WINE O’CLOCK: When it’s time to reach for the rosé
The lovely weather seems to have abandoned us but Met Eireann says it should soon be back, so don’t put away the barbecue just yet.
When the sun comes out we reach for the rosé. It’s Ireland’s favourite summer wine and, although I’m not a big fan, I have to admit it goes well with a sunny day.
I am particularly fond of the very light, just about pink, product that comes from the south of France and a bit wary of American brands, often called ‘blush’. They can be very sweet and are sometimes made by mixing red wine with white, a crude method that is banned in Europe.
Most rosé is made by allowing the grape juice only brief contact with the skin. The shorter the contact, the lighter the wine.
Rosé can be made from just about any red wine grape variety. In Provence, the blend will usually include Syrah and the lesser-known Cinsault and Carignan grapes.
If your rosé comes from Spain, expect Tempranillo. Pinot Noir, Grenache, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, are also common in rosé blends. To find your favourite you need to try a few, which is not a hardship.
Pierere Jaurant Languedoc Rosé (€8.99, Aldi)
A glassful of summer from the south of France. Pale pink with hints of melon and strawberry. Just add a dish of olives and a few cubes of goats’ cheese
Vin de Frantz Rosé (€21.95, Le Caveau, Kilkenny)
From the Loire region, well to the north of the traditional rosé base. This is a slightly darker rosé, a blend of Gamay and local grape Grolleau. More complex than the average rosé, less of the traditional strawberry taste, more cherry and raspberry.
Whispering Angel (around €25 from Worldwide Wines Waterford; La Touche, Greystones and The Wine Centre, Kilkenny)
Great name for a heavenly wine, so typical of Provence. Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah are in the blend. Beautiful summer berry flavours that chill perfectly.
Solas Syrah Rosé (€11.50, Dunnes)
Made by Laurent Miquel and his Irish wife Neasa at the family vineyard in the Languedoc . A more traditional rosé with flavours of strawberry and peach. Perfect with prawns or a simple green salad.