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Top 10 serious rosé wines

Rosé is a category often unfairly and unjustly thought of as just a bit of fun, but with sales booming is one which should be taken seriously.

From pale pink to wannabe red, rosés are often quaffed with gleeful abandon; quaffed but not appreciated, rarely swirled nor sniffed nor slurped.

For as much as most of us like a glass of blush, rosé has a bum rap. It’s great chilled on a hot day, its a thirst quencher.

But attitudes are changing with rosé wines finally getting the respect they deserve.

The category has been booming in recent years with sales of Provence rosé magnums in the UK alone set to double this year. 

While Majestic reported recently that sales of its Provençal rosé had grown by by 84% last year with the UK wine merchant now claiming to hold a 47% market share of the category in the UK.

In reflection of its increasing popularity, the drinks business launched its first Global Rosé Masters this week taking rosé wines from across the world to be judged by an expert panel, the results of which will be published shortly.

But for now, take a look at which rosé wines are currently getting UK and US wine writers’ and critics’ tongues wagging, in no particular order.

Scroll through to see some of the rosé wines which should be taken seriously…

Joseph Mellot Sancerre Rosé ‘Le Rabault’ (Loire Valley, France)

With the bulk of Sancerre being Sauvignon Blanc, the 20% made with Pinot Noir is often overlooked. There’s the typically light, red fruit dominated Sancerre Rouge but also a pale rose made in the style of Beaujolais through carbonic maceration where fermentation occurs inside individual berries.

The Mellot wine dynasty stretches back five centuries to 1513 and the rosé is given the same standard of treatment in the winery as the whites and reds.

Writing for, Julia Harding gives the 2013 a score of 16/20 and describes it as, “Pretty, pale orangey pink. Mix of red fruit and some estery fermentation aromas. Mouthwatering, dry first impression and taking a careful path between fruit and finesse. Good length but just a slight note of candy at the very end.”

How much?  £14.99 Mcdonald Wine Store

Why so serious? Back in 1698, then patriarch César Mellot, was responsible for advising King Louis on what to drink. Now that’s kudos!

Lopez de Heredia Rosado ‘Viña Tondonia’ (Rioja, Spain)

The opposite of Sancerre, Rioja tends to be known for it’s reds more so than for it’s much lower production of whites. Then there’s the Rioja Rosado, straddling the fence between the two by often blending the key red grape, Tempranillo, with it’s white equivalent Viura amongst others. It’s an even rarer beast.

Rarer, and in this case, a bit left field. The current vintage of this rosé is the 2000. It’s from Lopez de Heredia, one of the longest established and most traditional of the Rioja producers.

The wine is made of Tempranillo, Garnacha and Viura. It’s aged in oak for four and a half years before ten years of cellaring in the bottle. That makes the current release 14 years old!

Anthony Rose had this to say about the 2000: “From the delicious to the fabulous, the amber-hued 2000 Viña Tondonia Rosado Gran Reserva, Bodegas R López de Heredia, Berry Bros & Rudd, is unique, savory, with aromatics of rose and cloves and superb berry fruit, this Garnacha/Tempranillo blend is one of the most deliciously distinctive Rioja rosés you’ll ever come across.”

How much?  Approximately £22 N/A UK

Why so serious? The current vintage is older than Facebook and far more respecting of your privacy.

Domaine Bruno Clair Marsannay Rosé (Burgundy, France)

Anyone who’s sat through an introductory wine course will be able to tell you that if it’s from Burgundy its either Chardonnay for whites, or Pinot Noir for reds but there are the odd exceptions including Marsannay Rosé.

The only village level wine in Burgundy allowed to produce a rosé, Marsannay producers are permitted to use both Pinot Noir and Gamay with Bruno Clair using 100% Pinot Noir in this case. Through the ‘saigneé’ or ‘bleed’ method the grapes are left on their skins for around 48 hours to give just a hint of colour, but don’t dare call them blush!

Jancis Robinson described the 2009 as: “In Pinot Noir’s homeland of Burgundy, compelling rosés are thin on the ground, and usually rather thin on the palate too – but Bruno Clair’s pink Marsannay is a perennial exception and Dom Bruno Clair 2009 Marsannay manages to be a fruity, dry and well-preserved exception – perhaps because of the intensity of the 2009 vintage in Burgundy. Very fruity Pinot nose. Nicely dry on the end with really Burgundian fruit in the middle. Very correct and very different from the great mass of rosés.”

How much?  £112/12 IB at Justerini and Brooks

Why so serious? One day it’ll come up in a pub quiz, a posh pub quiz.

Chateau Miraval Rosé (Provence, France)

You’ve heard of this wine even if you don’t think you have. This wine is what happens when you take one of France’s most renowned wine-makers, Marc Perrin of Beaucastel, and two people who’ve been in a couple of movies, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, and they release a wine together.

It’s traditional Provencal pink blend of Cinsault, Grenache and Rolle and came in at number 84 in Wine Spectator’s list of the top 100 wines of 2013, the only rosé to make the list.

It was described as such on Steven Tanzer ‘s International Wine Cellar as: “Pale orange. Fresh tangerine, strawberry and white flowers on the fragrant, mineral-accented nose.  Silky and precise, offering tangy red fruit flavors that are lifted and sharpened by a white pepper nuance.  Finishes clean, nervy and long, with excellent clarity and lingering minerality. This suave wine has the power to work with rich foods and the energy to give pleasure by itself.”

