Bill's Rosé Wine Blog

Bill has a passion for wine and was introduced to dry Rosé wines thirty or so years ago in the South of France.  He had the idea of specialising in offering top quality Rosé wines within the UK, but it took a while before it could be realised. The wines chosen combine modern methods with the traditional skill of the winemakers resulting in superb wines, tasting just as good here iin the UK as they do abroad!
Bill had forecast the expanding market for good Rosés some time before it happened. He registered Rose-wine.com and all the associated internet domain names, established a reputation, and negotiated some of the best, most characteristic wines, at an early stage. 

Permission is granted to partners, press and media to reproduce any of the photos, articles and material on this blog providing there is clear acknowledgement to Rose-wine.com

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Bill's Blog

Our Website Update

Just to let you know that we have nearly completed a major update to the Rose-wine.com website. Many thanks to everyone who contributed suggestions and ideas to make the site better.  There are lots of new features such as our super free gift card which can have a message of your choice. Several improvements have been made to simplify the ordering process and allow easy input of any special instructions. The website should also look much better on tablets and phones.  

There are other great options coming soon. Hope you like what you see! 

Back from a Wonderful European Tour

Once again your intrepid Rose-wine.com buying team have ventured out in order to find the very best wines possible for our customers!  This time we travelled in Europe.  It was also a superb opportunity to catch up with many of our existing producers before the busy harvest time which will likely be early September this year.  So far, all the indications are very promising.  We had so many interesting experiences on our 5000 miles of travel that I'll likely do a number of blog pieces highlighting different vineyards, meetings and events.  Watch out for new wine introductions too.  

It was a great tour from our first visit to Costa Lazaridi in Greece all the way to Williams Chase, Chateau Constantin in the Luberon and I have to say most enjoyable for Eveline  and myself in our roles as Commercial Manager and Buyer.  Certainly business was done, but meeting owners and winemakers many of whom who have become friends over the years just doesn't feel like work!  Here's a few photos to give a flavour of the trip. Best wishes, as always, Bill

 

Announcing Chateau Miraval Rosé

Great News!   We have now added lovely Chateau Miraval Rosé to our range.  This is a fairly big, but exceptional, estate near the ancient village of Correns in the heart of Provence.  

Favoured by a superb location, the terraced vineyards, at about 350 metres above sea level, date back to Roman times.  I had always particularly enjoyed their "Pink Floyd" Rosé, named after the band who had once recorded there (The Wall) at Le Studio de Miraval.

Now, the estate is better known because of celebrity owners, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie and this has led to a lot of publicity for the wine.  People sometimes question whether estates owned by wealthy individuals, who personally may not have a wine industry background, actually produce good wines.  My own experience and knowledge of several vineyards in this situation is that they do often produce truly outstanding results.  The owners are already successful in other fields and bring their own business acumen with them. They are committed to the vineyard.  Frequently, they appoint excellent winemakers and also invest in the winery and in conserving the best features of the location whilst carrying out new planting for the future. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have appointed renowned, top quality wine makers, Famille Perrin of Chateau de Beaucastel and the results are outstanding.

The Chateau Miraval Rosé is presented in a distinctive and attractive bottle which looks tempting in the wine cooler or at the table.  The colour is fashionably pale and the wine itself is an attractive array of summer Provencal fruit flavours combined with a nice minerality representative of this fabulous terroir.  Match it with good weather, good food, good friends and conversation for a really enjoyable occasion.  

Highly recommended!  Bill   

 

 


 

Excellent Website from Provence - Have a Look

 The "Vins de Provence" website is packed with really interesting facts and  information about  Rosé. You can click through to it here   

 There are sections about "The Region" including the appellations, grape varieties and  terroir and general information.  Under the "Winery Directory" you'll find a map showing  locations of many of the producers and you can click through to find a lot more details  about most of them, some great photographs and general information about the area.

