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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.

chene bleu rose1 = Chêne Bleu, 2013 (£15)
1 = Château d’Esclans – Domaines Sacha Lichine, 2013 (£23)
3 = Domaine Tempier, 2012 (£24)
3 = Domaines Ott Clos Mireille, 2013 (£30)
5 = Garrus – Domaines Sacha Lichine, 2012 (£60)
5 = Château Sainte Marguerite Cuvée M, 2012 (£20)
7 = Domaine de Terrebrune, 2012 (£22)
7 = Les Clans – Domaines Sacha Lichine, 2012 (£50)
7= Miraval, 2013 (£20)
7 = M de Minuty, 2013 (£15)
7 = Château de Leoube, 2013 (£16)

Although outside the top 11, high-scoring wines for db that weren’t from the Provence area were the Château de Sours ‘La Source’ 2012, and Chivite Finca de Villatuerta Rosado 2013.

The full list of wines in the tasting is below, including their varietal composition:

Wine Vintage Country / Region Grape Varieties Price
Albury Silent Pools Rose 2013 Surrey, England Pinot Noir 14.00
Artadi Artazuri Garnacha Rose 2013 Navarra Garnacha 11.30
Biondi-Santi Rosato di Toscana “Greppo” 2010 Tuscany, Italy Sangiovese
Chateau Brown 2013 Pessac-Leognan, France Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot 25.00
Chateau d’Aqueria 2012 Tavel, France Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, Clairette 16.50
Chateau de Leoube 2013 Provence, France Grenache, Cinsault, Mourvedre, Syrah 16.00
Chateau de Leoube Secret de Leoube 2013 Provence, France Grenache, Cinsault, Cabernet Sauvignon 21.00
Chateau de Sours “La Source” 2012 Bordeaux, France Merlot, Cabernet Franc 14.50
Chateau d’Esclans Dom Sacha Lichine 2013 Provence, France Grenache, Rolle 22.95
Chateau Sainte Marguerite Cuvee M 2012 Provence, France Grenache, Cinsault, Mourvedre 20.00
Chene Bleu 2013 Ventoux Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault 15.00
Chivite Colleccion 125 Rosado 2011 Navarra Tempranillo, Garnacha 13.99
Chivite Finca de Villatuerta Rosado 2013 Navarra Garnacha 28.99
Dom Ste Lucie Made in Provence Classic 2013 Provence, France Cinsault, Grenache, Syrah 11.95
Dom Ste Lucie Made in Provence Premium 2013 Provence, France Vermentino, Grenache, Syrah 14.95
Domaine de Terrebrune 2012 Bandol, France Mourvedre, Grenache, Cinsault 22.50
Domaine des Diables Rose Bonbon 2013 Provence, France Cinsault, Syrah 13.95
Domaine Sainte Lucie L’Hydropathe 2013 Provence, France Syrah, Grenache 15.95
Domaine Tempier 2012 Provence, France Cinsault, Grenache, Carignan, Mourvedre 23.95
Domaines Ott Clos Mireille 2013 Provence, France Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah 30.00
Les Clans Domaines Sacha Lichine 2012 Provence, France Grenache, Rolle 49.00
Garrus Domaines Sacha Lichine 2012 Provence, France Grenache, Rolle 60.00
M de Minuty 2013 Provence, France Grenache, Syrah 14.99
Miraval 2013 Provence, France Cinsault, Grenache, Syrah, Rolle 20.00
Rimauresq 2012 Provence, France Grenache, Cinsault, Tibouren 13.00
Sancerre Rose Chavignol, Dom Laporte 2013 Loire, France Pinot Noir 16.50
Sella Majoli Rosato 2012 Piemonte, Italy Nebbiolo 16.75
Skillogalee Cabernet Malbec Rose 2012 Clare Valley, Australia Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec 14.00
Takatu Rose 2013 Matakana, New Zealand Cabernet Franc, Merlot 17.50
Turkey Flat 2013 Barossa, Australia Grenache, Shiraz, Cabernet, Dolcetto £14.00
Whispering Angel 2013 Provence, France Grenache, Rolle, Cinsault, Syrah, Tibouren 16.95

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