Tax-free guide to rosé wine ....
It doesn’t matter whether you call it ‘rosé’, ‘rosado’ ‘rosato’ or even ‘blush’, the chances are that you have drunk lots more of it in the past few years.
Yes indeed, after years of being derided as super sweet plonk for people who don’t really like wine, the world has fallen in love with rosé wines over the past few years.
Rosé wines only account for only about 10% of the wines drunk around the world, and that figures drops even further if we only consider duty-free shops where red wines generally rule supreme. However, sales of rosé wines are growing faster than any other segment, nowhere more so than in the UK where sales have rocketed by nearly 100% over the past five years.
So why have we changed our minds about drinking pink? Well, rosé wines are light and refreshing for outdoor summer drinking, but are also robust enough to be matched with a wide range of foods. And while rosé wines are certainly affordable, the best examples are certainly not one-dimensional. The range and quality of rosé wines have greatly improved in recent years as winemakers have done their best to improve rosé wine’s once lowly reputation.
If your only experience of rosé is of a glass of something so sugary and sweet that it would make a dentist blanch, you may well have been drinking a glass of white zinfandel “blush” from the US. “Blush” wines became all the rage in the 1970s and are still hugely popular today largely because they are cheap, boast relatively low alcohol levels, and are easy to drink.
But there are also many dry rosé wines on the market, especially those from Europe. France arguably produces the world’s best rosé wines with excellent wines being produced in Provence, where rosé wines account for half of all production, the Cotes du Rhône and Languedoc-Rousillon. Meanwhile rosato wines are produced in every region of Italy, while Spain’s Navarra and Rioja regions also produce some very good rosado wines.
Rosé wines are typically made with red wine grapes and are made in three different ways. The most common process is the maceration method where the red grape skins are allowed to have a limited contact with the grape juice during the fermentation. The longer the time the skins are left in contact, the darker the colour of the wine. Thus, rosé wines can range from a soft, subtle hue to a vibrant, hot pink.
The bleeding or “saignée” method is another way to make rose wine. Some of the juice is removed from a vat of red wine early in the winemaking process. This results in a more intense red wine, while the light-colored juice bled from the vat is used to make rosé. For cheaper rosé wines and sparkling rosé wines, red and white wines are mixed, but this shortcut way of making still rosé is frowned on by serious winemakers.
Now duty-free retailers generally don’t make a big fuss when it comes to rosé wines. They tend to focus on much more expensive red wines, but there are still some nice bottles to be had if you know when to look. For instance at World Duty Free Group’s UK shops, which are located at all of the country’s major international airports, are you will find a superb bottle of Louis Jadot Macon Rose full of fresh cherry and raspberry fruit flavours for a very reasonable £9.99.
Meanwhile over at the excellent Le Clos stores at Dubai airport’s international Terminal 3 and slightly further up the price ladder look out for Château Barbeyrolles from Provence, a delicate rosé with plenty of strawberry flavours and peppery white spiciness. An excellent match for oriental food and fish dishes, this gem of a rosé wine costs just $35 (£22.40) for a bottle.
Planning to pass through any of New Zealand’s three international airports (Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch) any time soon? If so, why not try a bottle of Peter Yealands sauvignon blanc priced at just NZ$17.90 (£9.15)? This wine is full of rich tropical pineapple and red berry flavours, but also boasts a pleasing, crisp finish.
Three airports, three great rosé wines, but remember that every wine producing country is now producing good quality rosé wines. Airport stores are gradually improving their selections, especially when it comes to sparkling rosé wines and Champagnes. So why not treat yourself to a bottle the next time you travel? After all, rosé wines are great value, low in alcohol and a great match for a wide variety of foods.
They are also rather pretty to look at!