 Look under "Provence Rosé" for well written sections about the history of the wine, the  wine itself and and the wine making process, (Maybe you shouldn't try to make the wine  yourself though, as a couple of thousand years experience and the Provencal climate is a  definite advantage to these lovely wines!).  From time to time, you'll find recognition of  many of the wines we  sell at Rose-wine.com in the Awards section which lists the  results from Concours  General, Paris and makes impressive reading. We are lucky to  have so many awarded  wines in our range.

 If it is a cool, not very good Summer's day here, then maybe the "Food and Lifestyle" pages    may be too tempting, detailing as they do, the beautiful setting and enviable Mediterranean  lifestye.  Just look under the "Food Pairings" section though for lots of good ideas including a  video featuring former White House Chef Patrice Olivon pairing Pan Seared Cod & Provence  Rosé.  Some sections of the site are more orientated towards the U.S. than the U.K., but you'll still find good ideas! 

If you like this site you can find back issues of the Newsletter under the "News & Resources" header and can subscribe to the free English edition.  I really recommend this site to you and know that it just might tempt you to place an order with us! Best wishes, Bill

 

Exciting News

 It was very good to see this, well deserved, appreciation of Chateau D'Esclans wines.  The click through links to the original article and the Chateau's own website are well worth a look!  Despite the good summer here, I'm pleased to say we still have availability of most products.  Bill

We are thrilled to announce that Chateau d’Esclans 2013 is the only wine to be awarded a Master (95 Points), the highest accolade given during the inaugural Drinks Business Rosé Masters (July 2014) in which 89 different Rosés were tasted. The distinguished panel of 4 MWs and 1 MS plus 3 professionals fromThe Drinks Business  focussed their assessment on two criteria that are essential to Rosé, balance and refreshment. In addition to this distinction the 2012 Vintage of Les Clans and Garrus received Silver Medals. Noted by The Drinks Business the three top releases from Sacha Lichine at Château d'Esclans all deserve a place on this list (top 10) representing different styles from the "intriguing , attractive and sleek" Château d'Esclans to the "slightly oaken, taught and youthful" Les Clans and finally the "refined, tight and almost white" Garrus. As a collective these wines represent "the peak of the category" as stated by The Drinks Business.

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Just released! Williams Chase Rosé

 Well known UK gin and vodka producer, Williams Chase, have released a tremendous high quality Rosé wine from the Luberon area of Provence.  The Rose-wine.com tasting panel, including myself, declared it one of the best new wines tasted for a long time and great value at its introductory price. If you are looking for a modern top end Rosé which captures the authenticity of Provence then this is for you! Highly recommended, Bill Williams Chase Rose

By Popular Demand - Red & White Wines!!

Aha! "Sacrilege" you might say, to the news that we are adding a very select list of red and white wines. 

Don't worry though we will not be losing our key Rosé specialisation, simply responding to the frequent requests that we offer good reds and whites too!  They all have to be very good and will be chosen to be attractive to our discerning Rosé customers.  Hopefully, you will like the first two, wonderful Chateau de Pez from St Estephe and delicious Domaines Ott Chateau Mireille Blanc de Blancs

More will follow in the near future making it easy and convenient to add on a case of really good red or white to your next Rosé order.

Decanter GOLD for Chateau Léoube

Great News!  Chateau Léoube's "Secret de Léoube 2012 Rosé" has won "Gold" from Decanter in the World Wine Awards! 

This is a well deserved recognition of the quality and excellence of this wonderful organic wine and is a genuinely prestigious award.

Congratulations to the team at Chateau Léoube!

Lovely customer feedback

It's always pleasant to get good feedback from customers!  N.T. from West Sussex writes "Wine has arrived already - very impressive!"  R.W. from London, says "Best again for the excellent service".  Thanks for getting in touch - Much appreciated,  Bill

Wine - Value for Money?

I’m often asked,

 “Is a more expensive wine good value for money?” 
     
 “What exactly determines the cost of a wine?”
 
These are straightforward questions, but how best to simply explain them and to give guidance as to which criteria to consider when buying. Maybe I could fall back on the old adage “that you get what you pay for”, but does this hold true for wine?   
 
