Episode 61 – 26th May 2021
Six Standout Rosés and Jukes 8
I was delighted to be asked to pick out six outstanding, new season rosé wines for Georgie Coleridge Cole’s amazing SheerLuxe.com TV channel. I believe that this episode will be broadcast tomorrow on SheerLuxe’s IGTV, so do tune in. What made this tasting even more exciting was that I was invited to show Jukes 8 (my 0.0% alcohol drink modelled on and inspired by Provence rosé), with our beautiful Matthew Williamson designed sleeve, as the seventh drink in the line-up. How would it fare against some of the finest value, top-class rosés on the market?
2020 Specially Selected Pays d’Hérault Rosé, Édition Limitée, France (£6.99, Aldi).
50% Cinsault, 40% Grenache & 10% Muscat
There seem to be more and more southern French rosés hitting the shelves as every year passes. I must have tasted several hundred already this year and most of them are insipid, lacklustre and uninspiring. I tasted no less than 18 examples at Aldi the other day and this wine was the standout. In fact, it is my favourite inexpensive rosé of the year so far. By leading with Cinsault and relegating the more costly Grenache grape into second on the grid, the price was always going to be tempered. But the clever move here is the addition of 10% Muscat in the mix. Grapey, soothing and fruity, this white grape glosses of any of the failings in the two red grapes and this sleight of hand is impressive. Drink it ice cold for a bargain-priced, genuinely rewarding 2020 rosé.
2021 Babylonstoren, Mourvèdre Rosé, Paarl, South Africa (£14.90, www.thenewtinsomerset.com).
For a rosé made from 100% Mourvèdre, this is a remarkable creation. Silky smooth, delicately perfumed and gentle on the palate and then surprisingly long on the finish, this delicious, haunting wine has been selected by the Royal Horticultural Society as the official wine of the Chelsea Flower Show this year. The packaging is superb, the flavour is ethereal and rewarding and, for once, a vinous partnership between a great winery and a world-famous event is wonderfully synergistic.
2020 Domaine Pique Roque Rosé, Côtes de Provence, France (£12.95, reduced to £11.50 by the case, www.hhandc.co.uk).
Grenache dominant with Syrah, Cinsault and Cabernet Sauvignon making up the numbers
Regular readers will know that I am a huge fan of Pique Roque Rosé, having bought it and written about it for well over a decade. The 2020 is sensational and it is the palest and most ethereal of this sextet. The clever addition of Cabernet manages to lengthen the finish and add even more drama to the slender chassis. This is a stellar wine and one with stunning class and refinement. Given the value for money afforded here, this is one of the rosés of the year.
2020 Mirabeau, Étoile Rosé, Côtes de Provence, France (£15.00, Sainsbury’s).
90% Grenache & 10% Syrah
Mirabeau’s top rosé increases the percentage of the stellar red grape Grenache in the blend and this adds even more refinement and silkiness to Étoile. With a Grand Vin stance, this is the finest rosé on the High Street and it looks the parts, too. Mirabeau Pure is a lovely wine in its own right, so if you see it in Waitrose or Tesco then do take the plunge, but it is worth seeking out Étoile in Sainsbury’s because this wine is yet another level of refinement.
2020 Rock Angel, Château d’Esclans, Côtes de Provence, France (£23.95, www.finewinedirect.co.uk).
Primarily Grenache with Rolle making up the numbers
2020 Rock is a magnificent creation and this wine soars above the other in terms of structure balanced with innate elegance. The oak involvement is so well-judged and so well-integrated in this wine it is barely noticeable as a flavour but as a texture enhancer, it is second to none. Luxurious, aerial, composed and effortlessly grand, Whispering Angel’s big sister is a thrilling wine in 2020 and it is worth noting that this is not an aperitif wine but a serious accompaniment to fine food.
2019 Château Barthès, Bandol Rosé, Provence, France (£13.00, Coop).
40% Grenache, 30% Mourvèdre & 30% Cinsault
With an extra year of ageing over the other French wines, this is a lovely, budget Bandol and while its Mourvèdre percentage is not overly ambitious the flavour here is accurate, bold and enveloping. This is the only rosé that really works with meaty dishes and while some might find the colour a little off-putting the flavour is perfectly poised. If you try eating a burger, chop or steak with any of the other wines they will fall short. Barthès relishes this challenge while maintaining a degree of freshness and sophistication!
Finally – Jukes 8 (£38, 9x 3cl bottles, www.jukescordialities.com), the ‘rosé’, is inspired by the aromas and flavours of Provence and I am thrilled to report that it held its own against these six wines. Of course, I would say this, because I a biased, but if you would like to see it for yourself, please do tune in to the show! If you would like to learn more about Jukes Cordialities please click here.