Perhaps, like myself, you have Rosé tinted spectacles?


Readers in more northern climes than here in Spain (Cork Talk is available online all over the world click Features, Cork Talk) might think that this is an odd time of year to be writing about Rosé wine. Spring is but a memory in Northern Europe; the Summer has well and truly disappeared; umbrellas are out, and coats donned before leaving the house!

None of the above would appear to be conducive to drinking Rosé, a very seasonal wine, if ever there was one.

Here in Alicante Province at the end of the first week in October (as I write) we are expecting temperatures to peak today at around 28ºC, perhaps, as it has done in the last few days, just climbing into the 30s. Swimming pools are still in use, the Mediterranean Sea too. So, we are continuing to enjoy a chilled Rosado, perchance with a cube of ice as well.

And, if you look at Spanish restaurant diners eating their paella you’ll also note that Rosado, certainly isn’t a girls’ drink! I love it, and contrary to what I’ve written above, I like to drink it all year round. Rosé wine looks great in the glass (and in the bottle as most are bottled in clear glass, for exactly that reason); it manages to combine the freshness of white wine with some of the nuances of lighter red wines; there is a huge array (particularly here in Spain) of varieties bringing with them so many varied aroma and flavour profiles; and it’s a super food pairing wine, with a plethora of dishes with which it goes perfectly. What’s not to like about drinking Rosado?

Well, there are some of my thoughts about Rosé wine – but you’d be far better advised to read also a fascinating new book by Elizabeth Gabay MW, entitled, ‘Rosé’, with the subtitle, ‘Understanding the Pink Wine Revolution’.

This beautiful book has been an inspiring read for me – I’ve always liked rosé wines, but I now know far more about them. It has to be the most comprehensive of the books written on the subject and Elizabeth Gabay manages to convey all the information in a thoroughly reader-friendly manner. I was astonished, therefore, when in her conclusion, she writes:

          “ . . . . I thought I knew a lot about rosé. Now I am amazed at how much there is still to learn.”  

Surely, it’s all in the book!

Well, the wine world these days is nothing if not dynamic, and experimentation is on-going in every field, so I know where Elizabeth Gabay is coming from making this statement. However, for the time being this must be the definitive reference book on Rosé wines, and when, as the author alludes, she writes her second on the same subject, I’ll certainly be looking for a copy!

I’m delighted to see, of course that Spanish rosados are featured in the book, along with reference, of course, to all of the other wine producing countries that are making rosé wines as part of their portfolio. The problem, living here in Spain, is that whilst we have easy access to the Spanish wines directly referred to, it’s nigh on impossible to find rosé from countries as diverse and far apart as Israel, USA, Greece, Poland and Canada, to name but a few!

The varying methods by which rosé wine is made are well covered and informative. Sparkling rosé wines are also dealt with – a section of the market that enjoys year on year sales increases. In fact this part was so attractive it made me go to my wine ‘cellar’ to seek one out to enjoy whilst writing, only to find that I’d run out!

As you might imagine, given the changing mood of the market, its trends and fads, there is a very interesting and illuminating reference to the importance of colour. I’m sure, that it’s not just me who has noticed that here in Spain, over the last few years, very pale (to almost colourless) rosé wines have started appearing – adding, in my view, to the already attractive spectrum of all possible shades of pink, making Spanish rosados so diverse. Needless to say Provencal rosés are included in the book. It is their very pale colour and the great popularity that have influenced winemakers across the world to imitate, if not their style, certainly their shade.

It’s impossible to do justice to the book in a simple review (far better to buy a copy here – a brilliant Christmas Present!), but I’ll add that one of my favourite sections is entitled, ‘The Business of Rosé’, dealing with: its commercial growth; its seasonality; levels of sweetness; to age or not to age; its labels and bottle design; escaping the ‘girl’ stereotype; and lots more. As I said, a fascinating book!

For now, though you’ll have to forgive me – I have to go out and buy some Rosado, after all Winter is on the way, and I may share it with my wife!   Twitter @colinonwine

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