Let’s start with the basic costs like the bottle, label, cork or other closure and transport. Add on UK excise duty and 20% Vat on these, and we are up to around £3.00 per bottle before taking account of the cost of the wine and the Vat on the wine. There also has to be a margin for the producer and for the retailer. This is the origin of the commonly expressed view that you have to pay more than, these days, £6 a bottle to actually be paying more for the actual wine than the packaging, shipping and taxes.
 
Basic costs are understandable, but what makes the difference to the cost of the actual wine. After all, it’s all about the, hopefully wonderful, liquid in the bottle. The wine cost is worth looking at in some detail as it helps us make informed decisions and get best value. There are huge differences in cost, can they be justified?
 
As a guide, our Rosé wine prices vary from around £6 to over £80 per bottle with a lot of well-made Provencal Rosés selling for between £10 and £20. As a company policy we have a lower margin on higher cost wines so as to ensure maximum value and not to inhibit their sale.
 
With wine, one analogy might relate to cars. Most cars at any price will get you there, but more expensive cars will do so in style and luxury as well as creating a good impression on arrival. In comparison, our low cost wines perhaps compare to a small car for convenience around town – practical and satisfactory in lots of situations. Our medium priced range would compare to good quality marques known for performance and comfort whilst our most costly wines would be the equivalent of the absolute top of the range. The Ferrari’s or Aston Martin’s of wines!
 
With cars, it’s easy to understand that better engineering, materials and interiors cost more to design and manufacture. What about wine though, what makes the difference?  Whereas car pricing is probably quite easy to understand, wine may not be so obvious.
 
Firstly, the vineyard location determines the cost of land and labour with ideal sites with perfect topography, climate and conditions often fetching a substantial premium over less ideal ones. The owners have to achieve a return on their investment so this has to be factored into costs. Fortunately, ideal conditions can often result in better fruit for the winemaker so this is not unreasonable as top quality grapes grown in ideal conditions very often make for a better wine.
 
Transport is not as big a consideration as you might at first think in terms of costs. You’d imagine that vineyards closer to the UK might benefit from lesser transport costs. Oddly enough this is not a big factor as further away producers can often ship wine in bulk either already bottled or in large containers to bottling plants in Europe without a huge premium on cost. Bulk shipping requires a large scale of production and tends mainly to be used for mass produced wines, not usually at the expensive end. 
 
I’d always recommend bottling at the vineyard as this allows the winemaker to oversee the conditions and carefully monitor the bottling and gives better control of the finished product. Distance can be a disadvantage for smaller producers though, who are unable to ship large quantities, and can add to the cost of their wine should they decide to send it here. These, often quite individual and good wines, can therefore be a lot more expensive than ones from the bulk suppliers for this reason. 
 
The winery and the manner in which the wine is made are important factors contributing to the cost of wine along with the scale of production. A well designed modern winery often provides the winemaker finer control over all the important factors, but the best tanks, refrigeration, pumps, barrels and ideally, onsite bottling facilities can be very expensive indeed. That’s not to say that an old fashioned winery cannot make good wine, but the process is, like anything else, often made easier by investment. It even allows existing boundaries to be challenged and quality improved still further. 
 
Science has provided answers to many of the problems faced by winemakers, but usually at a cost. The prevention of oxidisation using inert atmospheres or other techniques and the use of precision refrigeration at all stages must surely rank as some of the greatest Rosé wine related innovations of the last 40 years. The wine is far better for it, more stable, and capable of travelling without loss of quality to mention just a few of the benefits. This is one of the reasons Rosé has become so popular! Naturally, all of this costs money and the more that is spent, within reason, coupled with an expert winemaker, the better the end result.
 
When every single possible step is taken that can optimise a harvest, wine production, storage and bottling, this accounts for the higher price of the very top end wines. Often it leads to scarcity of product which can also escalate price. Organic certification and other increasingly popular, but demanding practices also generally increase costs.
 
You can, of course make do without some of the expense by leaving out some processes or choosing not to mature the wine for quite as long and this to a large extent accounts for all the differing price points.   As an example some wines, made to be drunk locally, not intended to be kept for any length of time, or meant for shipping, can still be surprisingly good. These are often the ones you can buy by taking your own container to a winery and having it filled from a tank and can be great value. Another route to inexpensive, but good wine is where a wine merchant or large shop outlet manages to buy an end of line or job lot at a wholesale bargain price and passes on the saving to attract customers who will hopefully buy other items too.
 
