Rosé Season Declared Open. O'Briens Wine celebrate with twenty five per cent off!

 O'Briens Wine Declare Rosé Season Open. 

And celebrate with twenty five per cent off!

To celebrate the season, O'Briens Wine have 25% off a selected range of rosé wines, from elegant Provence to rich Cabernet d'Anjou, and glorious Grenache to South African Pinotage. “Our award-winning rosé wine range offers diverse wine styles, grape varieties and countries with something for all tastes and budgets.”

But nothing from Tavel! Ten years ago, I drove into the small southern Rhone town under a banner declaring: “Tavel. Best Rosé in France.” I was delighted to be there and enjoyed sampling the wines, the rosés (only rosés in this appellation). The first one I tasted was no less than 14% abv.

A 2019 article in Wine Spectator declared that Tavel was about rosé before rosé was cool and went on to point out that it has fallen down the pecking order with the lighter coloured Provence equivalents (rarely as dark or as strong as their Tavel rivals), in their ever fancier bottles, now heading the list of desirable pinks! And that seems to be true here in Ireland. No Tavel on the extensive O’Briens list! And no shortage of bottles from Provence. Nor the Languedoc which follows the Provence model.

We love the arrival of the new rosé wine vintages in O'Briens, as it heralds the imminent beginning of summer and al fresco dining in the garden. Once again the O’Briens Wine buying team have been busy sourcing the finest rosés from boutique and family-run wineries around the world.”

Laurent Miquel “Alaina” Rosé Languedoc (AOP) 2020, 12.5% abv, €12.71 (16.95). 

Colour is a delicate pink,  a result of the brief skin contact with the red Syrah, Grenache and Cinsault grapes in the blend. Aromas too are delicate, barely a tickle of red berries. It comes stirringly fresh (night-time harvesting a factor) on the palate, strawberry flavours and a refreshing acidity give it an unexpected power that softly purrs its way to a lengthy finish. Refreshing and dry, my first rosé of the current season is highly recommended.

This is produced in the Languedoc by Laurent Miquel and his Irish wife Neasa. They say: From the sun-drenched terrace, we love watching our daughter Alaina playing in this magical place. She enjoys the breeze from the wildflower fields, listening to the cicada’s singing and skipping stones across the lake. Join us for a promenade that epitomises the South of France.

Château Auzines is nestled on a plateau at 350m altitude. The wines produced here express the character of the terroir. Warm, sunny days and relatively cold nights, coupled with surrounding aromatic garrigue (scrubland) plants, impart a distinctive set of flavours to the wines.

Food: Much rosé is sipped as an aperitif and this fits that bill easily. But you’ll find that salads, chicken and sea fruit also go well with this. Try it also with ethnic dishes, Thai and Japanese for example. Serving temperature is between 12 and 14°C.

JM Cazes L’Ostal Rosé Pays D’Oc (IGT) 2020, 12.5% abv, €11.96 (15.95) 

This dry crisp rosé also comes from the Languedoc, between Carcassonne and Narbonne. Colour is a pale version of rosé. Aromas are delicate, pomegranate and strawberry, and rose petals. And you get much the same combination on the palate with strawberries taking more of a leading role in the flavours. It is subtle, light and fresh all the way to the finish. A pleasant and refreshing drink that could well play a supporting role both before and during the BBQ (hope we’ll have lots of them this summer!).

Virtually every wine area in France has its own rosé and I certainly enjoyed a few in the long evenings at our gite (owned by Madame Garrigue by the way) in Nevian (just outside Narbonne) a few years back. More recently I was staying in Arcachon. The enclosed waters here produce oysters by the tonne and it’s terrific to call in to one of the producers on the way back from a day out where ten euro or so will buy you a plateful along with bread. 

You just pull up at the fisherman’s hut and order your plate. A glass of wine is included of course and I got a surprise when our man asked if I wanted white or pink. Think it was the first, and only, time that I’ve heard a Frenchman use pink for rosé! That pink was certainly dry enough for the oysters and this more worthy L’Ostal would easily carry off that role.

The Domaine de L’Ostal, with vineyards sloping up to 150 metres in altitude, is situated in one of the finest terroirs of the Languedoc region. The Lynch-Bages family,  who own estates in many areas, are perhaps best-known for their wines from Pauillac in Bordeaux.  From 1749 to 1824, that vineyard was owned by Thomas Lynch, the son of an Irishman from Galway who worked as a merchant in Bordeaux. 

* Plan to have another post or two on rosé over the next few weeks.

Here is the list of rosés on reduction for the summer (or until they're gone!):

Revino PostCard Organic Pinot Grigio 2020 Veneto €11.96 

Delheim Pinotage 2020 Stellenbosch €10.46

Petit Bourgeois Pinot Noir 2019/20 €11.96 Loire Valley

Langlois Rosé D’Anjou 2020 €11.96 Loire Valley

Pasqua 11 Minutes 2020 €14.21 Veneto

Laurent Miquel Les Auzines Alaina €12.71 Languedoc Roussillon

MiMi en Provence Grande Réserve 2020 €14.96 Côtes de Provence

Gérard Bertrand Côte des Roses 2020 €14.21 Languedoc Roussillon

Famille Bougrier 2020 €10.46 Loire Valley

Domaine L’Ostal 2020 €11.96 Languedoc Roussillon

Château de Gairoird 2020 €14.21 Côtes de Provence

Rós Rosé 2020 €12.71 Navarra

Passe Colline Rosé Ventoux 2020 €11.21 Rhone