Debunking a few rosé myths

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I was asked recently by my new friends (and Mirabeau stockists) CellarVie Wines whether I would answer a few questions about rosé. So here are their questions and my answers…

Myth: All rosé is sweet.

The truth: No so, in fact most rosés are dry and Provence rosés have to be dry in order to qualify for the Appellation (AOC) status. There are medium and sweet rosés but these generally come from the US and are known as ‘Blush’ wines (although they are becoming less popular these days as people trade up to more complex, dry rosés) .

Myth: Rose wines are not very compatible with food.

The truth: The opposite in fact. Rosé wines, in particular Provence rosés, are some of the most versatile wines around. They have enough character not to be overwhelmed by most foods and the acidity to cut through the flavours and in particular salt. Mirabeau goes well with a large variety of food; salads, seafood, BBQs, chicken and even a lot of Asian cuisine.

Myth: Rosé wines are blends of white and red wines

The truth: Extremely rarely. Most rosés are made from red grapes and with limited contact with the grapes skins, the colour turns pink. The more time in contact with the skins, the darker the rosé. Some wines are white and red blended, but these are rare and forbidden in Provence.

Myth: Colour equals quality

The truth: It’s not as simple as that. There are dark and pale rosés that are good and bad. However, if the rosé is very orange in colour this is usually a sign that the wine is beginning to oxidise.

Myth: Screw cap equals cheap wine.

The truth: The type of closure for a wine is rarely an indicator of quality (unless the wine is closed using the rubber corks that are impossible to get back in the bottle). The French don’t like screw caps – but that’s because they don’t have much exposure to them. The majority of New Zealand and Australian wines are closed with screw cap (up to the very highest quality levels) and screw cap is the best technical closure for rosé wine (and in fact most white and many reds too).

Myth: Rosé does not age well.

The truth: This is generally true. Rosé is made to be consumed within the first year or two of production. A few are made to be aged but these are very rare.

Myth: Rosé can only be enjoyed during the summer.

The truth: As rosé is such a versatile wine (as both aperitif and a food wine) it should be enjoyed all year round. In France rosé wine is far more an all-year round wine and in fact the French drink more of it than white wine. But there is no denying that rosé somehow tastes especially lovely in the sun!

Myth: Rosé wines don’t not merit higher appreciation.

The truth: Rosé wine has undergone a massive change over the past decade in terms of winemaking techniques and perception and some of the best rosés can command high prices (up to £80-100 a bottle in some cases). If you were to taste some of the best rosés blind, you would be blown away with their complexity.

Myth: Real men don’t drink rosé.

The truth: Come on – get real. Do real men wear cologne or products for their hair? Can real men cook? Provence rosé is made from some of the best red grapes in the world (Grenache, Syrah etc) and just because we don’t extract all the tannin and colour doesn’t make the drinker any less of a man. Besides, I drink rosé (but then again I also eat quiche and cry in movies – so maybe I’m a bad example). One day Mirabeau will sponsor the England rugby team – that might change perceptions!

Stephen Cronk
The author: Stephen Cronk

I became captivated with the world of wine whilst on a visit to the Barossa Valley during my gap year in Australia. I went on to join a London wine merchant and studied wine for several years before starting my own wine business at 24. I sold the business aged 30 and went into Telecoms for 15 years, during which time I began cooking up the plan to create Mirabeau.

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