Onward and upward from Ott the other week, we have a serious challenge at hand! A demand from our lovely Yacht crew for Rosé wine that is affordable, quaffable and not necessarily one of the big names the guests want to drink! It was one of our WSET graduate Chief Stews from the Autumn 2011 Level 3 course who asked if we would put together a small list of affordable wines for Crew – you can see the results of our selections under “Crew Wine” on the new-look FWW website.
But we definitely needed some more pink wines! So, we called in a few samples from producers and set about a serious appraisal of taste versus value. First point of call was Domaine de la Madrague near St Tropez. A recommendation had lead us there originally, followed up by spotting the wines again on a menu in nearby Gassin and realizing that they really did stack up with food. Sometimes you can get too overtly focussed on what’s technically in your glass (acidity and body and intensity etc), particularly when tasting in the winery itself. But the real test is how it then feels when tasted in situ, alongside robust and fresh Mediterranean flavours at a meal. The Madrague certainly made the right noises (slurp, slurp!) so we asked for samples to re-taste here.
The other main contender was a Rosé from the Coteuax d’Aix en Provence appellation so further inland from breezy St Tropez. We were pointed towards “AIX” Rosé by the interior crew and Purser on M/Y Sunrays who during a yard period in La Ciotat headed out for a wine tasting trip and became enchanted by this particular wine. I trusted the Purser implicitly, as she is a Graduate of our WSET® Level 3 Advanced back in 2010 and is very switched on and had said that if we stocked this particular wine, she and the rest of her team would definitely buy it!
The results: there were two show stealers and surprisingly (and pleasingly, from two ends of the price range). First was 2M from Madrague, and yes, I know it’s a girlie thing to look at the label and the shape of the bottle but sometimes it’s the only thing that can differentiate and make a wine stand out. So a pleasingly boxy shouldered bottle and a bold black & orange label get things rolling. The wine was an elegant pale apricot in colour which mirrored the aroma and flavour profile perfectly: very juicy fruit on the nose, peach, some fruity bubblegum and very smooth with balanced acidity. None of that poncey food matching advice here, just serve it very well chilled as soon as the charter is over with packets of Pringles & Kettle Chips! 8 /10 Price HT 7.65€ (9.15€ TTC)
Aix Rosé 2011: again a rather pleasing tall bottle with a very striking “AIX” in embossed black type on a white label – very idiosyncratic. The wine was very pale and an instantaneously alluring nose of candyfloss and strawberry sweets. Impressively succulent and juicy fruit with a lovely length, spine-tingling freshness and an overall user-friendly style that made it nigh on impossible to spit it out! 8.5 /10 Price HT 11.25€ (13.45€ TTC)
Stocks of both these “winners” are now on their way to the FWW Cellars and will be available to order from 21st June
Helen Brotherton 14.06.12