In 2009, growth of the overall UK wine market was fuelled by rosé. In France, rosé wine now outsells white! And the Americans have been wearing the pink goggles since Sutter home invented white Zinfandel in the 70s. Now the trend is to drier, higher quality styles, with premium rosé sales in the States soaring 30% last year.
I experienced the best rosé I (we) ever had with my dear friend Sharon. If you google “Louise wine study buddy” you will find a photo of my study buddy Sharon accepting an award for achieving the top marks in Canada for the Wine and Spirits Education Trust diploma program we did a couple years ago. I am so lucky to have such a smart and hardworking partner! (Sharon when you proof this blog, pleeease let me keep that part in).
Our bottle, Chateau Simone Rosé 2009, was collected by Sharon on her recent trip to Provence. We are truly on a wine adventure. I had typed out a list of wines for Sharon to attempt to source on her Europe trip. She had printed it off, but then somehow ended up needed to write it all out long hand. She took the list store-by-store, braved conversations in French and Italian (she normally speaks only English and Scottish), and found our treasures. (A wise man suggested there should be an app for the 1001 Wines You Must Taste Before You Die. I agree. I’ve lugged my 6 pound book all over the world. If I had a clue how to make an app I would. Maybe one of you will figure that out for us.)
Chateau Simone is produced in Palette, (Provence) France. In fact, the estate represents about a third of the tiny appellation, with much of the rest of it covered in pine forest. The region/winery produces red and rosé wines from Grenache, Mourvèdre with a dash of Cinsault and friends (as well as Clairette based whites to be accurate/nerdy). The wine is sourced from 50+ year old vines, likely a major reason why it is so darn good.
The nose offered notes of preserved cherries, raspberries, candied floss, and fresh grape jelly (due to the addition of Muscat perhaps). Sharon found spice cake and burnt sugar. The medium plus acidity was a key to the success of this wine. Warmer climates tend to produce wines lacking acidity, resulting in a flabby mouth feel. Not the case with Simone. This mouth-watering example could cut through some fatty beef Carpaccio or stand up to the creamy seafood hot pot at Nautical Nellies (sigh). (Did you know that beef Carpaccio was invented at Harry’s Bar, also the birthplace of the Bellini?) Being Grenache based, the wine was naturally high octane and voluptuous. (Oz Clarke calls Grenache the wild woman of wine and sex on wheels.) The palate flowed with notes of cranberry, candy cane and white pepper. But what really sets Simone rose apart is its complexity and generous length. Overall, a killer wine. The bar has been set.
So what to drink if your BFF isn’t gallivanting around Europe? My personal favs include Sandhill and Joie rosé from British Columbia. Chateau de la Galiniere and Jean Jean from Cotes de Provence and Pays d’Oc in France. And the Innocent Bystander Moscato rosé from the Yarra Valley in Australia.
So tell me, have you been bitten by the pink wine bug?