To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Balfour Winery, and the launch of its new Archive Collection, owner and founder Richard Balfour-Lynn held a remarkable vertical tasting of its English sparkling wine, Balfour Brut Rosé, in London this month. Launching the new range is a late-disgorged Brut Rosé from 2008, which is the first wine of its type in the UK, and which gets two thumbs up from our expert at the tasting, Master of Wine and fizz aficionado Anne Krebiehl MW.
English saignée rosé is tipped to be a major new category for the English and Welsh wine industry – a more gastronomic pour than traditionally-assembled pink fizz. To put six of our finest to the test (with two ringers from Champagne) wine expert Douglas Blyde chaired a fascinating blind-tasting session last Friday to which our own Stephen Vey was one of the judges. Much was learned by everyone present although the jury is still out from the winemakers themselves – some think it the purest terroir-driven expression of Pinot Noir we can achieve in England while one is unsure they will be repeating the ‘experiment’.
Although still somewhat immature as a wine category, German rosé has almost doubled in production over the past decade – up to 12% of all German wine production. Because German Pinot Noir is the third highest planting of the variety worldwide we can expect to see a lot more of German rosé, writes Simon Field MW, especially with so many quality winemakers making both high-end and commercial, populist styles. On a press trip entitled Think Pink! Field was introduced to a plethora of wines that showed many of the issues facing German rosé – most notably name and style – as it strives to forge its own identity in this fascinating category.
Rosé is a wine category that is much-maligned, according to world expert Elizabeth Gabay MW, who says that even erudite critics fall into the trap of labelling it ‘sexy’ or ‘seductive’. Many buyers don’t taste but make decisions based on colour alone, while the on-trade is missing a massive opportunity by only listing one or two choices compared to a long list of reds and whites. Gabay has made it her mission to set the record straight by applying the same set of critical criteria as she would to any other wine. On the eve of the publication of her new book, which takes an unprecedented approach to the pink wine across Provence, Bandol, the Rhône valley and Languedoc-Roussillon, she opens out to The Buyer about why she is ‘still banging on about rosé’.
“Wine lovers sometimes dismiss DOCG as ‘just another Prosecco’. They are very wrong to do so,” says Matteo Montone, Master Sommelier and one of the five IWSC judges who travelled to Veneto, Italy to help taste, assess and come up with the winning line up of DOCG Proseccos for the 2022 awards from across the Conegliano Valdobbiadene DOCG. Here we reveal the results, plus the producers that scored over 93 points.
The vagaries of the climate are what makes a vintage unique and 2021 certainly brought a host of unpredictable weather events that left their mark on last year’s Pays d’Oc rosés. The frosts of April were just one of the challenges that vignerons faced here but they have risen to the challenge to produce an incredible range of creative rosés that are more delicate and pink than usual. Elizabeth Gabay MW reports on Pays d’Oc Rosé 2021.
Castelnau hosted an intriguing virtual tasting to show the importance that food plays with the enjoyment of Rosé Champagne – creating five experimental cuvées just for the tasting, each of which had different dosages in, from zero to 33 grams per litre. The wines were tasted with and without food, the food-pairing task in the capable hands of pairing experts Ramekins & Wine. Wine expert and ex-Michelin star chef Roger Jones decided to accept the challenge, commenting on which was his favourite cuvée and also whether he felt the food pairing worked or not.
Sparkling wine has been made to play second fiddle to Champagne through the years, in terms of critical appreciation and ‘column inches’. The tables are turned, however, in Fizz! Anthony Rose’s brilliant new book that focuses more on sparkling wine and the exciting developments that are taking place in wine regions across the world with the likes of English sparkling wine, Prosecco, Cap Classique, defectors from Cava and cool regions like Nova Scotia and Hokkaido. In an extensive interview Rose does cover how climate change is affecting Champagne, why they will cope and the future of the NV blend, as well as reveal how his mis-spent youth included making towers of lead capsules from the oceans of Cava he drank. Rose picks out his Top 10 desert island sparkling wines and there is an exclusive 40% discount for readers of The Buyer.
We continue our series looking at the next generation of winemakers that are taking Bordeaux forward with their own visions and innovations with an interview with David Faure of Château Mille Roses in the Medoc by breakthrough wine writer Sophia Longhi. Here he explains how the decision to go organic has helped him bring his own ideas to the vines and wines and break away from the text book winemaking he was taught at university and how he hopes farming sustainably will leave a healthy winery for his children.
For too long considered merely an adjunct to the Languedoc, Roussillon has over the past 20 years uncoupled itself and started celebrating its true identity. With a very different climate, topography and culture to the Languedoc, the wines of Roussillon have started truly celebrating this uniqueness – benefitting from the shift to increased production of dry table wines, and an influx of winemakers from outside the region. President of the Circle of Wine Writers, and a world expert on the region, Rosemary George MW, opens up on what fascinates her about these wines and what gems wine buyers can discover both from the long-standing talent and the new generation of vignerons.