Eleven remarkable rosés for fine wine lovers

For a long time there’s been a sense that rosé is too frivolous for fine wine lovers, who should go in search of great white Burgundies or cru classé Bordeaux blanc when looking for cold refreshment. Well, not any more, and we’ve rounded up 11 pink wines for connoisseurs.

In fact, one can trace the emergence of the fine rosé category back to 2006 with the launch of a Provençal pink from Château d’Esclans, called Garrus. Made by gifted former Mouton-Rothschild winemaker, the late Patrick Léon, and fermented and aged in new French oak barriques like a top-end Chardonnay, it re-wrote the rules for rosé, which had previously been made in neutral vessels – primarily stainless steel vats – to create something fresh, light, and for immediate consumption.

After all, why should the wine’s colour dictate the winemaking methods? Bearing in mind the beneficial influence of oak and lees on fine whites and reds, surely they would augment a pink wine too?

Well, as Garrus proved, it is quite possible to marry the ripe juicy fruit of Grenache grown in the warmth of a Mediterranean climate with the vanillin flavours from fine-textured French barrels.

Not only that, but create a rosé that can be drunk on release, and be cellared like any great wine, so that its flavours could slowly evolve in the bottle, and take on a greater array of characters.

And, once Château d’Esclans had made the pink wine like a great white, Garrus was given a price tag to match – it retails for £120 today, and has spawned a new category of luxury rosés, including a niche club of £100+ bottles.

Fast forward to the present, and, as proved by the 2020 Rosé Masters, there is now a wide range of options should you want to drink barrel-influenced pink wine, with some of them at surprisingly accessible prices.

Leading the charge in this is still Château d’Esclans, but others have successfully joined the movement, in particular the Languedoc star winemaker Gérard Bertand, who has made fine rosé a specialism for his southern French operation – and is currently the producer of the world’s priciest pink wine.

But these two are not alone in this endeavour, with great oak-aged rosés in this list hailing from Italy, New Zealand and Spain – although the latter has an established reputation for such a style, albeit in a rather more traditional approach (as still employed by Rioja’s López de Heredia, whose Viña Tondonia Gran Reserva Rosado is released after many years maturing in barrel).

Now, before we reveal our top 10 rosés for fine wine lovers, it should be noted that all the wines below are complex, structured styles of pink wine with varying degrees of oak-influence, from the barely perceptible to the obviously toasty and creamy in style.

All these wines have been made for drinking now, but do have the potential to cellar for consuming in three to five year’s time.

However, I should also add that there are fine rosés made without any barrel-influence that can also be cellared to deliver a delicious result, such as, for example, the pink wines from Domaine Tempier in Bandol.

Finally, I should stress that the following rosé recommendations for fine wine collectors have all been taken from this year’s Global Rosé Masters, which saw almost 200 wines assessed without any knowledge as to source region or producer – and please click here to see the results from the competition in full.

So, if you think you deserve a place on this list, please visit The Global Masters website for more information, and, to enter future competitions, please call: +44 (0) 20 7803 2420 or email Sophie Raichura at: sophie@thedrinksbusiness.com

5 Responses to “Eleven remarkable rosés for fine wine lovers”

  1. Vicent says:

    I think this article is sponsored by Chateau d’esclan and Gerard Betrand 🙂
    It lacks diveristy

  2. Patrick Schmitt says:

    Dear Vincent,
    This article is not sponsored. The wines were selected by me from the top-scoring wines among the oak-influenced still rosés from the 2020 Global Rosé Masters – and you can see the results in full here. https://www.thedrinksbusiness.com/2020/06/the-global-rose-masters-2020-results-and-highlights/
    To make the cut for this selection, the wine had to feature in the competition, which is a blind tasting, and gain a silver medal or above. And while the list is dominated by rosés from Chateau d’Esclans and Gerard Bertrand that is because these are the two leading producers of fine, barrel-fermented rosé.
    Best wishes

  3. Shaun Mattingley says:

    Why do you not mention – anywhere – the fantastic rosés from Switzerland? From gamay or/and pinot noir, I certainly prefer them to anything from Italy, Spain and to most French. Try a Dole Blanche or Oeil de Perdrix and think about mentioning them. Of course very little is exported but you can it if you try hard enough.

  4. Patrick Schmitt says:

    Thanks Shaun for the suggestion, but to my knowledge the rosés you mention from Switzerland are not fermented/aged in barrels.

  5. Dennis says:

    Yes, I agree to the narrowness of the selection of Rosé, one would think that Provence is the only place Rosé is made, not even aware of the richly styled Southern Italian Rosé from Negro Amaro, Cerasuolo from Montepulciano and blends from Puglia & Campania can be complex and delightful. Rather sad

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