Get involved! Send your photos, video, news & views by texting KS NEWS to 80360 or e-mail us
7:00am Saturday 31st August 2013 in Lifestyle
Fancy a drink? Our drinks columnist Sam Wylie-Harris flirts with some Provencal pinks and reveals why they're so fashionable and seductive.
Postcard from Provence
Provence is so famous for its landscapes that the name alone conjures up images of fragrant hills blanketed in lavender and pretty villages dotted among the olive groves and vineyards. As such, it's a place that's bestowed as much pleasure to the palette (artists like Paul Cezanne have captured its beauty) as it imparts on the palate; Provencal rose is the pin-up of pink wines.
Cinsault and grenache are the two main grapes of the region, and 80% of production in the Cotes de Provence appellation is devoted to rose, from the coastal area around St Tropez to the hills in the north. Scented, refreshing and dry, the characteristically pale hues of Provencal rose can vary from nude to pale petal, strawberry, coral, cantaloupe, to mango or mandarin, according to the winemaker's techniques, and how long the skin stays in contact with the juice. As a general rule of thumb though, the more delicate the colour, the more expensive the wine.
To get the look and mirror the beauty and glamour of a Riviera lifestyle, here are some posh pinks to enjoy alfresco.
Along with its chic label, Mirabeau Rose 2012, Cotes de Provence (£8.99, Waitrose) is an irresistible baby pink that's exotically fruity with ribbons of strawberry and raspberry, enhanced by a touch of juicy peach leading to a bone dry finish - the fact that's it's made by an expat living out his dream makes it extra-worthy of attention.
A petal pink rose that's as delicious as it is pretty, Chateau Pigoudet 'La Chapelle' Rose 2012, Coteaux d'Aix en Provence (£9.99, or £8.99 when you buy two, Majestic) is well-crafted with tender fruit, a core of grapefruit and a crisp acidity on the refreshing berry finish that cries out for a salad nicoise.
Named after the Cabaret rose flower of the same colour, Cabaret Rose 2012, Cotes de Provence (£9, Oddbins) sounds like an open invitation to party, and this wine is certainly worth making a song and dance about. The family have been making wines for more than 700 years (wine-growing in Provence dates back to Roman times), and the winery is a stone's throw from the foot of Montagne Sainte-Victoire which Cezanne painted throughout his career. An entry level wine from Olivier Sumeire, Cabaret is a peachy-coral shade, nicely scented with an elegant silky mouthfeel and enough body and flavour to charm even non-rose lovers into asking for a second glass.
A notch up the scale, Sumeire's Chateau Coussin Rose 2012, Cotes de Provence (£12.25, Oddbins) is another joyous glass that doesn't hold back on flavour; a bouquet of summer flowers, savoury, red berry fruits and a soft, silky mouthfeel ending with lively acidity.
Butterflies bless the bottle of Chateau des Launes Cote de Provence Rose 2011, £10.99, or £9.89 when you buy six, www.31dover.com) and this salmon pink has understated notes of fresh blossom, good concentration of white stone fruits with enough minerality to give it a lift on the beautifully balanced finish.
Sales of rose wines have soared in recent years and while they're often still considered frivolous and fun, it takes great skill to get the most out of the fruit to create the delicate taste - and steeper prices reflect this.
Chateau du Galoupet is thought to date back to the 17th century, and Chateau du Galoupet, cru classe, Cotes de Provence 2012 (£12.20, www.tanners-wines.co.uk) is a very elegant example from this top-notch producer. A delectable coral pink, a veil of wild strawberry follows through with cherry and raspberry flavours, clean acidity and a long fruity finish.
Tipplers may think the cost of the next rose is a little much for a casual drinker, but this chi-chi wine is what the jet-set are sipping this summer. And when you consider the chateau is owned by the same family as Louis Roederer's Cristal Champagne, everything falls into place. Domaines OTT Clos Mireille Rose 2011, Cotes de Provence (£26.99, or £22.95 when you buy six, www.31dover.com) is bottled in the traditional 'corset' shape and has a salmon pink beauty with a tint of mandarin. It's dry with invigorating citrus flavours and a pure, clean, lingering mouthfeel defines the finish.
:: Best buy
On good authority... The Wine Society have put together a collection of members' favourite wines based on recent sales and reviews posted on The Society's website. The special offer showcases three mixed 12-bottle cases and gives drinkers the opportunity to explore what fellow members are ordering.
With the equivalent bottle price of between £6.25 and £6.58, members can choose from Members' Favourites Reds (£75), Members' Favourites Whites (£79), and Members' Favourites Mixed Dozen (£79).
Available from August 26 until September 29. For more info visit www.thewinesociety.com
:: Liquid news
Bank Holiday bubbles... Usually the reserve of Champagne houses, English sparkling wine producer Chapel Down have created Britain's biggest bottle of English sparkling wine.
The 15-litre Nebuchadnezzar bottle of Chapel Down's gold medal winning Blanc de Blancs 2007 is the equivalent of 10 magnums, serves 120 glasses and is estimated to hold around 60 million bubbles inside - one for every person in the UK.
Visitors to the Turner Contemporary summer exhibition 'Curiosity: Art and the Pleasures of Knowing' (www.turnercontemporary.org) will be able to see the giant bottle (until September 15) which the Kent-based winery has produced to celebrate the museum's one millionth visit.
And as an added incentive, the lucky one millionth visitor who comes through the doors of the gallery will be awarded 20 bottles of Chapel Down sparkling wine - equal in size to the Nebuchadnezzar. The original bottle will then go on tour to restaurants and bars across the country before being auctioned to raise money for the gallery.
Comments are closed on this article.