Put on your Rosé-tinged glasses
The best from a blind tasting of Italian and Spanish rosés.
Rosé, the blushing white wine has nothing to be embarrassed about. Traditionally, rosé wines were made in a medium dry or sweet style by keeping a little residue of natural grape sugar after fermentation.
This hint of sweetness limited rosé's food partner possibilities. Today, rosé wines are made as a mainly dry and very food-friendly wine. A versatile wine, it veers between two styles: shy, restrained and bone dry, perfect chilled with pink fish, herby chicken and creamy pasta; or, a fruitier exuberant style, ideal with spicy, Oriental or Asian dishes.
Made from crushed black grapes, the colourless juice is left in contact with the black skins for one to two days, then drained when stained sufficiently to a pink blush and fermented as a white wine with all the grape skins removed.
Here are the best from a blind tasting of Italian and Spanish rosés.
1) Cipresseto Rosato 2012 by Santa Cristina, IGT Toscana, Italy 11.5pc
Pretty cherry scents contrast with a sour cherry palate, redcurrant-like acidity and cranberry flavours. Serve with a poached salmon salad dressed with a mix of horseradish and mayonnaise.
€14.49 at Next Door Off-Licences nationwide and in Dublin: Mitchell & Son, Custom House Quay Building, IFSC and Glasthule.
2) Rosado Frizzante Sparkling Wine by Espada, DO Penedes, Spain 11pc
Fruity and off-dry, gently fizzy with cherry and strawberry sparkling freshness and finish. A fun, light-bodied, ideal summer picnic wine. Serve well-chilled to preserve the bubbles.
€8.99 at Dunnes Stores nationwide and O'Donovan's off-licences Cork citywide. In Dublin: Jus de Vine, Portmarnock and Deveney's, Dundrum.
3) Garnacha 2013 by Artazuri, DO Navarra, Spain 13pc
Scented with ripe strawberries typical of Garnacha and dusted in icing sugar. Crisp and fresh flavours of strawberries and redcurrant. Enjoy with a garlicky chunky chowder.
€13.99 on-line at jnwine.com
4) Rosado de Tempranillo 2012 by Marques de Cacares, DOCa Rioja, Spain 13.5pc
Concentrated flavours of nettle and sappy fresh cranberries. The refreshing acidity, robust flavours and fuller body match with light red meats – lamb stew enriched with waxy new potatoes and pearl barley.
€15.99 at Dunnes Stores and SuperValu nationwide; O'Driscoll's, Cork; Joyce's Supermarkets, Galway. In Dublin: Higgins, Clonskeagh; Kelly's Wine Vault, Clontarf; On the Grapevine, Dalkey; Thomas Martin's, Fairview and Coppers & Young, Dun Laoghaire.
5) Rosa dei Masi 2013 by Masi, IGT Rosato della Venezie, Italy 12.5pc
A very elegant Rosato – fresh raspberries and fragrant with peach kernel. Light-bodied and refreshing. Try with skate wings and capers drizzled with melted butter.
€17.50 at O'Brien's 32 stores nationwide; Wine Well, Dunboyne; In Dublin at Redmond's, Ranelagh; Hole-in-the-Wall, Navan Road and Jus de Vine, Portmarnock.
6) Frentano 2013 by Cantina Frentana, DOC Cerasuolo d'Abruzzo, Italy 12.5pc
Concentrated entry of tart crisp redcurrant and unripe cherries. Long finish of cherries and stone fruits. Partner with oriental chicken with ginger and scallions.
€12.95 on-line at Quintessential Wine Shop, Drogheda and on-line: quintessentialwines.ie