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Pretty in pink

Rosé is an underrated style of wine, in India and in many parts of the world. Over recent years, it has become associated with sweet, syrupy and sappy styles. The average wines being made available at rock-bottom prices has certainly not helped rosé’s image. In dining circles around the world, rosé is classified as a ‘feminine’ wine, even in this age. This is derogatory; rosé is just as important a style as still or sparkling white or red wine.

The best rosés are fine and elegant, with noticeable structure on the palate and a personality of their own, based on where they are produced and the philosophy of the winemaker. They can be pale salmon to audacious bright pink with hints of ruby in colour. The deeper the colour of the rosé, the fruitier (not sweet) it will be.

Rosés rarely benefit from ageing and are best enjoyed chilled. And contrary to popular belief, most rosés are dry, not sweet. They’re flirty, sexy wines that can be enjoyed with a host of cuisines or simply gulped down on a warm day.

Only in Champagne can red wine legally be added to white wine to make pink wine. Everywhere else, rosé is produced like red wine. Most grape juice is clear, and the colour in red wines and rosés comes from leaving this clear juice in contact with the skins of the grapes.

The longer the juice and the skins are left in contact, the darker the colour and the more intense the wine’s flavour will be. Rosés are produced by leaving the juice of the grape in contact with the skins for a very short time. Then, the juice can either be separated from the skins (racking) or ‘bled’ off from the vat in which it is stored. The remaining juice will become red wine. These rosés have the word saignée on the label.

France is the world’s leading producer of rosé: the best rosés come from the south Tavel in the Rhône Valley, Provence, Bandol and the Languedoc. Some exceptional rosés are also produced in Italy, Spain, Australia and Chile.

2007 Tenuta Guado al Tasso ‘Scalabrone’ Rosé

From Bolgheri DOC, Tuscany (Italy) it’s bright crimson with a pale pink/ crimson rim. It has a hint of minerals and red berries on the nose and some moderate floral aromas. Fresh on the palate with intense strawberries and stone fruit (plums and nectarines). Light-bodied, moderate to low acidity, with medium finish.

2008 Paul Jaboulet Aine L’espiegle

From Tavel, Rhône Valley (France), this wine is deep pink in colour with hints of salmon. Aromatic nose of raspberries and strawberries with floral/ rosé aromas and hints of fresh nuts. A slight red fruit jam character that makes it appealing. Attractively rich on the palate, enlivened by a fine light tannic structure. Medium-bodied, fruity and dry. Fresh acidity with a long, fruity finish.

2008 Turkey Flat Rosé

Almost magenta with ruby and rosé-petal pink flecks. A fruity nose — this Australian wine is a blend of Grenache and Shiraz (Rhône Valley grapes) along with Cabernet Sauvignon and Dolcetto, a native grape of Piedmont in Italy. Fresh acidity, a jammy, red-fruit character and structure, with a black currant-juice note lent by the Cabernet. Medium-bodied with a long finish.

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