Nine Southern French Rosés This Week
2022 Aix, Rosé, Coteaux d’Aix en Provence, France (£16.95, www.finewinedirect.co.uk)
I am a massive fan of Aix, with its stunningly simple label that seems to shout, “Order Me”, from the other side of the restaurant or wine bar. I tend to migrate to magnums of this wine, and this is because it always seems to disappear quickly! However, this is not a problem because Fine Wine Direct also sells magnums and larger formats. 2022 Aix is a more luxurious offering than last year’s more angular 2021, making it even more alluring. It is superb value for money, too, given it has a grand feel from start to finish.
2022 Le Rêve, Limited Edition Rosé, Côtes de Provence, France (£28.50, www.honestgrapes.co.uk)
Jonathan Maltus builds on his inaugural 2021 release of Le Rêve with an even more confident and layered wine in 2022. With a hint more structure, wild herb details, and crisp acidity, this is a challenging style that shows tension and youth and seems to crave sushi and all manner of trickier dishes to show off its skills.
2022 Secret de Léoube Rosé, Côtes de Provence, France (£34.00, www.daylesford.com)
The Léoube family of organic rosés is in fine fettle in 2022, with Secret displaying a gorgeous, floral nose followed but a bright rhubarb and raspberry-drenched middle and a surprisingly austere finish. Foodier and leaner than many, it is a combative wine that desires to be drunk with elite cuisine. It certainly leans on its ‘secret’ Cabernet Sauvignon ingredient giving it a lick of invisible tannin, marshalling the finish and holding tight lines throughout. Cheeky little 2022 Love by Léoube Rosé, Côtes de Provence, France (£15.00, www.tesco.com) is juicy, bright, round and fleshy and, again, the fruit is raspberry and pomegranate-themed. Gentle and welcoming, this wine is ready to go, and it will doubtless make legions of fans this summer with its stunning packaging and crowd-pleasing tones. 2022 Château de Léoube Rosé, Collector, Côtes de Provence, France (no retailers yet) is a new member of the team, and I assume, given the palate, that it is a much pricier model than the previous two wines. With overt power and depth, the ripeness of fruit pushes back on the palate challenging the senses and bringing a red wine vinosity to proceedings. It will undoubtedly repay patience as it is relatively closed, but there are pretty oak hints here over the statuesque fruit, and the finish is grippy and mouth-watering, too.
2022 Le Grand Cros, L’Esprit de Provence Rosé, France (£18.95, www.swig.co.uk)
My pick of the recently released quartet of Le Grand Cros wine is the heavenly L’Esprit. With melon and cool cucumber notes on the nose and an extra dimension of silkiness on the palate, this is the perfect soothing style of rosé with a clean, bright, herbal finish and no traces of astringency or obvious youth, slowing your attack down. A new team member is 2022 Le Grand Cros, La Fleur, IGP de Méditerranée, France (£14.50, www.swig.co.uk), using fruit taken from a vineyard over the road from L’Esprit. With a ‘lower classification’, it seemingly cannot command the same level of cash as L’Esprit, but it is still a sophisticated and balanced wine. There is decent energy here as if the wine is trying to make a super impression on its first outing, and I can certainly recommend it as a decent crowd-pleaser. 2021 Le Grand Cros, Aurelia Rosé, Côtes de Provence, France (£29.50, soon to be released) is put on the market a year after the others as it spends ten months on its lees and one-third of the wine is matured in oak while two-thirds slumbers in ‘ovoid jars’. Full-bodied, more powerful and with more pronounced acidity, this is another structured and gastro-aimed wine that would not shirk from main course duties such is its impact. This is my favourite Aurelia to date, as the exuberant fruit is nicely tempered by the generous 2021 acidity. Finally, the least expensive in the pack. I feel that 2022 Jules, Rosé, Côtes de Provence, France (£13.99, www.cambridgewine.com) is somewhat overlooked as it doesn’t wear a Le Grand Cros badge, but I really like this wine, and I have said this before, too. Clean, energetic and hearty, while it is a touch more rustic, this is a very good wine, and it wears its heart on its sleeve. It is one of the best-value wines in an ocean of dreary competitors.