Do you remember Mateus Rosé? Here’s to Rosé, Rós, Rosado, even Pink!

Do you remember Mateus Rosé?

Here’s to Rosé, Rós, Rosado, even Pink! 

Back to the rosé theme again, a very pleasant one, for this post. For the past few weeks, I’ve been telling you about various rosés from the South of France, mostly from Provence and the Languedoc. This post we’ll take a taste of two from outside of that country, one from Italy and one from Spain, both imported and distributed by O'Briens Wine.

Did you remember what started you on this style of wine? I can tell you that I started with Mateus Rosé and its unusual flask bottle shape (made an attractive candle holder!). It was at one point the best-selling imported wine in the U.S. market and was indeed very popular here in Ireland a few decades ago, mainly in the 70s. It is still very much on the market and you can buy a bottle for around €10.99 in supermarkets. The Portuguese wine is produced from Baga and Shiraz grapes.

The fact that we have a Spanish one below reminds me of a 2012 trip to Rioja, to the famous wine town of Haro and to the old premises of R. Lopez de Heredia Viña Tondonia in particular. I was taken with their aged whites, the Viña Gravonia Crianza 2002 and the Viña Tondonia Reserva 1996, and bought some of each.

Sampling in Vina Tondonia

But there was still some disappointment when I left. I had been hoping to get their famous Viña Tondonia Rosado Gran Reserva, another aged wine, but there was none available and, because it is not made every year, I was told “none will be available for another year or two”.  The current vintage that is available from the winery (perhaps not in Ireland) as far as I can see is 2011. If you come across it or a later vintage of this rosé do buy a few and include one for meë

Not surprising that you can find rosés all over the wine world. Indeed, many winemakers produce just enough for themselves. Back in 2013, I visited Chateau du Petit Thouars near Chinon. At that point, they had yet to harvest their first Chenin Blanc and every wine they had was produced from Cabernet Franc and that line-up included a very agreeable rosé.

Not quite in the same league, sales wise, as Whispering Angel and its sister Rock Angel (both available from O’Briens) or the many celebrity rosés such as the Bongiovi’s Hampton Water, or bottles from Sarah Jessica Parker, Sting, Kylie Minogue and Drew Barrymore. Rosé’s popularity continues to grow. According to, referencing Nelson data, sales in the US grew by 40% from 2018 to 2019.


Pasqua “11 minutes” Rosé Trevenezie (IGT) 2020, €14.21 (18.95), O'Briens Wine.

Quite a mix of local and international grapes in this delicious Pasqua Rosé from Verona. The name refers to the minutes of skin contact (which give the wine its delicate and subtle colour, aromas and overall style). Just under the “11 Minutes” I noted these words Odi et Amo. Not Italian but Latin and meaning “I hate and I love”. I wonder why the three words have such a prominent position!

I brought a magnum to a back-garden party and four of the five present gave it a big thumbs up; the fifth started and stayed with the beer! It was our first little get together since the recent lockdown ended so there was more talk than note-taking. 

The pale, very pale, salmon colour was the first talking point. Also mentioned around the table were the beautiful (if mild) aromas on the nose. The fine fruity (strawberry, raspberry) flavours as well, along with the refreshing acidity and the pleasing dry and crisp finish, also drew the kudos.

Hiding in plain sight..
Think I’ll now let the vineyard have its say: “The Corvina varietal, which dominates in terms of percentage, was chosen for the floral aromas as well as the significant acidity it gives to the wine. Trebbiano brings elegance and a long finish; Syrah gives fine fruit and spice notes to the glass and finally, Carménère creates structure, ensuring stability over time. This a fresh, enveloping rosé with an intense and complex bouquet, created to accompany spring or summer evenings and more.”

This relatively new rosé interpretation by Famiglia Pasqua has been much awarded, including a recent 91 points from Decanter. Served chilled, between 10 and 12°C, it is ideal as an aperitif and as an accompaniment to the most delicate dishes (eg salad, fish and white meat)

You will notice a circular opening on the front label and if you look that bit harder you will see a classical lady seemingly in the body of the wine. The technique is not unique in the industry but can be quite a talking point. No magic here, though. The head and shoulders you are seeing is on the inside of the back label.

Rós Rosado Navarra (DO) 2020, 14.5%, €12.71 (€16.95)
O'Briens Wine

The darkest, and the strongest, of my recent set of six O’Briens rosés is a Spanish-Irish cooperation. All the info is given, very concisely, on the back label. The two words to note most are Alicia and Lynne. 

Alicia and Lynne are the wine-makers, Alicia from Tandem and Lynne from O’Brien Wines. Lynne is the Wine Director at O’Briens and made this rosé with Alicia Eyaralar, founder and wine-maker at Tandem (not to far from Pamplona in Navarra). It is an ongoing partnership. I’m quite happy to admit to having a grá for the wines of Tandem, many of which are available from O’Briens.

The is produced from Garnacha grapes grown in sustainably farmed vineyards in the cooler Yerri Valley close to the Pyrenees and the Atlantic Ocean. After hand-picking and a short skin maceration, the grapes are fermented using wild vineyard yeasts and a minimal intervention regime follows in the winery. 

Colour is a deepish rose, with orange hints. Strawberry and raspberry on the nose and those summer fruits also feature in a most pleasant way on the dry and crisp palate. Indeed, this is one of the most flavoursome rosés on the market. Pretty decent finish too. If you don’t fancy anaemic looking and weak tasting rosés, then try Rós from the other end of the spectrum.

Handy wine to have in the house these days. Excellent as an aperitif and welcome for sure at the summer table in the garden. 

This is the selection or rosés that are reduced by 25% by O’Briens Wine:

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

Previous posts covered four of the selection of samples. You’ll find the reviews on the Gairoird and the Bertrand here, those on the Laurent Miquel and JM Cazes here.