Laithwaites in the forefront of the discovery of some exquisite Provence Rose's.

By Master of Wine, Christopher Burr

20/09/2022

LW Rose Wine Selection

I have a number of longstanding connections with rose' wines, I was involved with the marketing a Mateus Rose' in the 1980's, helped by Princess Margaret who often asked for "that slightly fizzy pink wine in the pretty bottle"! And I was the agent in the Uk for Domaine Ott, then brand leader in Provence rose' and other good wines.

So it was with some sadness to see the sales of rose' wines decline as they became so unfashionable in the 1990's, mainly due to sweetish, dull, rose' from Anjou. Rose' fell seriously out of fashion, as was seen as "naff".

In the UK by the late 1990's rose' had declined to less than two percent of shipments to the UK.

I have been enthralled to see a rapid revival, so that now rose' wines account for between 12 and 15% of the market, and are growing fast. This is not just fashion; these are now some very good wines.

In the late 1960's early 1970's I worked for the Russian-American wine guru, who wrote the first encyclopaedia of wine, Alexis Lichine. We were based in Bordeaux. His son Sacha was a small boy when I was there , but now forty years later, he has been seriously instrumental in bringing very good, even classic, wine from Provence to the market from his property Chateau d'Esclan, where his top rose' wine, Garrus sells for £100 a bottle!

In the UK by the late 1990's rose' had declined to less than two percent of shipments to the UK.

But you will have undoubtedly heard of his most popular wine, Whispering Angel, as it has become something of a benchmark, but, rather like the late Princess Margaret and her Mateus, Ivana Trump has always publicly made it her wine of choice, a marketing man's dream.

Laithwaites have always been at the forefront of trends, and in Provence there are lots of great vineyards, (some planted by the Romans two thousand years ago), so It is not surprising that their buying team have also found some great wines.

I have just tasted five Cotes de Provence and Coteaux d'Aix en Provence rose's which they have on offer, and I have been blown away by their quality, variety and sheer class.

I have had difficulty deciding which is my favourite and the best, because there are a number of contenders, they are individual, some more mineral, other more complex fruit, some very gentle and elegant an others more powerful. But they are all good wines.

I have just tasted five Cotes de Provence and Coteaux d'Aix en Provence rose's which they [Laithwaites] have on offer, and I have been blown away by their quality, variety and sheer class.

The simplest, and understandably the least expensive is the 2021 L'Art de Provence for £9.99 for a mixed case of six. This wine is juicy, with good citrus and wild berry fruit. A very quaffable party wine, and good with lots of summer dishes, fish, pasta, hors d'oeuvres, cold meats and salads.

L'Art Provençal Rosé

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Then there were four wines, which I would call exceptional for their unique character and individuality. From the Domaine de Paris in the Cotes de Provence hills some 500-800 metres above sea level, with hot sunny days and cool nights to retain the vital acidity, Laithwaites have chosen two wines. The Old vine (Vielles Vignes of 80 years old, giving more concentrated fruit flavours,) 2021 in a classic "skittle" Provencale bottle. This was one of the biggest wines, with lovely intensity from a dash of the Syrah grape in the Grenache blend, lots of dried fruit and wild strawberry aromas and a lovely fresh finish, although not the most expensive at £13.99 for a mixed case of six, this was one of my favourites.

Domaine de Paris Provençal Rosé

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But then, from a single vineyard high up and in a very pretty dumpy bottle, was a most elegant very pale pink rose'. The Domaine de Paris's Notre Dames des Anges, the name of the Chapel on the site. This is gentle, elegant, crisp and classy. In some ways more like a top white wine than a pink one, and some halibut, turbot, sea bream or even Oysters seem to beckon Quite appropriately this is a bit more expensive at £17.99 for a mixed six.

Domaine de Paris Provençal Rosé

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Next was Aix Quisite, cleverly named wine from the Coteaux d'Aix, inland where lots of interesting different grapes proliferate, like the gutsy Cinsault, the white floral vermentino, called Rolle in the region, as well as Grenache. Again, nicely packaged in the skittle Provencale bottle, this is a complex wine, dry and mineral, with lovely fruit and acidity, again one of my favourites. £13.99 for a mixed six.

Aix Quisite Rosé

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Finally, in a most elegant clear bottle like a fine Champagne, the Seraphin Rose 2020 has lovely ripe fruit citrusy freshness and a complex white pepper finish. Another of my favourites from the Cotes de Provence, and another elegant wine to rival some top white wines, and equally good with shellfish and fine fish dishes.

Seraphin Rosé

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Bravo to Laithwaites, and their wine buyer for such a fine selection. These are good enough to rival some of the more famous names from the region.


Christopher Burr, MW

Christopher Burr, MW

Christopher has been involved in the wine business for over 45 years. He is one of only 493 MW’s from 31 countries worldwide.

Read more articles by: Christopher Burr, MW


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