In time for flaming June, should it ever catch fire, "posh pinks" were the subject of the premium rosé tasting organised this month by Richard Bampfield MW and Château Brown. A total of 36 pink wines were tasted blind, decanted into clear, label-less bottles. The only visually identifying feature was the colour, and for anyone who thinks that rosé simply means pink, even a Dulux colour chart wouldn't do justice to the dozens of shades on offer.
The origin was global, although with 26 from France, including 14 from Provence, French rosé was far more the focus than the last such tasting I attended a couple of years ago. Given the posh in the title, most of the wines were actually quite reasonably priced at between £12 and £25, with only a small handful in la-la land. Although admittedly that may still seem expensive if your experience of rosé is of cheap, bland and sugary blush purveyed by the likes of California's Blossom Hill and Echo Falls.
Premium rosé is meant to be a serious wine that can stand alongside any fine white or red. It's a wine in which the winemaker has generally given priority to the management of the grapes in the vineyard and to the blending in the cellar. With lower yields than mass-market rosés and in a dry style that makes them so much more refreshing as drinks in their own right, such rosés also come into their own with salads such as niçoise, fish, charcuterie, chicken or pork.
The quality of the Provence rosés stood out. Expensive but not quite bank-busting, the juicy cranberry fruit of the 2014 Whispering Angel (£16.99, Waitrose) was alluring, along with the scented berry fruit of Brangelina's 2014 Miraval (£17.99, Majestic), and the approachable strawberry fruits of the 2014 Domaine des Diables Bonbon (£13.95, Lea & Sandeman). Bandol came up with two charmingly delicate, fruity rosés in the 2013 Domaine de Terrebrune (£22, The Good Wine Shop) and the 2014 Château Pibarnon Rosé (£22.58, Exel Wines).
Languedoc, too, had its pink moments, notably in the fresh apple and pear fruit of the 2014 Chêne Bleu (£17.99, Waitrose) and the raspberry-ish juiciness of Gérard Bertrand's 2014 Château la Sauvageonne (£12.99, Majestic). Outside France, my favourite was the appetisingly fresh 2014 Niepoort Redoma Rosé (£13.99-£15, Corks of Cotham, Highbury Vintners). If you really want to push the boat out, you could always try Domaines Sacha Lichine's smokily complex 2013 Les Clans (£59.40, Hedonism) and if you have a big enough fridge, a double magnum of Domaine Ott's 2014 Clos Mireille (£300, Hedonism) would win friends and influence people.Reuse content