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Home Winners > Winners 2012 > HOUSE WINES: Rosé

Winner Details

House Wines: Rosé

A record number of entries, but the quality here was way behind reds and whites of the same price. Must do better, said our tasters


House rosé has always been a problematical category. In the first SWA in 2007, there was just one medal given out. As recently as 2010 there were no medals at all awarded, and last year’s single Gold and two Bronzes is hardly earth shattering.

Fortunately, over the past two years, the number of entries here has seen a massive increase, which means that our tasters are, at least, casting their net in a more highly populated pool – albeit one that still seems to contain a fair few weird-looking fish. Opinion was unanimous: the quality here was very low.

Pick a fault – any fault: confection, dilution, over-sweetness and insufficient fruit were the most common complaints, though pouring out wines the colour of candyfloss meant that the taste buds weren’t the only senses to take a pounding.

While the tasters might have expected some of these faults from New World rosé, the vast majority of entrants here were from Europe.

‘Some of them look like disco juice,’ grumbled Liam Davy from Hawksmoor Spitalfields. ‘At its best it’s acceptable picnic wine; at worst it’s hen night Doris diesel. Some wines had nice acidity and weren’t too blowsy, and some of the cheaper wines were better; you don’t want to be getting too clever with sub-£5 rosé.’

Fortunately, the tasters found a few decent wines to pick up medals – ‘We fell on the ones that had some kind of fruit character,’ said journalist Sarah Jane Evans MW – and while the overall hit rate of entries to medals was one of the lowest in the competition, sheer number of submissions gave house rosé its best year so far.

‘For the past three or four years, the standard of cheap house white and red has been going up; rosé hasn’t followed. Most of them were insipid, some were repellent. The category hasn’t progressed at all,’ said an almost suicidal James Hocking of The Vineyard Group.

Fortunately, one rosé had enough about it to fill a gap on the Gold List that was looking surprisingly tough to plug. The Marche Rosato Rosaspina was described by consultant Angela Reddin as a ‘serious rosé, with spice, acidity and a slightly bitter note’.

‘What you’re looking for is pure fruit, something soft and easy; most people want something dry. Only a few wines here matched that description.’ Daniel Kapp, Clos Maggiore