On Friday I went for a lovely outdoor lunch at The Village, a gastro pub in Moseley, on the outskirts of Birmingham. It was noticeable how many guests siting in the beautiful summer sunshine were drinking rose wine. I'm told hat there has been a 10% increase in the sales of rose wine in the last twelve months. If you are a rose wine drinker, then you are not alone . 11% of the wine we drink in the UK is rose, and we spend around £3.3million on it. So quite a few people must be pretty keen on it.
Personally. I am not a rose drinker but a good friend of mine, LOVES rose but you wont find many wine professionals shouting that from the roof tops - but with caveats. It shouldn't be sweet and it shouldn't be heavy. The well-made Cote de Provence pinks are good, their colour alone is tantalisingly appealing and their aromas make you think of rose petals, strawberries and raspberries and summer smells. Their flavours are bright, vibrant and refreshing. Surprisingly, the sales figures show that we drink rose all year and not just in the warmer months, but I can't help thinking that May to September seems the perfect time to enjoy these wines, partly due to the weather and partly due to the fact that the wines have had time to settle after bottling in April and are then beautifully fresh and fruity.
Provence, claims to be the oldest wine region in France with a history of wine making, particularly rose, going back 2,500 years. The grapes used are Grenache, Cinsault, Carignan and Rolle along with a few others, all red grapes which are de-stemmed, lightly crushed and then macerated for between 2 and 20 hours until the desired colour and aromas are extracted from the skins. The grapes are then pressed and fermentation talks place in stainless steel tanks. It may sound all too easy but rose can be the most tricky of wines to make to obtain just the right amount of flavour and colour without extracting too many of the heavy tannins you find in red wines. When done properly, the wines are delicate, dry and crisp and often with a lively spicy finish.
Exports to the UK from Provence have risen 82% in recent years, so there are plenty of Cotes de Provence roses in our stores.
Rose wines work brilliantly with oily Mediterranean dishes as well as most things pink - like lobster, prawns, ham and summer puddings.