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Provence and Bordeaux take top spots in rosé tasting

A blind tasting of pink wines from around the world in London this month confirmed the superiority of Provence, but also highlighted the quality of Bordeaux rosé.

Pale, dry rosés performed best in the blind tasting

Organised by Richard Bampfield MW, the tasting brought together 20 top pink wines from locations as diverse as Corsica, Istria and Bolgheri, as well as more traditional rosé-producing regions such as Provence, Bandol and the Rhône and Sancerre, not forgetting New World areas Marlborough and the Barossa.

The wines, almost entirely from the 2012 vintage, were served in the Thomas Pink shirt shop on Jermyn Street and tasted by a range of press and merchants, as well as the drinks business.

After the tasting, Bampfield collected scores of out 20 for each of the wines, and he later confirmed that the highest scores had been awarded to two Provencal rosés – Chateau Leoube’s Secret de Léoube and Domaine Ott’s Clos Mireille – and one Bordeaux rosé from Château Brown, in its inaugural vintage release, 2012.

Following the event, Bampfield noted that pale coloured dry rosés performed best in the blind tasting, while deeper pink, more jammy rosés with any obvious sweetness were not scored highly.

In short, it was Provence, Bordeaux and Sancerre which were the most highly-rated rosé wine producing regions.

Having also taken part in the tasting, over the following pages are db‘s top 10 rosés from the event, as well as the full list of the rosés featured.

10. Ca dei Frati, Rosa dei Frati 2012

A pale rosé from the Italy’s small Lugana region in Italy’s Veneto, Ca dei Frati’s rosé is made with Groppello, Marzemino, Sangiovese and Barbera grapes.

It finishes dry but has around 8 g/l residual sugar and an abv of 13%. It retails in the UK for around £14.

9. Pascal Jolivet, Sancerre rosé 2012

Sancerre’s Pascal Jolivet produces this delicate Pinot Noir rosé with a bone dry finish and a relatively light 12% abv.

It sells for around £17 in the UK.

8. Andre Dezat, Sancerre rosé 2012

Like Jolivet and all Sancerre rosés, this pink wine from Andre Dezat is made entirely from Pinot Noir.

Slightly more herbaceous but also a touch more intense and complex than Jolivet’s example, this rosé scored slightly higher.

It’s also slightly cheaper with an rrp of around £14 in the UK.

7. Château de Léoube, Secret de Léobe, 2012

Owned by British entrepreneur Sir Anthony Bamford this Provençal estate produces very pale, delicate, pretty pink wines from Grenache, Cinsault and Cabernet Sauvignon.

It’s top rosé, Le Secret de Léobe, retails for around £20.

6. Chene Bleu rosé 2012

Hailing from the Chene Bleu estate bought by Nicole and Xavier Rolet in 1993 in the foothills of Mont Ventoux, this rosé is made from Syrah and Grenahe and retails for around £20.

5 Domaine Ott Clos Mireille 2012

Clos Mireille is one of Domaine Ott’s estates overlooking the Mediterranean. Pale, delicate and refreshing, this dry rosé from Provence’s most famous pink wine producer is dangerously drinkable.

It retails for around £24.

4 Château Brown rosé 2012

The quality of Château Brown’s first ever pink wine lends weight to estate manager Jean Christophe Mau’s belief that Bordeaux has the ability to produce high-end rosés to rival those made in Provence.

It’s made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot and retails for around £25.

3. Chateau de Sours, La Source Rosé 2012

Bordeaux’s most famous rosé producer, Château de Sours has a top label called La Source, which is used for a pink wine made from Merlot and Cabernet Franc which is partially fermented in oak.

This imparts a delicate creamy character to the wine, making it suitable for pairing with food, although it’s pleasant on its own too.

It retails for around £15 in the UK.

2. Chateau d’Esclans, 2012

One notch down from the Provencal producer’s top wine, the barrel-fermented Garrus, the Chateau d’Esclans rosé does without the overt new oak nuttiness of its £70 big brother.

Instead, this rosé displays a gentle smokiness, fragrant fruit and a wonderfully refreshing finish.

It retails for around £20 in the UK.

1. Chateau Minuty, Rosé et Or, 2012

Château Minuty’s flagship wine is called Rosé et Or and retails for around £18 in the UK. Made primarily from Grenache, but with 5% Syrah, this Provençal rosé is intensely fruity, almost oily in texture, and has a dry, mouthwatering, chalky finish, ensuring it is truly refreshing – which, of course, is crucial for great rosé.

Below are the rosés which featured in the tasting, in the order they were arranged:






Sancerre 2012Andre Dezat13.5% Loire Valley Pinot Noir


Sancerre Rose 2012Pascal Jolivet12.5% Loire Valley Pinot Noir


Domaine de la Mordoree 2012La Dame Rousse Tavel, Rhone14.5% Grenache (60%), SyrahCinsault, Clairette


Prieure de Montezargues 201213% Tavel, Rhone Grenache, Cinsault, Clairette


Chateau de Sours 2012 La Source13% Bordeaux MerlotCabernet Franc


Chateau Brown 201213% Bordeaux Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot


Chateau Pibarnon 201213.5% Bandol Mourvedre, Cinsault


Clos Canarelli 201213% Corse-Figari, Corsica Sciaccarellu, Niellucciu, Grenache


Spy Valley 201113.5% Marlborough, New Zealand Pinot Noir


Teran Rose 2011Gerzinic12% Istria, Croatia Teran


Whispering Angel 2012      13.5%Chateau d’Esclans Cotes de Provence Grenache, Cinsault , Syrah,  Mourvedre, Rolle


Chene Bleu 201213% Ventoux Syrah, Grenache


Domaine de la Source 201214% Bellet Braquet


Chateau Minuty Rose et Or 201213% Cotes de Provence Grenache, Syrah


Domaine Ott Clos Mireille 201212.5% Cotes de Provence Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah


Chateau d’Esclans 201213.5% Cotes de Provence Grenache, Rolle


Turkey Flat 201213% Barossa Valley, Australia Grenache, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Lagrein


Scalabroni Rosato 2010     12%Guado al Tasso Bolgheri, Italy Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah


Secret de Léoube2012     12.5%Chateau de Léoube Cotes de Provence GrenacheCinsaultCabernet Sauvignon


Rosa dei Frati2012     13%Ca dei Frati Lugana, Italy GroppelloMarzeminoSangiovese, Barbera


Rose of Virginia2012      13%Charles Melton Barossa Valley, Australia GrenacheCabernet Sauvignon










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