How much? The 2013 is available at Planet of the Grapes for £21.50 or £200 for 12 whereas its $US139.00 on eBay stateside, where it hasn’t yet been released!

Why so serious? As close as most of us will come to Brangelina. Ever.

6. Chateau Brown Rosé (Graves, France)

The Graves in Bordeaux isn’t necessarily known for its pinks but this one deserved a place on our list for managing to take a potentially bruising, grippy Bordeaux and tame it for Summer.

From Pessac-Léognan on the very cusp of Bordeaux proper, Sarah Ahmed aka The Wine detective gave it 18/20 and this review: “I can understand why the oak would not appeal to some but this deep pink perfumed rosé, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, had a brisk and bright concentration of blackcurrant fruit beneath. An attractive lick of woodspice brought lift to its precise, firm finish. Trés Bordeaux.”

Will Lyons followed up by including it in his top 10 roses saying: “A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot, this Bordeaux wine was the first in the tasting lineup that caught my attention. It has a robust style with a spicy kick and some exquisite red fruit.”

How much?  2012 vintage is £33.40 at Hedonism Wines

Why so serious? If Bordelaise rose isn’t serious, what is?

Charles Melton Rose ‘Rose of Virginia’ (Barossa Valley, Australia)

Australian wines aren’t generally know to be pushovers and this example from one of the Barossa Valley’s leading producers, Charles Melton, is no exception.

Made predominantly from Grenache, you can tell just by looking at it in the bottle that its nothing like its contemporaries from Provence.

Once described by Anthony Rose as: “Australia’s best rosé.” The Australian Wine Companion by James Halliday gave it 95/100 points and described it as: “Vivid crimson; fragrant spiced plum aromas lead into a palate stacked with fruit flavour without sacrificing finesse and focus; a simply delicious blend.”

How much? The 2013 is £17.39 through

Why so serious? Rosé to put hairs on your chest

 Goldeneye Vin Gris of Pinot Noir (Anderson Valley, California, US)

Honestly, the name caught my eye then, after a little digging, I came to realise this was serious stuff.

Done in the same way as the Marsannay earlier on the list, or ‘saignee’ style, the wine is left on it’s skins for less than a day to extract enough colour to set it much closer to white than red.

Andre Gayot had this to say about the 2011 on “Their Vin Gris of Pinot Noir showcases the lighter side of the famously delicate Burgundian varietal. On the nose, it displays fragrant aromas of ruby red grapefruit, strawberry and watermelon. In the mouth, the wine is crisp and acidic, yet balanced by a slight sweetness.”

How much?  US$28, N/A UK

Why so serious? FOX News says its serious and you’re not allowed to disagree with FOX, are you?

Vie di Romans Pinot Grigio ‘Dessimus’ (Friuli, Italy)

This one is a bit cheeky, it wouldn’t normally be considered a true rose. But Pinot Grigio is, as the name implies, while not grey exactly, is certainly closer to red than white and, when left for a bit longer on its skins, takes on a distinct copper hue.

It’s pretty punchy for a ‘rosé’, sitting at around 14.5%abv, but it lends itself to aging in bottle more so than most on this list.

Wiring for, Richard Heming gives the 2007 vintage 17.5/20 pints and describes it as: “Fresh with lots of toffee/cream/dairy. Very generous, textured, full body, with caramel flavours that dominate on the finish plus a core of dense fruit.”

How much?  2012 is available from for £27.95

Why so serious? Grab a bottle of this and trick your favorite wine geek.

Domaine Ott Rosé ‘Château Mireille’ (Provence, France)

To my knowledge this was the first of the ‘Prestige’ or ‘Super’ Rosé’s to appear.

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Tim Lyons agrees: “One of France’s greatest rosés, this sits in the glass with a pale peach color and has a fairly restrained nose. The appeal of this Provence wine is its polished, creamy texture and balanced acidity and dry finish-what good rosé is all about.”

It’s certainly been around a while. Marcel Ott, the founder, arrived in the late 1890’s and, following the destruction wreaked by Phylloxera, started to replant several vineyards in Provence. The Mireille vineyard went into production in 1936.

The wine is made with a combination of Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah.

How much? £38.50 from Harrods

Why so serious? With a couple of bottles of this you’ll forget you don’t own a yacht.

Sacha Lichine, Chateau D’Esclans ‘Garrus’ (Provence, France)

In 2006 Domaines Sacha Lichine were already producing some pretty serious rosé when they embarked upon their project ‘Garrus’.

Made with Grenache and Rolle grapes harvested from 80 year old vines before maturation in oak the Garrus is as serious as they come.

But don’t take my word for it, here’s what some of the top critics had to say:

James Suckling: “Lasts a long time on the palate and takes off on the finish,

Matthew Jukes: “One of the finest rosés I have tasted in my life. It is as near to perfection as I have tasted, 19/20.”

Robert Parker: “This estate in the Côtes de Provence produces dazzling rosés.”

Jancis Robinson: “Best rosé in the world? I’m impressed.”

Tom Stevenson : “I was blown away.”

Anthony Dias Blue (Patterson’s Tasting Panel Magazine): “Achieving cult status.”

Richard Nalley (Forbes): “Takes rosé to a level it has never been before.”

How much?  If you have to ask you can’t afford it (£99.95 from Harrods)

Why so serious? Have you been listening?

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