A rosé by any other name….

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

les maison languedoc-Roussillon_logoThe other day I was invited to … drum roll please…. ‘the world’s first synchronised wine tasting!’ An event where wine, technology and a truly international palate would meet. The concept seemed simple – 90 wine specialists (journalists, bloggers, wine educators) from across the world would taste the same wines at the same time and be connected via video link to the winemakers*. Hosted by the Sud de France, one of France’s many generic bodies responsible for promoting produce from the area, I was invited to taste 5 wines** chosen as the standard bearers of the region at their London offices in Cavendish Square.

In the spirit of the high tech event that it was I had been asked to bring my laptop, naturellement, so I could ‘blog’ about what was happening in real time. On arrival though it was clear to see the genre of the event hadn’t registered in the minds of some, and despite the video link equipment around the room only 4 of us had the right tools to fully participate. A reflection of the wine trades inability to keep up with what is now the most basic of technologies? Perhaps. But what then does it say about wine journalism when 2 of the remaining invitées had to be supplied with notebooks! Seriously.

Dona Baissas rose_croppedAnyway, the event took place on the 21st June and I’m writing this up on the 30th whilst sitting outside the little gite I’ve rented with Mr Bouquet in a very sunny Sud de France. Not so much excellent planning as a coincidence is what I’d say as what I fail to mention above is that, laptop or no laptop, we couldn’t connect to the wi-fi. C’est vrai!

I love it at the Miss Bouquet London HQ but it’s really lovely down here. Super hot, super relaxed, super food and super wine. I’m currently drinking a chilled glass of rosé from Chateau Dona Baissas, Côtes du Roussillon, Rosa Dona 2009 (a blend of Grenache & Syrah) I picked it up for €5.50 from Carrefour for two reasons. 1. It has a charming label and 2. I was trying to get away from an 18 year old sales boy harassing me to buy his ‘orrible looking vin rouge. And I’m pretty glad I made the choice. I’m not a huge fan of the UK’s supermarket wine aisles but at least if I have to potter around one for a few minutes I’m not forced into a buying decision just to escape a promo-girl. Interestingly whilst jostling with the spotty Herbert at Carrefour I came across the exact same rosé we had blind at the Sud de France syncro tasting. Fruité Catalan 2009 a vin de pays des Côtes de Roussillon produced by the Vignerons Catalan, a blend of regional grapes; Syrah, Grenache noir and Carignan. It was rightfully selected as an excellent example of the quality of the region’s rosé wine but it also emphasised the continued need for blind tastings – the label was terrible!

shloer_bottlesfruite_catalan“Beautiful colour! Bright pink. Strawberry, raspberry, mouth wateringly fruity with some light pear notes on a refreshing finish. The South of France in a glass” were the notes I wrote on the day. Then once the bottle was revealed “Label; transparent, butterfly image, white writing running vertical up the bottle, has this wine just stepped out of the 80’s? Imagery on the bottle manages to imply the wine could be made from fruits other than grapes.” When asked at the wine-synrco how the design concept came about the winery representative told us it was developed in 2005 following intense research to come up with a contemporary and modern label. Looking at the plethora of rosé wines surrounding it at Carrefour it looked completely out of place, and it was no surprise to me at all that this schloer look-a-like is still searching for a UK agent. What it did have going for it though, was a good quality wine at a good price (£6.99 estimated UK RRP) which is a great start…..

Since arriving in the Sud de France and post the region’s London wine-syncro tasting I’m feeling an equal dose of positive to negative. I think it was a mistake for a multi-rosé region like the Sud de France to show just one to represent its diversity. Having said that if the results of my World Wine Flag (WWF) research group are anything to go by it seems it will be the shear variety that such a region can produce that will put it in good stead for healthy rosé sales in the UK to come. It was the rosé wine range that the WWF group found most difficult to reach a verdict on and it was far from unanimous, general understanding and appreciation of what the consumer expects of the category still has a long way to come. With this in mind I believe that to have a piece of the rosé pie, the only growing wine category in the UK, then it will be countries that can produce different styles, different shades and different taste profiles of rosé, a country like France, and a region like the Sud de France that will undoubtedly prevail. As when it comes to pink, only one thing is clear, one rosé most certainly does not fit all.

* Turned out the wine tasting wasn’t synchronised, it was held across 23 countries worldwide at 11am, all local time….

** The 5 wines tasted at the Sud de France wine-syncro tasting were:

1. Sparkling : Sieur d’Arques, AOC Crémant de Limoux, Grande Cuvée 1531
2. White : Cigalus, VDP Pays d’OC, cuvée 2008
3. Rosé : Fruité Catalan, AOC Côtes du Roussillon, 2009
4. Red : Dromadaire 30670, VDP Pays d’OC, cuvée 2006
5. Sweet Wine : Mas de Madame, AOC Muscat de Frontignan, cuvée 2006

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6 Responses to “A rosé by any other name….”

  1. Louise Hurren says:

    Hi Miss Bouquet, I’ve been following you with interest! I handle PR for a number of Languedoc wineries, and also for Sud de France Export, helping them with their media relations for the brand in the UK; thanks for taking the time to post, particularly while you are on holiday! I don’t know whereabouts you are in Languedoc (or if you are still here) but if you are near Montpellier and would like to meet up over a glass of something suitable, do let me know (if you are near the Terrasses du Larzac area we could meet at Mas de l’Ecriture as well). Let me know! Best wishes, Louise

  2. I most certainly agree with you regarding rose. There are so many lovelies out there. It’s a shame that so many people either drink that horrible white zin or refuse to try rose because of their experiences with aforementioned wine. I, for one, love a dry rose and the roses of Southern France are some of my favourites!

  3. Miss Bouquet says:

    Hi Louise,
    Thanks for your message, I’ve just got back to London unfortunately. If you’re ever in town though do get in touch and we can have that glass of wine!
    Best regards,
    Miss B

  4. Miss Bouquet says:

    Thanks Winesleuth, I reckon one day rosé will be thought of in the same regard as white and red wines in terms of the number of different styles, varieties etc, shame there’s such a long way to go to get there!

  5. Colin Smith says:

    I was the one at the event in London who said I thought the packaging was spot on! I thought it would appeal to the young consumer used to Blossom Hill. At least it may tempt them to try something French rather than Californian.

  6. Miss Bouquet says:

    Hi Colin, I can see where your coming from but I think if the Blossom Hill consumer bought a bottle they would be surprised by its contents. The packaging doesn’t reflect the style of wine in the bottle.
    Miss B