Up from the Cellar #5

This tasting in my mind was going to be perfect for this time of year. Unfortunately, the United Kingdom's weather struck again and it hasn’t stopped raining since June. So let us imagine that we are sitting outside in our gardens with the weather at a nice 27 degrees. Not too hot but just about right with a cooling breeze. Now imagine that next to your chair, on your table, is a bottle cooling bag or mechanism (whatever takes your fancy!). You sit up and pull the bottle out of the bag, it’s nicely chilled, you pour it, sit back and take a sip of a lovely glass of rosé.

Yes! We did a rosé tasting for the summer that was hopefully going to be glorious and lovely. Instead we got the usual inconsistency that comes with living in Britain… oh well! Like true brits we cracked on anyway and did the tasting for you. So we have 4 rosés for you in this article, all are from the Provence region because let’s be honest that is the most well-known region for rosé wine (and it's extremely good!). They are all at differing price points so I do feel like there is a rosé for everyone here.

So a bit of background about the wineries that we have chosen:

Domaine La Fourmone is situated right in between Gigondas and Vacqueyras just off the D8 main road. The walls around the estate date back to 1765 as it was originally a farm. In 1910 the Combe family took the reins and started producing wine. Now 5 generations later and they are producing some great quality wines at very affordable prices. Their Burlet Rosé that we included in this tasting has been my favourite rosé for a very long time. Their Vacqueyras and Gigondas reds are very good wines that are always reviewed well by top wine critics and their white Vacqueyras is one of my favourite whites from the Southern Rhone!

Moving on to Chateau Minuty… I am sure most people here will recognise that name. In 1936 it was Gabriel Farnet who purchased Chateau Minuty and replanted the entire estate just after the Second World War. For decades the winery underwent strategic re-structuring from replanting more vines and equipping the cellar with modern, high-performance tools to make everything centre around quality. The fourth generation of the Matton family now run the Chateau and they have been extremely busy building a second barrel cellar, a meeting room and a tasting room for visitors and professionals. 

Up next we have Chateau d’Esclans extremely popular Whispering Angel! I am sure at one point or another you will have definitely heard of arguably the worlds most famous rosé. Sacha Lichine purchased the estate in 2006 with a vision to create the greatest rosés in the world. Sacha has a huge background in wine, from working at wineries for summer internships when he was young to setting up his own wine touring business in France for Americans. He also set up his own negociants in both Burgundy and Bordeaux and then proceeded to sell his own wines with his own wine merchant selling companies around the world. After purchasing the estate he managed to create several exceedingly good rosés that in 2019 LVMH bought a 55% stake in the Chateau. I expect more great things to come from this Chateau!

Last but certainly not least we have Chêne Bleu. This is a true diamond in the rough estate. In the absolute middle of nowhere in the Dentelles de Montmirail this beautiful winery produces even more beautiful wines. I have only been twice myself but will be going back this summer in what feels like forever. Taken over by Nicole and Xavier Rolet, they both had very different jobs before this. Xavier worked in the banking sectors in both the UK and USA. Nicole worked as a publicist and also in the banking sector and think tanks in the UK and USA. However, as a child Xavier always remembered spending his best times in the countryside in France and when he saw the estate up for sale in 1993 he did not look back. Decades of work have gone into this estate and it is now at a point where it is recognised all over the world for their stunning wines (and perhaps also due to the massive blue oak tree that stands over their vineyards which the Domaine is named after!).

So let us crack on with the tasting notes!

Domaine La Fourmone Le Burlet Rosé NV

Equal parts Syrah and Cinsault. This is brought up in stainless steel vats with the skins in touch for a few days to a week.

Tasting Note – Rating 88

Strawberries, elderflower and citrus fruit on the nose. A very light body and extremely smooth on the palate. Strawberries and citrus nicely coming together with good acidity. Hints of grapefruit with a quick and light finish. Extremely refreshing and a nice well rounded rosé all in all. Only £9.99 on our shop as well!

Chateau Minuty ‘M de Minuty’ 2022

Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault and Tibouren grapes are used in the making of M. Cold pressing and fermenting takes place with no malolactic fermentation.

Tasting Note – Rating 91

Strong aromas of strawberries & citrus, extremely saline as well with wet slate coming through. White fleshed fruit notes quite intense on the palate with the citrus nicely cutting through with the high acidity of the wine. White flower notes as well with a medium body subtly taking control. A very long finish with citrus and white fruits definitely rounding this off superbly. A really good rosé and definitely one for an aperitif or food. Only £16.99 at Majestic!

Chateau d’Esclans Whispering Angel 2022

Grenache, Rolle and Cinsault grapes are used for this rosé. A blend of free run juices and press juices are fermented and aged in stainless steel.

Tasting Note – Rating 92

Beautiful fresh red fruit aromas, strawberries, raspberries and citrus very prominent. Extremely light notes of red fruits and citrus on the palate at first, once the medium body takes hold the notes of strawberries and citrus become immediately much more intense. Really good strong acidity bringing around some lovely grapefruit notes. The finish does pack a mighty punch. It seems everything comes together, acidity and red fruit notes, a very powerful, long finish then takes hold and stays with you forever it seems! Excellent on its own and with food. An extremely classy wine. Currently £16.99 in Waitrose!

Chêne Bleu Le Rosé 2019

60% Grenache, 15% Syrah, 5% Cinsault, 8% Mourvedre and 12% Rolle. No synthetic treatments on the vineyard. Certified Organic and Vegan friendly.

Tasting Note – Rating 92

Now as you can see this is quite old for a rosé. Really rosé should be drunk in the first year, maybe the second year maximum. This however did not disappoint. This is extremely powerful, my first three words on my immediate reaction at the time of tasting was ‘Power, power and more power’. At four years old this has beautiful aromas of red fruits, citrus and peaches. A lot of floral notes as well. Great acidity still with those red fruit and peach aromas translating perfectly onto the palate. The floral notes certainly taking centre stage halfway through bringing up a beautifully long finish. The power and intensity of red fruit and peaches continues all the way through the extremely long finish. An absolute banger of a rosé. £20.35 at VINVM at the moment!

So after this lovely tasting of top class rosés… what do we think? You may be wondering why the Chene Bleu and Whispering Angel are rated the same. Well in all honesty it’s because they are both incredible but in very different ways. If I may, the Chene Bleu is like having an illegal rave in a warehouse. It is powerful, intense and takes you for a great ride. The Whispering Angel is almost as it says on the bottle. It is elegant, it is quiet but it is undeniably seamless and gorgeous. The subtlety is beyond comparison.

However, I do not want to take away from the other two. For £9.99 the Fourmone rosé is fantastic, at that price I would not want to drink anything else. The Minuty M is one of the most popular rosé’s in the country and for £16.99 is definitely always worth it. At the end of the day, however, it is absolutely up to you and your preferences. These notes are just a guide for you!

Our next article will be a new type of article! We will be starting a series of Restaurant and Wine articles. Basically writing about the food and wine that we will be having in some restaurants that you may or may not know but are definitely worth your time in my humble opinion.

Thank you for reading as always and I hope you enjoyed this article 😊

See you in a couple of weeks!

Harry Vernau

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