Just when you think the pricing of wine is becoming clear there is one complication worth mentioning. Sometimes instead of taking a reasonable margin, unscrupulous suppliers will charge far more for a wine than it is worth. Buyers are understandably very disappointed when it seems no better than much cheaper choices. This is a really bad practice which artificially breaks the link between price and quality and does a lot of harm to the industry. A bit like an unethical used car dealer! There is an answer to it though and that is to only buy from a reputable trusted supplier. Also, avoid firms offering massive discounts, as the pre-discount price indicates that a very high margin was applied which serves to dilute the relationship between price and quality. Likewise, if an offer seems too good to be true, then tempting as it may be, it probably doesn’t reflect good value.
 
At Rose-wine.com our pricing is all related to our bought in cost. Our margin reduces for the more expensive wines so they remain attractively priced. We have good relations with our suppliers and visit many of the European vineyards to meet with them and see the processes being applied. Besides being a great reassurance of quality, this confirms that their pricing to us reflects the investment they have made and the production processes used. From time to time we obtain a “bargain”, but only where no corners have been cut.  When we “discount” (usually to move stock in preparation for new stock coming in), it is not a large amount as otherwise our normal pricing would be excessive.
 
I hope this short article will have helped remove some of the mysteries surrounding wine pricing. And, yes!  A more expensive wine should be good value for money – provided it is carefully chosen and sourced from a good supplier!
 
As always, I’ll be pleased to have your views!   
 
Bill
 
Great Reviews for Chateau D'Esclans Rosés

Great reviews for Chateau D'Esclans wines, including "Whispering Angel", from Matthew Jukes.  These really made a big impression and have attracted high scores.  You can find Matthew's reviews on his website at www.matthewjukes.com  I very much go along with his description of "Garrus" too.  These are both available from Rose-wine.com

Top Decanter Award for Chateau Routas Rosé

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

Congratulations are in order for Chateau Routas and winemaker Jean Louis Bavay who have won an outstanding five stars, best in show, at the prestigious Decanter World Wine Awards.  A marvellous result for a very affordable Rosé - here's what was said,

"Appetizing style singing of Mediterranean France. Clean, fresh herbal aromas with invigorating aniseed over a ripe peach and tropical fruit palate with pretty, floral notes, plum skins and stony, mineral acidity.” Decanter Magazine. 

Age & Rosé - Does it Improve?

An obvious question you may say, going by the old adage that Rosés are best drunk young.  However, you may well be surprised by some modern Rosés and I’d like to be among the first to break the good news!

Certainly, if you’d asked me ten or fifteen years ago I would have sided with the “Choose it well and drink it young” view, for most Rosés, but what a lot has changed since then.  Oddly enough, these changes are still not common knowledge.  Whilst many Rosés are still best drunk young there are others which benefit from being a little older. How has this come about?
Firstly, the use of refrigeration in Rosé production has increased immensely.  Refrigeration allows much more control and refinement of the various stages the wine goes through.  Effective measures to prevent oxidisation have also been introduced.  Not only do these provide a better product, but they also seems to impart stability to the wine meaning that it travels better too.  This has helped banish the “It tasted great when I was there”, but isn’t nearly as good when I bought it here”, syndrome.  This may still apply to some cheaply produced mass market wines, but not to good quality Rosé from caring producers.
Secondly, the demand for better, premium Rosés, has allowed the best winemakers to invest in a whole variety of improvements to the winemaking process.  Other producers have likewise had to improve their offer, in a demanding market, to keep up.  Science based organisations such as the Rosé Wine Research Centre www.centredurose.fr  have carried out research, unravelled some of the processes involved, and have been able to advise growers on improved methods.
So how does this affect the wine?  The increase in quality and extra stability imparted allows these wines to keep far longer than before. It has opened up the opportunity to see how Rosé develops with age and some provide startlingly good results.  A great example of this is can be found in Chateau D’Esclans “Garrus” Rosé where we have recently finished the 2007 and have moved on to the 2008.  It is silky smooth, yet complex with rich creamy notes and perhaps a hint of biscuit, remaining beautifully bright and a delight on the palate. If I wrote this about a White Burgundy or similar it would perhaps come as no surprise, but for a Rosé it is outstanding.  Yes, it takes a while to make and is aged in temperature controlled barrels for ten months, but here is a Rosé that truly benefits from its age. It is quite expensive, but conjures up another old adage, “That you get what you pay for”, and with this wine you certainly do!
Other notable wines where wonderful subtleties emerge with a little age are those from Domaines Ott and I am also finding Chateau Léoube and several of our other producer’s wines proving very interesting this way.  How do you know whether a wine will age well?  I’d suggest price as a good guide as these have to be very well made wines. They will use carefully selected fruit, coupled with expert winemaking applying costly, gentle, slow, natural, and non-invasive processes.  All Good! 
Next time someone discusses the merits of Rosé with you, I hope this subject might just make for an interesting talking point.  Of course, even more interesting is trying the wines to see for yourself!   Please do let me know your experiences.  Bill@Rose-wine.com
How to Taste Rosé Wine?

