Rose – a brief history thereof.


Our lack of reviews of rose wines prompted me to search Sainsburys’ pink wine section and there’s a fair few wines displayed which must mean there’s a market to be satisfied. The Baron Gassier Cuvee Elegance 2015 cost just under £10 and it looked the most sophisticated wine there. I liked the colour, label and bottle shape – I was no more sophisticated than that! This wine was from an old winery east of Aix on the mount St. Victoire.

In the glass the colour was a pale salmon, onion skin colour and had a greyish tinge with some evidence of alcohol (ABV 13%). Slightly chalky on the nose, there was a pleasing freshness with slightly spicy quality (Geoff – cloves, Richard – cinnamon) but it was certainly attractive. The taste was definitely dry with a long finish, slightly of almonds and a polished, supple mouth feel. It was a well-made wine. After a while the taste started to cloy, however, and lacked any real interest – which prompted a few thoughts.

I wondered why was rose wine ever produced. It doesn’t make sense; wine flavours depend on prolonged skin contact therefore if red grape skins are removed quickly then the flavours are bound to be reduced. Good old Wickipedia came up with a plausible reason in the history section. In times gone by – we’re talking medieval and before – red wine pressings and macerations resulted in high tannins and often unpalatable wines therefore it made sense to have a brief skin contact time. This technique was therefore established. If the climate is hot, red grape skins are thicker and heavy red wine is not ideal on a warm day. What you lose in flavour you gain in drinkability. Fascinating. At least I think so.

Not a bad drop of wine but for £10 I’d rather drink a more flavoursome white.

[Richard: a very prettily presented wine – I should have photographed a full bottle. Pale pink in the gris style, slightly chalky nose which seems to be a characteristic of rosé. Plenty of flavour but there seemed to be a residual sweetness which meant I didn’t fancy more than one glass.]



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