With the temperatures rising, restaurant terraces and beach clubs are getting busier by the day and the pink elixir of the Côte d’Azur is being consumed in ever increasing quantities! Rosé wine just doesn’t taste right anywhere but in Provence and on the Côte d’Azur, and if you’re anywhere on the Riviera then consumption is a must! Provence is renowned for producing the best rosé in the world, the warm climate and sandy soils are perfect for the vines. Rosé is growing in popularity in part perhaps due to the purchase of several well known vineyards by celebrities such as Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. However rosé has kept its classless, elegant appeal and is the drink of choice for the summer season for everyone from clientele of the local bar tabac to guests of prestigious beach clubs, villa garden parties and superyachts. From St Tropez beach clubs to yachts anchored at Plage Mala, all you will see are bottles and bottles of Rosé, from Magnums of Chateau Rasque at Paloma Beach to Domain Ott on the huge yachts anchored off Cap Ferrat.
It’s a fact that the paler the colour, the better the taste, but apart from the world famous Garrus from Chateau d’Esclans, which is perhaps the best rosé ever produced with a price tag to match at €99 per bottle, the most expensive isn’t necessarily always the best!
Here’s a look at 5 of my favourites:
Château Rasque – Famously served in magnums rather than regular sized bottles in many a beach club, this rosé is one of my favourites and perhaps has one of the highest consumption rates throughout the summer season. Robust enough to be served with anything and equally great as an aperitif. Served as the house rosé in some of the most elegant establishments on the Côte d’Azur this has to one of the highest contenders for the most elegant and consistently brilliant rosés.
Around €16 per bottle – www.chateau-rasque.com
Château Sainte-Marguerite – The cru-classé from the Fayard family run vineyard is wonderfully delicate and pale, with subtle flavours, it makes a fabulous companion to a fresh Mediterranean summer lunch, or to just enjoy on its own. A true classic!
Around €13.50 per bottle – www.chateausaintemarguerite.com
Domain Ott – Château Romassan – Affectionally named “Over The Top”, this is perhaps the most famous rosé in the world and certainly a favourite with celebrities, often to be discovered in large quantities at many flamboyant parties, especially during the Monaco F1 Grand Prix and the Cannes Film Festival. This is indeed an excellent rosé, slightly more robust than the very pale rosés and therefore a superb all rounder. This wine is as perfect served with red meats as it is grilled prawns and fresh fish. Not the best value rosé on offer, but certainly one of the most popular.
Around €23 per bottle – www.domaines-ott.com
M de Château Minuty – Not the most prestigious rose from this legendary Château but one of my all time favourites and a first choice for me every time if available. This wine is light, fresh and easy to enjoy with food or on its own. As the Château states “The M range is a real moment of pleasure and happiness to share with good friends and extend that holiday feeling.” This for me explains the wine perfectly and makes it my all time favourite!
Around €10 per bottle – www.minuty.com
Miraval – The only rosé wine in Wine Spectator’s Top Wines of 2013, this is considered by many to be the best of the best. First released as a 2012 vintage by new owners Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie in partnership with the Perrin family of Château de Beaucastel, the wine sold out in a matter of hours and has now become “THE” rosé. It is delicious and certainly in my humble opinion a serious contender as the best of the best. Previously released as “Pink Floyd” for many years by the former owners as the legendary rock band recorded their seminal album “The Wall” at the Château back in 1979.
Around €15.50 per bottle – www.miraval-provence.com