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Southern French rosé: 10 myths debunked

The world of wine is stuffed with data and misconceptions.

Data can lead you down a rabbit warren of geeky element which, whereas absorbing and engaging, could make wine more and more inaccessible to most wine drinkers. Cue rosé.

Rosé has all the time promoted itself because the wine which doesn’t want data. Anybody can drink rosé and luxuriate in it no classic charts, no winemaking info, no sophisticated maps of terroir. The wine for everyman. But it surely does imply that misconceptions can unfold like wildfire. Repeated and copied, they grow to be forged in stone.

Scroll down to find the ten myths of southern French rosé

Provence is considered the cradle of the present rosé revolution with the Mediterranean life-style of the south of France contributing to the advertising picture.
A lot in order that all the rosés from the south are sometimes grouped collectively. Being based mostly round Grenache they should be all the identical, proper?

Actually, the south of France gives an enormous variety of kinds, and this oversimplifcation is simply one of many many falsehoods hooked up to rosé, together with the under:

1. Rosé is only for summer time

That’s most likely true for any mild, crisp wine – tannins don’t shine in a calming wine. A glass of chilly pink or white with chilling condensation is ideal for summer time.

Rosés with longer maceration and a few tannins (suppose Tavel, right-bank Rhône and Roussillon) cannot solely act as nice summer time reds however are additionally good for autumn and winter, accompanying recreation, fish and cheese.

A lot of Rasteau’s Vin Doux Naturel can be rosé, supplying you with a candy wine to be loved with cheese and dessert at any time of 12 months.

2. It’s best with summer time meals

These embrace salads, goats cheese, fish and sushi – not precisely a delusion however solely half the reality.

Oaked rosés have been initially created to finish the gastronomic vary of meals pairings, and people with extra evident oak flavours can tackle extra sturdy savoury flavours similar to roast meats.

Older rosés with their richer dried fruit notes go effectively with stronger cheeses and richer gratins.

pairing rosé wines with food

3. Pale means good

No! Pale is created by a variety of causes which may be completed both singly, partly or altogether: utilizing lighter-coloured varieties similar to Cinsault; earlier harvesting whereas the color is extra delicate; the addition of white grapes (frequent all through virtually all of southern France), and really mild direct urgent (the first-run juice being the palest) are all methods employed when chasing a lighter hue.

Such wines are a positive steadiness between ripe fruit and recent acidity. Darker pinks can have riper grapes and longer pores and skin contact – some, particularly in Tavel, macerate for as much as per week. They’re simply pretty much as good, however extra full bodied.

4. Rosé is easy

As with every wine color, the kinds vary from easy to complicated. And sure, rosé may be complicated with some excellent examples showing from previous vines, low yields, mixing totally different harvest dates, spontaneous fermentation, cautious use of oak and amphora, or longer ageing on the lees. These wines push the restrict of what any wine can obtain.

5. It must be drunk younger

Most rosé retains its recent fruitiness for 2 to 3 years, and lots of positively enhance because the flavours combine and open up.

After three years, secondary notes begin to emerge, typically with a gradual evolution of dried peaches and apricots giving an enthralling richness. Most estates don’t maintain older vintages so it is a exhausting delusion to disprove, however tastings of rosés (normally the premium cuvées) going again 20, 30 or extra years reveal some beautiful wines.

Château d’Aqueria’s Tavel rosé. Credit score: E. Guigal

6. It’s all about life-style and picture

Arduous to dispute this delusion when a lot advertising is targeted on life-style and picture, and the packaging may be so beautiful. It’s, nevertheless, price looking for the rosés in darkish bottles the place the color isn’t seen and the wines are shielded from mild strike.

7. Rosé is affordable

Nearly all of southern French rosé definitely falls into the cheaper finish of the spectrum.

Nevertheless, many producers, particularly in Provence, are more and more including not only a premium rosé to their vary but additionally extra experimental wines which sit at barely greater worth factors. The element on the again label is commonly the clue to why a wine is a bit more expensive with particulars of winery, grapes and winemaking.

8. Provence rosé is only one type

This is without doubt one of the weirdest misconceptions for producers residing within the south of France.

Even locals can not agree on the definition of Provence! Is it the Var division, or maybe the picturesque lavender fields of the Luberon and southern Rhône? Are the very totally different rosés of Tavel and Bandol a part of Provence? Completely different soils, winemaking, grapes and traditions end in many alternative kinds.

clos sainte magdeleine, provence

Clos Sainte Magdeleine: in Provence. Credit score: Jonathan Sack / Clos Sainte Magdeleine

9. There is no such thing as a classic variation 

This delusion could also be quick disappearing because the information over the previous few years has highlighted the issues of frost, drought, fireplace and hail.

However there are additionally cooler and warmer vintages which end in totally different kinds. In Provence, 2018 and 2020 have been extra delicate and recent vintages, whereas 2019 was extra sturdy and concentrated. 2021 was tough and 2022 could also be extra like 2019.

10. Rosé is only for ladies

A critically bizarre untruth. Is it as a result of pink is female? That solely males can perceive wines that are extra sophisticated?

There is no such thing as a reply to this false impression aside from actual males drink rosé, too. Rosé can be for folks of all ages. As with different wine, you simply have to search out the type for you.

For these eager to discover the variations and variety of southern French rosé, attempt totally different wines from totally different appellations, a spread of color depth – from pale to darkish – and totally different varieties similar to Grenache, Mourvèdre or Syrah-based wines.

Elizabeth Gabay’s just lately printed guide ‘Rosés of Southern France’ (£22, Amazon UK/com/FR) units out to elucidate and outline the tastes, kinds, traditions and winemaking of this fast-growing sector, displaying that there isn’t any singular type, however enormous variety and thrilling new instructions.

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