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How Bordeaux is becoming a serious player in fine rosé

Provence may be home to the big brands and celebrities, but Bordeaux is gradually becoming a serious player when it comes to crafting fine, dry rosé.

After eight years of chairing The Global Rosé Masters, I’ve witnessed a gradual rise in the number of fine pink wines from Bordeaux in the competition, and this year, one of the highest-scoring rosés in the £15-20 category was from this part of France.

Called Diane by Jacques Lurton, it was a delicious pale pink, dry rosé with lovely ripe peach and pear fruit, and a touch of citrus giving plenty of freshness, which complemented a generous, creamy taste and texture in the wine.

Because it was tasted blind – that is with no knowledge as to the source – the rosé was assessed for its quality alone, and in fact bettered a number of wines in its category that were from Provence, including some well-known brands.

This rosé is a new addition to Les Vignobles André Lurton, and hailed from the 2020 vintage. It uses Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and a touch of white grape Sémillon in the blend, and retails for £15 in the UK, putting it up against a number of Provençal rosés, from Mirabeau to Aix, although the Bordeaux rosé is a little cheaper than Whispering Angel and even the entry-point wine from Domaines Ott, called By Ott.

Bordeaux is also busy at the top-end of the pale dry rosé pyramid, with Pessac-Léognan’s Château Brown a long-time master of fine pink wines, using oak barriques in the winemaking process to add an extra layer of creamy, toasty complexity to the ripe berry fruit, similar to the style found in the top end rosés of Château d’Esclans and Gérard Bertrand (with Garrus and Clos du Temple respectively).

Newer to the scene of luxury pinks is Saint-Emilion’s Clos Cantenac, which last year launched Elégance Rosé from the 2019 harvest. It’s a textured, creamy rosé that sees the Merlot used to make it fermented and aged in a 700-litre concrete ‘egg’.

Retailing for around £40, it’s pricy, and small production, with just 600 bottles and 100 magnums produced, although there is a cheaper alternative from Clos Cantenac, called L’Exubérance, which sells for £20.

The wines are made by Charlotte Krajewski, who is the daughter of Martin Krajewski, who owned Château de Sours – a Bordeaux property that’s famous for its rosé – until he sold the estate to Jack Ma of Alibaba fame in 2015.

Finally, if you are looking for an entry-point price-wise to the pale dry rosé market, then don’t forget the Languedoc.

As previously reported on by the drinks business, this region abuts Provence, and has a similar climate and soils, but, with a much larger area of vineyards, and fewer regulations, it is able to produce rosés of a similar style and quality to its famous neighbour, but at lower prices.

The results in full from 2021’s Global Rosé Masters will appear in the July edition of the drinks business, out next week, while below is some detail about the class-leading sample from Bordeaux.

  • Wine: Diane by Jacques Lurton
  • Producer: Les Vignobles André Lurton
  • Country: France
  • Region: Bordeaux
  • Vintage: 2020
  • Grape variety: Merlot: 38, Cabernet Sauvignon: 55, Sémillon: 7
  • Residual sugar: 2g/l
  • UK retail price: £15
  • Medal: Gold – The Global Rosé Masters 2021
  • The taste: A pale salmon pink rosé with plenty of juicy peach and pear fruit, a creamy taste and oily texture, and then a persistent, refreshing zesty, grapefruit and lemon finish.

Click here to find out more about The Global Wine Masters. 

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