Provence sweeps board at rosé tasting

Wines from in and around Provence dominated the top spots in a blind tasting in London last week that featured 31 of the world’s most famous and expensive rosés.

Rosé lineup

Wines from the tasting

The top scoring wine was Chêne Bleu rosé from a 600 metre site in Provence’s Dentelles de Montmirail, closely followed by two labels from the Côtes de Provence AOP: L’Hydropathe from Domaine Sainte Lucie and high-profile pink newcomer Miraval, from celebrity couple Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.

Then, with all four of its wines featuring in the top 11, were the Provençal labels from Domaines Sacha Lichine: Whispering Angel, Château d’Esclans, Les Clans, and the £60 Garrus.

Not only were the top 11 highest scoring rosés in the tasting all from the Provence region, and all dry, but they all contained Grenache, attesting to the suitability of this somewhat underrated grape for making the world’s best rosés.

Furthermore, the top five wines were all from the 2013 vintage, highlighting the importance of a youthful flavour and bright colour for a pink wine’s appeal.

Organised by wine consultant Richard Bampfield MW and hosted Jean-Christophe Mau from Château Brown, this was the second year these two figures had come together to organise a London-based blind rosé tasting, with last year’s inaugural tasting launched to celebrate the Bordeaux property’s first ever rosé, which was from the 2012 vintage.

Richard-and-Jean-Christophe

The tasting was organised by Richard Bampfield MW and Jean-Christophe Mau and held at London’s Westminster Boating Base.

But unlike last year’s tasting, which saw a scattering of regions feature in the top 10, in particular rosés from Bordeaux and Sancerre, in 2014 it was the wines from Provence that dominated the results.

The wines were tasted blind by 37 members of the UK trade and press, including the drinks business, and, before tasters were given the crib, they were asked to score each wine out of 20.

Having compiled the scores, Bampfield noted that tasters were were divided over the two Italian wines (Biondi-Santi and Sella Majoli) in the tasting, as well as the rosés from Tavel (Chateau d’Aqueria), Spain (Chivite and Artadi) and Bordeaux (Châteaux Brown and de Sours).

He pointed out that the presence of oak and bottle age in some of these wines may have been the cause of the wide range of scores.

Meanwhile, he reported that the sole English pink, Albury’s Silent Pools rosé, scored “admirably well”, and wines from Australia and New Zealand “failed to win many admirers”.

Summing up, he said, “The tasters were more drawn to rosés that echo the characteristics of white wines rather than reds; a pale colour is seen as a positive attribute, and freshness is key.”

Having taken part in the blind tasting, db has revealed its own top 11 highest-scoring rosés in the tasting, which you can see on the following page.

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