Rose from Provence: tasting with the eyes
I was recently sent some rosé samples with a Riedel Sommelier Rosé glass. It’s a beautiful piece of ‘stemware’, if a little effete in appearance. In terms of its shape, it’s not an ideal wine tasting glass, but despite this it works pretty well for rosé.
Why? At its best rosé is a good-time wine. And nowhere does it better than Provence, which has unbeatable chic-ness, sunshine and good food, much of it served al fresco. In this sort of setting, rosé makes so much sense, and this is because it’s not just about the taste of what is in the glass.
You can see where I'm going. I guess one of the reasons the Riedel rosé glass is just so right is simply because of aesthetics: part of the key to understanding rosé is understanding its aesthetic appeal. We taste with our eyes, at least to a degree. What we see as we approach a glass of wine shapes our expectation, and our expectation can then, in turn, shape our perception.
Today I was sent a couple of rosé samples, so I pulled out my Riedel glass and gave them a go. These two rosés are both beautiful looking wines, and are nicely presented. They taste good, if not remarkable (it’s hard to find rosés that really stun), but combine this with the visual and emotional elements, and they’re both compelling. Of course, because they come from Provence, they’re probably at least a couple of quid more expensive than wines of equivalent quality from elsewhere, but then nowhere does rosé quite like they do in Provence.
Domaine de la Grande Pallière Rosé 2007 Côtes de Provence, France
This organic rosé is a beautiful pale salmon pink colour. The dominant theme here is fresh strawberry fruit with good acidity and a smooth, luxurious texture. There’s a bit of spicy, bite too. It’s the sort of wine you could quaff without too much though, but if you give it some contemplation, it rewards you with some complexity. 89/100 (£9.95 Nicolas)
Les Maîtres Vignerons de la Presqu’ile de Saint-Tropez Cuvée Carte Noir 2007 Côtes de Provence, France
In a very elegant round-shouldered, tall bottle, this is an attractive salmon pink colour. There’s gentle strawberry fruit here, along with a savoury mineral character and an attractively rounded texture. A stylish, grown-up sort of rosé that’s perfect for a summer’s day, and has the ability to recreate summer if you drink it in another season. 88/100 (£9.50 Nicolas)