OK, so you’ve bought some lovely Rosé wines – how do you get the best tasting experience? Here’s some general guidance put together by Rose-wine.com which might help. 

Remember, that tasting tends to be quite subjective with people often having surprisingly different opinions. There are no set rules. Where wine is paired with food this can have a marked effect too. Not only does the wine often heighten appreciation of the food, the food can have an effect on the perception of the wine. Experimentation is often the best course and can be good fun!

There are various other factors that can influence your enjoyment of wine besides the wine itself. Serving temperature is one, with Rosés often being best served cool, perhaps around 8 to 12 C. When the Rosé is cold it will be quite sharp and clear and very refreshing. As it warms up to room temperature, well-made Rosé can become fruitier and slightly softer. Ideally, try the wines cool to start with, which would be most people’s preference, but if you find you enjoy it warmer then that’s best for you. Also, good ice in Rosé can be very pleasant and only has the effect of diluting the wine, not spoiling it. 

Glasses make a difference mainly because a bulky glass will quickly warm up a cool wine whereas a finer glass will keep the wine cool. The size of the rim opening matters in that too narrow an opening causes you to have to tilt back your head when drinking. This fails to deliver the Rosé to the best part of the mouth for full enjoyment.  A good fairly wide rimmed white wine style glass is ideal for Rosé.

Where possible it is good to let wine settle down after transit. Good Rosé is a natural product and is best stored in a cool dark place. A refrigerator will be fine, ideally a few days before drinking. The difference is small but, may just be noticeable.

There’s a great selection of Rosés available, all different to the taste, everyone’s perception of them will vary, but hopefully the above notes will help!  Just add good company. Have fun!  Bill

Wine Diamonds - What are they?

Buy wine from us and, who knows, you might just get some "wine diamonds" absolutely free! Nice mature grapes - CIVP image

A customer contacted me recently wondering about a little sugary looking deposit she'd noticed in a couple of bottles of Rosé.  I was able to reassure that these are natural and, in fact, are an indication of a particularly well made wine.  They tend to form only in wines that are slowly fermented, a process which adds to flavour and aroma and are sometimes more noticeable when the wine has been kept cool for a while.  Sometimes you may also see them on the bottom of the cork.  They are completely harmless and are not a fault, quite the opposite.

For the technically minded the little crystals are a potassium tartrate which is generally used to make cream of tartar for baking.  The wine industry is a great source of this natural material.  Thinking among winemakers varies.  Some are concerned that customers may not know what they are, and perhaps wrongly, perceive them as a fault.  Bolder winemakers won't compromise on quality, and do not put the wine through unnecessary additional processing involving temperature changes to remove them. 

The tartrates essentially come from good mature grapes and choosing not to remove them is a good example of the commendable "putting the grape first" school of thought, to provide absolutely top quality wine. 

