Rosé All Day
With spring here and summer on the horizon – our thoughts turn to all those lovely Rose wines – light, fruity, crisp and refreshing!
The good news is that the cool English climate is perfect to produce first-class still and sparkling rosé wine because they both need the grapes to be harvested when the natural acidity is still quite high, but at the same time, the grapes need to be ripe with fresh red berry fruit flavours.
Why do the grapes need to be harvested with high acidity? Most sparkling wine, including Champagne, undergoes a second fermentation after the base wine is made and if the acidity is too low at the beginning of the process, it will drop too low on the second fermentation and the wine won’t have that structure from the acidity that is so important for this style of wine.
Similarly, rosé wine is most often made in a fruity, floral, fresh, crisp style and that can only come with grapes that are harvested with a higher acidity than is the case to make red wine. Most still rosé is made from black grapes that have been gently pressed to give a degree of colour (decided by the winemaker) and fermented off the skins as with a white wine. Some rosé wines are made by blending a proportion of white and red wine together and some are made by ‘bleeding off ’ a proportion of wine from a red wine fermentation. Here, in England, the most common method is the first method – direct pressing.
Discover the Vine has chosen six rosé wines – four sparkling and two still which definitely showcase the high quality of our English rosé.
Chartham Vineyard, Rosé de Noir 2017
A delicious sparkling rosé made from 100% Pinot Noir – harvested October 2017. It has a salmon pink colour, a delicate mousse with aromas of strawberry and peaches, and a rich textured creamy palate – made in the Champagne style giving it that characteristic brioche style and zingy acidity.
Rosé Brut Reserve 2017, Greyfriars Vineyard
Pink in colour, it has fresh red berry aromas with a touch of spice. There’s a complex palate from blending different parcels of wine before the second fermentation to add richness and roundness, but at the same time retaining a crisp refreshing acidity. Drink on its own or with some prawns and/or smoked salmon.
Terlingham Vineyard, Sparkling Rosé 2016
From the champions of natural winemaking, this is vegan friendly and produced by natural fermentation. Made from the three classic Champagne grapes of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay, it has a soft rose colour and vibrant flavours of raspberry and strawberry and a gentle persistent mousse.
Gusbourne Estate, Kent Sparkling rosé
100% Pinot noir
Delicate pink salmon with aromas of summer fruits such as raspberry, strawberry, cherry, apple and nectarine. It’s a creamy mouthfeel with hints of pastry and brioche. As an aperitif serve with prawn cocktail, smoked salmon or why not just some strawberries!
Simpson’s Railway Hill Rosé, Kent
100% Pinot Noir
Pale salmon colour as in Provence style – it has aromas of grapefruit, lychees and lime with a touch of stone fruit on the palate, textured creaminess and a crisp mouthwatering finish.
Wimbledon Brewery, Wimbledon park – Wimbledon pink English rosé
(awaiting 2021 vintage)
Produced in conjunction with Greyfriars vineyard – the grapes were hand-harvested in late October 2019 and the wine expresses both freshness and complexity. A delicate pink salmon colour with aromas of summer berries couples with a crisp acidity – light and dry. It is a great rosé for those long summer evenings or to drink whilst watching the tennis – probably on TV this year. The 2019 has sold out, but by the time this article is published the 2021 should available.