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LIVE 24-SEVEN ROSÉ WINE & 'DINNER À DEUX' FOR VALENTINE’S


The best of them are absolutely wonderful”, but it usually brings a smile to my lips, because when said person admits to this liking, it is almost always said with a defensive slant, as if they are admitting to some dark, dastardly deed...


Joking apart though, someone did ask me the other day why whenever they tried the increasingly popular tasting menus at premium restaurants wanting to showcase their food and wines, it is rare, if ever, that a rosé features among the chosen wines. It was my friend Annabelle who made the point and it was a good one. What is it about rosé that divides people so much, in that some love them and others are not just neutral, but actually antagonistic towards this food-friendly style of wine.


Welcome to February...it's that time of the year again...I refuse to say it...you know....when all things heart shaped and love related have a pale pink hue and Cupid has to dust off his arrow and practice his aim...


There are many that reject all things pink (the colour of love apparently) and this usually extends to rosé wine. I have had many conversations with people revolving around wine and often (increasingly so) they will throw in the comment, “I like rosé”, to which I always like to reply along the lines of “There's nothing wrong with liking rosé.


Obviously I have a slightly biased view and yes, there are many (too many) insipid, vacuous and tasteless rosés out there and as a category it has in the past been weak, but this has changed hugely in the past five years or so and there are some outstanding examples knocking on the door and deserving of recognition.


I'm currently working my way around Spain and Italy (tasting wise) and there are some truly lovely bottles including Rosado, made from the Grenache grape. Grenache is an intensely fruity grape variety and good rosé, made with having just a very short time in contact with the grape skin, benefits from this method of winemaking, making the most of the fruit, but excluding any bitter tannins from extended skin contact.


However, if I'm honest, I have been most pleasantly surprised by examples from Italy. These are not just known as generic Rosato, but depending on the area, are given names such as Cerasuolo (Sicily and Abruzzo) and Chiaretto (Lake Garda). I think I am correct in saying that Italy has more indigenous grapes than any other wine producing country and many of them are called into service to produce Rosato. If you visit Sicily, look out for Cerasuolo di Vittoria, a blend of the Nero d'Avola and Frappato grape, which makes a darker than typical rosé.


In the Montepulciano d'Abruzzo area, the Cerasuolo (which means cherry) is made exclusively from the namesake Montepulciano grapes. In the hands of a producer such as Torre dei Beati, the results are superb!


Around Lake Garda, their Chiaretto (the word, like that of the old Bordeaux term 'clairet', which was anglicised into 'claret', refers to a light, clear wine), is composed of several local grape varieties. Provenza winery blends four of these (Groppello, Marzemino, Sangiovese and Barbera) to make a beautiful strawberry-scented rosé with lovely balanced acidity. Growers from Bardolino blend their local varieties such as Corvina, Rondinella, Molinara and Negrara.


I'm going to take a wild stab here, put my neck on the line and say that just in the above three paragraphs alone are more than enough grape varieties, converted into rosé, than you can shake a stick (or glass) at. So, you can see that in actual fact, there are many, many different styles of rosé, even if some of them do take a little effort to seek out.


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