Rosé Round-up 2023 - Tom Cannavan

Rosé Round-up 2023 - Tom Cannavan

Minuty, M de Minuty Special Edition Rosé 2022
Provence, France, Dry Rosé, Cork, 13.0% abv
Tasted here is a special edition in an extravagent livery of flowers and berries, the bottle painted by Swedish artist Hanna KL. It's a selection of the best fruit from both coastal and interior vineyards of the Côtes de Provence. Minuty produce one of the lightest and delicate styles, the fruit pretty and refined, dry berry flavours and bright lemony highlights in a wine with the clarity of a of running mountain stream. This doesn't have the fruit depth and concentration of some of the other Provence rosés, but that's the style: some will find it too anodyne, but chilled well it does summon up those salt-licked breezes as if sipping it by the Med. £19.95 when bought by the half dozen.

Château d’Esclans, Les Clans Rosé 2021
Provence, France, Dry Rosé, Cork, 14.0% abv
Like it's 'big brother', the Garrus cuvée, this is where rosé gets serious, for me having more in common with quality white Burgundy than generic pinks. From a very careful selection of grapes, only the free run juice is vinified in 600-litre oak barrels for a full 11 months, with lees stirring twice weekly. Indeed, that's a winemaking recipe that would be familiar for white Burgundy too. Certainly, that sheen of almond and oatmeal is luxurious and subtle in this very pale wine, the fruit only hinting a small, intense red berries while lemon joins the picture. On the palate it is generous and creamy, but the sweet intensity of the fruit powers through. There is a little nip of tannin, but the concentration of fruit and acidity is what drives the long, dry, gastronomic finish. This and Garrus really are a different take on rosé.

Château d’Esclans, Garrus Rosé 2021
Provence, France, Dry Rosé, Cork, 14.5% abv
Garrus must, I suspect, blow the minds of some tasters. It's enough trying to get ones head around a rosé that sells for more than £100 per bottle, but this wine is also anything but 'showy'. Instead, this blend of Grenache and Vermentino is subtle, restrained and intellectual. It seems obvious that the ambition of Sacha Lichine of Château d’Esclans is to create a pink wine with the qualities of a fine white Burgundy: vines are 100 years old, and the wine is fermented and aged 10 months in 100% new oak - though the the barrels are big 600-litre 'demi-muids', so there no overt 'oakiness' on either nose or palate. Instead, intense and concentrated small red berry fruits mingle with firm lemon and ripe apple, a minerality at the core of the aroma giving a strict but inviting character. In the mouth this is so youthful and will surely improve over a decade or more, though for now it is deliciously powerful and yet linear and taut. Those small red berry flavours ease into gentle spice, with the subtlest oak creaminess and plenty of shimmering acidity.
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