VALENTINE ROSE WINES

VALENTINE ROSE WINES image

By Rose Murray Brown MW     Published in The Scotsman 8 February 2020

 

Looking for a special rose to impress your Valentine – here is my pick of a dozen still and sparkling pinks:

 

STILL ROSES

France: CHATEAU LA TOUR DE L’EVEQUE ‘PETALE DE ROSE’ 2018  ***STAR BUY***
£18.50 Corney & Barrow Scotland, Pathhead & Ayr

This might look pricey for rose, but it is a very serious example of Cotes de Provence rose.  The old vines planted 50 years ago, now organically certified, in the chateau’s vineyards near Pierrefeu close to the Maurettes hills create this superbly minerally complex wine.  What our tasters all remarked on was its pretty pale pink, distinctly salty flavour, orange peel notes, supple texture and intense fruits.  Made by Regine Sumeire, one of the first women winemakers of the Provence region: 13.5%

South Africa: NELSON FAMILY VINEYARD ROSE 2018
£10.95 Corney & Barrow Scotland, Pathhead & Ayr

Deep ruby hints, full bodied rose style made from four grapes: Shiraz, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Merlot.  Tasters enjoyed its full berried fruits and creamy palate with vibrant acid freshness. Made by talented Lisha Nelson at Nelson’s Creek in Agter Paarl.  Not the most sophisticated rose I have ever tried, but very approachable for those who like forward fruit styles.: 13.5%

Italy: CONTESA CERASUOLO D’ABRUZZO 2018
£8.50 The Wine Society

For those who love their rose deep in colour and full of fruit – an easy-drinking rose to cheer us up on dark February days with its juicy cherry nosejammy raspberry fruit flavours, lovely texture - and brilliant price.  Made from Montepulciano grown by winemaker Rocco Pasetti near Pescara not far from the Adriatic sea – an area often neglected by tourists and wine lovers – but a great place for bargain hunting: 13.5%

Australia: NOCTURNE NEBBIOLO ROSE 2018
£18 The Vinorium

You may have heard of Nebbiolo in Italy – as the main grape of Barolo.  Now we are seeing more Italian grapes grown across Australia – even as far away as Margaret River in Australia.  This superb nutty strawberry-toned screwcapped rose is made by Julian Langworthy, winner of the prestigious Jimmy Watson trophy – only using free run juice.  Its depth and structure shows he was clearly inspired by Bandol’s rose style.

SPAIN: MUGA RIOJA ROSE 2017
£10.99/£12.99 Majestic Wine

One of Rioja’s best bodegas creates this easy-going dry Grenache-based rose from its vineyards at the foot of the Montes Obarenses in Rioja Alta where limestone soils give grapes good natural acidity – crucial for making good rose.  Plenty of salmon pink colour here from 12 hour maceration of the grapes before fermentation in huge 1000 litre oak barrels.  Our tasters loved its combination of bright juicy ripe strawberry fruits alongside crisp vibrant acid.  Crisp enough to drink on its own and gutsy enough to serve alongside a seafood salad: 13.5%

Austria: UMATHUM BURGENLAND ROSA 2018
£18 Clark Foyster Wines

One of my top favourites amongst Austrian roses – and there are quite a few contenders.  This is made from a clever blend of equal parts of old vine Zweigelt, St Laurent and Blaufrankisch – three Austrian grapes for which Josef Umathum has an long-established reputation grown on gravel and schist soils on the traditional terraced vineyards around the ancient wine village of Jois close to the famous Neusiedlersee lake – where Josef’s family have lived since C18: 13%

Sicily: PIETRADOLCE ETNA ROSATO 2018
£16.50 hic-winemerchants

Enchantingly full juicy vibrant unoaked Sicilian rose made from the local late-ripening Nerello Mascalese grape at Solicchiata near Castiglione di Sicilia 600 metres up on the northern slopes of Mount Etna.  Raspberry notes, creamy palate, crunchy acidity with a lovely fresh minerally backbone – as you would expect from the deep volcanic soils – but still approachable in style: 13.5%


SPARKLING ROSES

South Africa: GRAHAM BECK ‘THE RHONA’ BRUT ROSE NV
£11 Marks & Spencer

Graham Beck make some of the Cape’s best fizz.  Their winemaker Pieter Ferreira makes this great value rose fizz using the traditional method – known in South Africa as ‘Methode Cape Classique’.  Made from 41% Chardonnay and 59% Pinot Noir grown on the lime-based soils of inland Robertson region.  Tasters loved its exuberant ripe berry fruits and creamy spicy richness: 12%

New Zealand: AKARUA BRUT ROSE NV
£18.99-£20.99 Fine Wine Co Musselburgh; Henderson Wine; The Cave; Kirkness & Gorie; NZ House of Wine

From some of New Zealand’s most southerly vineyards in Central Otago.  A delicious blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay – with 15% reserve wine added to give complexity.  Very distinct strawberry aromas, hints of toast and yeast with a long savoury dry finish.  One of the most popular New World fizz in our tasting: 13%

England: HATTINGLEY VALLEY ROSE BRUT 2014  ***STAR BUY***
£37 Waitrose ; £36 www.hattingleyvalley.com

Multi-awarding delicate Hampshire fizz did well in our tasting with tasters praising its strawberry notes, toasty undertones and allround freshness – it’s a crackingly good buy.  Made from 60% Pinot Noir and 38% Pinot Meunier part-fermented in old Burgundy barrels – with remaining 2% from a twin of the Pinot Noir grape: Pinot Precoce (also known as Fruhburgunder in Germany) which was vinified as a still red, added during blending.  Winemaker Will Perkins suggests serving this with clam chowder with freshly baked bread: 12.5%

England: CAMEL VALLEY PINOT NOIR ROSE 2017
£29.95 Camel Valley; £29.99 Waitrose

Another beautifully pure fragrant example of English rose fizz.  This is made from 100% Pinot Noir grown near Bodmin Moor in Cornwall.  Winemaker Sam Lindo manages to get even more depth and complexity into this pale pink strawberry-toned fizz each year – his rose is consistently the best in Camel Valley’s range – deservedly winning Best English Sparkling Wine at the Champagne & Sparkling Wine World Championships last year: 12.5%

France: CHAMPAGNE DEVAUX ‘CUVEE D’ ROSE NV
£50 Exel Wines

One of the best rose Champagnes currently on the market at this price.  Note this is the ‘Cuvee D’ as they have other cheaper options available.  This cuvee is made from rich ripe Pinot Noir grown in the southerly warm Cote des Bars region, with a good percentage of Chardonnay to lighten the structure.  An elegant, raspberry scented, fresh vibrant acid with biscuity complex notes from its five years ageing.  Rich enough to serve with lobster or even duck – but perhaps best sipped with a strawberry sorbet: 12%

 

Give your Valentine a sparkling gift: England v Champagne tasting at The Royal Scots Club in Edinburgh on Thursday 2 April: £55 www.rosemurraybrown.com