 

Rosé Weddings

VenuestomenusI attended a large wedding show recently and had a great time chatting about wines.  I was reminded of how appropriate Rosé wines can be for this, very, very, important, occasion.

The correct choice of good wines can make such a difference to everyone's enjoyment, as most guests will have at least a glass or two, or in my case, maybe more!  Our Rosés with their vibrant colour and great bottle presentation, very much Lia Koletsou and Bill  look the part, but have other great advantages too.  Not least is their almost universal acceptability - almost everyone enjoys a Rosé. 

A sparkling Rosé or Rosé Champagne is a marvellous welcome for guests and super for the toasts.  They look so good in the glass too.  Likewise, the still Rosés go so well with most food and with their characteristic lightness, they are very suitable for drinking throughout the meal no matter what time of day it is served.  They are equally good during the later reception. 

Currently, we have stock of some fabulously exclusive, romantic and elegant Rosés from the St Tropez area, just right for Spring or Summer weddings.  Please drop me an email to Bill@Rose-wine.com if you need any help or advice.  I'm happy to advise on quantity too, and we can take back any stock not used. 

I'd probably get married again, just for the fun of it, if I wasn't married already!  Happy planning!  

Nice Customer Feedback

I received this super feedback from friends at artificial tree specialists Trees R Green, who I met recently at an exhibition.  I obtained their permission to reproduce it here as it summarises our wines so well.  "Just a small note to thank you for the bottle of Cuvee Domaine de La Rouillere Rose you gave me to try.  We are really not rose drinkers and never really bother to try any because of past experience with UK standard bottles!!!! As you suggested we started with the bottle really chilled and had some nice white fish with it.  We were surprised and pleased that it tasted dry and fresh like the whites we drink, not sweet and sickly like other rose we have had.  Again as suggested we let the wine warm and drank it slowly allowing the flavour to become stronger.  We really enjoyed both tastes".  Trees R Green have great products too, we have one of their super trees in reception.  Bill

Temperature & Rosé

I'm quite often asked, "What is the best serving temperature for our wines?"  The broad answer is to serve at whatever temperature you prefer, but I can give you some guidelines to help. 

Our Rosés are very well made so they should be enjoyable at up to room temperature without showing any faults.  I suggest serving quite cool, somewhere between 8 and 12 C. as this suits most tastes.  However, the aroma of the wine may not be as full and fruity as it becomes when the wine warms up.  Likewise the taste can move towards being somewhat less dry and more fruity as the wine warms, a nice effect, quite pronounced in Rosés.  Stemmed glasses will prevent the wine warming quickly as will chilling the glasses first. 

And what about ice?  Controversial for some, I have no problem with it, especially if serving Rosé on a warm day.  A nice touch can be to make up the ice in advance from bottled water, perhaps selecting a French still water to make ice for French wines.  (The same applies to ice with good Scotch Whisky - best use Scottish water for a soft taste).  Ordinary tap water ice is fine for the ice bucket to keep the wine cool, but not too cold.  

Hope this helps!  

We're on Facebook

Post this link to Facebook   I'm pleased to say that Rose-wine.com now has a Facebook page.  This can be a great and convenient way to leave comments and maybe post a few pictures of your fun Rosé wine occasions.  Find us on www.Facebook.com/rosewineuk  Thanks, Bill

Cannes Party - Photos, Links & Notes

By popular demand, here are a few photos from the Cannes Film Festival Beach Party.  The party was organised by Creative Scotland www.creativescotland.com and was a superb and successful networking event for film industry professionals.  Rose-wine.com combined with rising star film distribution company Distrify www.distrify.com to serve fabulous Bellini's on the Beach.  The sorbets used fresh French peaches and were hand cranked under a parasol on the beach.  You can find full description and the scrumptious recipe at www.triplemotion.com  So many people visit Cannes and the South of France each year, but don't realise that the pick of the wonderful wines they try there are now available here in the UK.  The object of our participation was to convey this rather good news (to a willing audience) and to have a good time!  Hope you enjoy the pictures - if you are in them, or would simply like a higher resolution copy of any of them sent to you by email, please just contact me at Bill@Rose-wine.com

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