By Rose Murray Brown MW Published in The Scotsman 6 February 2021
My pick of the best dozen rose sparkling wines on our shelves to impress your Valentine:
Penedes, Spain: CAVA ROSADO BRUT NV Codorniu (11.5%) ***STAR VALUE***
£6.99 reduced from £9.49 Waitrose
A cracking price for a traditional method rose fizz. Made from red grapes Monastrell, Garnacha & Trepat, with its pale pink, gently toasty, bright raspberry and redcurrant aromas and elegant soft forward fruits, this Cava from one of Spain’s oldest companies is bound to please with its elegant soft forward fruits and dry finish.
Veneto, Italy: PROSECCO ROSE DOC EXTRA DRY 2019 Costellore (11%)
New pink Prosecco is now allowed. In the past all Prosecco had to be white, now Italian white Glera grape is joined by 10-15% red Pinot Noir in the cuvee. Only Pinot Noir is allowed to be used for the rose - no other red grape - and the cuvee must spend extra time in tank for second fermentation. Very pale in colour, big bubbles, tutti-fruity sweet nose, succulent red fruits on palate – finishes a bit short – but still pretty good and generously fruity for the price.
Loire, France: THE SOCIETY’S SAUMUR ROSE BRUT NV Gratien & Meyer (12.5%)
£11.50 The Wine Society www.thewinesociety.com
Very good example of Loire rose with fresh vibrant acidity, upfront fruit flavours and off dry sweet notes. Such good value for money and expertly made by long-time Wine Society stalwarts, Gratien & Meyer. The key to good Saumur is in the blend – in this case Cabernet Franc is dominant.
Itata, Chile: SANTA DIGNA ESTELADO TRADITIONAL METHOD PAIS ROSE NV (12%)
£12.50 The Drink Shop; Roberts & Speight; Fareham Cellar
Award-winning Chilean fizz made from Pais, a long-forgotten undervalued grape which has been revived by the legendary Catalan winemaker Miguel Torres and has proved ideal as a base for traditional method fizz. This historic grape, once known as Mission grape, first planted in Chile in C16 arrived from the Canary Islands via Mexico. Pretty blush pink, raspberry fruits, smooth soft palate – good value.
Limoux, France: TESCO FINEST CREMANT DE LIMOUX ROSE 2017 Sieur d’Arques (12.5%) ***STAR BUY***
A cleverly made Cremant rose from Limoux’s excellent co-operative Sieur d’Arques. Crafted from Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc and Pinot Noir grown on limestone and stony clay near the Pyrenees foothills, this traditional method fizz has zip, lively freshness, creamy lees palate and good depth.
South Africa: THE RHONA BRUT ROSE NV Graham Beck (12%)
£11 Marks & Spencer
If you buy one bottle of wine this Valentine, make it South African. They need our help more than ever right now. Graham Beck makes some of Cape’s best fizz, with winemaker Pieter Ferreira crafting this 41% Chardonnay and 59% Pinot Noir traditional-method fizz from vines grown on the lime-based soils of inland Robertson. Voluptuous ripe berry fruits and creamy spicy richness.
Central Otago, New Zealand: AKARUA ROSE BRUT NV (13%)
£20.99 NZ House of Wine; Wine Trust 100; Fine Wine Musselburgh; Luvians
From some of the world’s most southerly vineyards – glacial terraces in Bannockburn and Pisa in Central Otago region. This crafty blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay with 15% reserve wines added to give complexity, is always a hit at our tastings. Distinct strawberry aromas, nutty toasty and yeasty with a long savoury dry finish – rich enough for food matching. Akarua’s standard white Brut is also extremely good.
Lombardy, Italy: FRANCIACORTA ROSE 2016 Ferghettina (12.5%)
£29 Woodwinters www.woodwinters.com
Prestigious Franciacorta is Italy’s answer to Champagne, made from the same grapes Pinot Noir and Chardonnay with second fermentation in bottle, with a touch more ripeness, nuttiness and vinosity. It is ranks above Prosecco in its finesse, poise and intensity - yet it remains one of Italy’s best kept secrets - a hidden gem from a small region in Brescia province in Lombardy, northeast of Milan. Franciacorta really deserves to be better known.
Buckinghamshire, England: HARROW & HOPE ROSE VINTAGE 2017 (12%) ***STAR BUY***
£32 Laithwaites www.laithwaites.co.uk ; Harrow & Hope www.harrowandhope.com
Winemaker Henry Laithwaite’s latest rose vintage includes Chardonnay in the blend for the first time to balance and add finesse, in the past he used Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. 2017 was a tough vintage with severe frost, but this is one of the best rose fizz in the UK from grapes grown on flint in the Chiltern Hills. A rich toasty cuvee with minerally undertones, spice, marmalade notes and rich red berry fruits; gold medal winner in Wine GB Awards.
Kent, England: SAIGNEE 2018 Hush Heath (12%)
£29.99 Majestic Wine www.majestic.co.uk
One of a trio of beautifully labelled wines from Hush Heath’s Winemaker Collection made by father and son winemaking team Owen & Fergus Elias. Hush Heath are well known for their rose fizz, but this one is different. Made mainly Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, with Pinot Meunier & Pinot Blanc using the little-used saignee (skin contact) method for making rose. Floral and herby nose, spicy tannic structure, rich and dense.
Champagne, France: RUINART ROSE NV (12.5%) ***STAR BUY***
£59.99 Majestic Wine www.majestic.co.uk £55 www.thechampagnecompany.com
Maturity, colour and intensity are the key elements which make Ruinart’s non-vintage cuvee such a great rose; they were the first to make rose Champagne back in 1764, today they are at the top of their game with one of the best non-vintage rose blends. Bright fruits, elegant pink grapefruit notes, lightly tannic with a spicy finish and a touch of refreshing bitterness and salinity, which makes you want to have more – a perfect match with rich textured seafood.
Champagne, France: KRUG ROSE 24th EDITION BRUT NV (12.5%)
£238 Majestic; Selfridges
If you want to give your Valentine a truly memorable experience, Krug’s multi-vintage Rose is better than ever with more bottle and post-disgorgement ageing. Made from 29% of the 2012 vintage with 71% reserve wines, matured for 7 years on lees, this really is extraordinary. Such a refined Pinot-dominant cuvee has rosehip, grapefruit, smoked ham notes with dried fruits, honey, olive oil and citrus – a very bold distinctive rose.
Give your Valentine a fun wine experience gift of Rose’s South American wine virtual tasting in association with Corney & Barrow: Fridays 5 & 12 March - to book see www.rosemurraybrown.com