The idea that rosé wine is age-worthy is not new. This style has its roots in many classic regions, most famously Bordeaux, where historic ‘clairet’ – a lighter style of red than we’re used to today – combined structure with heady fruit fragrance, and morphed into ‘claret’.
Although it’s only relatively recently that sommeliers and winos woke up to the virtues of mature rosé – López de Heredia’s cult Tondonia Rosado being the benchmark – a host of leading winemakers are now releasing rosés with prolonged age.
Top-tier domaines from Bandol to Tavel and Abruzzo take enormous pride in showing off decades-old bottles to prove their credentials as wines of freshness and complexity, rather than dusty afterthoughts.
So, if the imminent heatwave proves too much for a serious, full-bodied red, but you don’t want to sacrifice intellectual stimulation in the name of glou glou, here’s your answer!
Thymiopoulos Rosé de Xinomavro 2013 (£32) Sold out
Apostolos Thymiopoulos’s late release Rosé de Xinomavro – sourced from young vines that will eventually provide fruit for the estate’s interstellar red, ‘Earth & Sky’ – is aged in barrel for three months before maturing in the producer’s cellar for almost a decade. Elegant and silky, age has brought out notes of ripe cherry tomato and dried herbs. Dry and satisfying.
Tapon Clairet 2010 (£45) Sold out
Nicole Tapon – the 16th generation of her winemaking family – works with 22ha of old, organically farmed Merlot and Cabernet Franc vines in Saint-Émilion to craft Bordeaux as it might have tasted back in the day. Showing poached strawberries, potpourri, orange zest, and exotic spice flavours buttressed by icy-fresh acidity, this is a pensive, gastronomic rosé.
“Two wines immediately come to mind when I taste this: old Musar and Todonia Gran Reserva Rosado. It stands shoulder to shoulder with them.” 18 points, JancisRobinson.com
López de Heredia Tondonia Gran Reserva Rosado 2010 (£98) Sold out
A blend of Garnacha, Tempranillo, and Viura – from vines averaging 90 years old – López de Heredia’s astonishing rosado is released after an unprecedented ten years in the cellar. From the exceptional 2010 vintage, its delicately layered, spiced red fruit is now starting to take on mineral complexity and a gentle oxidative savouriness. The definitive pink unicorn.
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