Meursault wannabes from the New World and Shiraz which screams for attention.
Now, whilst it may sound a little cliche my preference for this stuff that makes us all go ga-ga throughout the summer months, only to be forgotten like Kevin McAllister each Christmas, is those produced in the Provence region of Southern France. Specifically, Syrah dominant blends which offer a vivacious yet finessed minerality and a gentle perfume of purple flowers. One such example is from negociant Hecht & Bannier, who were first recommended to me by Damien Barton of the Leoville / Langoa Barton dynasty. Hecht & Bannier source their Syrah from the high altitude vines found north of the city of Aix-en-Provence, whilst their Grenache & Cinsault is grown in the vineyards along the mediterranean coast in Saint Victoire and Les Landes des Moures. The result is refined, yet effortlessly gluggable, the perfect accompaniment to a long lunch that will inevitably become a late night.