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Home Winners > Winners 2013 > Rosé above £5.50

Winner Details


A lot of horrors in the early stages, but some good quality – and unusual – wines on the Gold List made for a stimulating category in 2013

Rosé is the kind of wine that belongs in a fairy story; the sort of drink that Snow White would sip as she tiptoed through the forest, trilling happily to herself. It speaks of good times, of innocence, of frivolity…

Sadly, it also speaks of lousy winemaking. Our tasters had to kiss an awful lot of frogs before they found their handsome princes this year. This category had the lowest ratio of medals to submissions of the entire competition.

‘If rosé is a growing category, God knows what it’s growing into,’ muttered a disgruntled Tom Forrest of Vinopolis, after leading his team through a particularly unpleasant flight.

‘It was quite painful,’ sighed The Greenhouse’s Sara Bachiorri at a neighbouring table. ‘They were light on flavours and they didn’t hang together structurally.’

‘It looks to me like a lot of people are making rosé when they just don’t have good enough grapes for red wine,’ commented consultant Annette Scarfe MW. ‘When people make them seriously they can come out beautifully. When they don’t, they don’t.’

Leaving aside technical faults with the wines, there was, as always, heated discussion as to what rosé was actually for.

Should it be dark or pale? Succulently gluggable or taut and food friendly? There were as many answers as there were tasters, and a style out there to back them up. You pays your money, you takes your choice…

The medals were dominated – as you might expect – by France in general, and Provence in particular, with the latter contributing a string of medal-winning wines around the £8 mark. Which was just as well. ‘People have a lower price expectation for Provence rosé and it takes a lot of justification to persuade then to go above that,’ said Matthew Cocks of Cubitt House.

Which perhaps explains why the Garrus didn’t make it on to the Gold List. The tasters liked it but that price isn’t a misprint. It really was one of the most expensive wines of the whole competition. And though the judges recognised that it was more in competition with top white Burgundy than Blossom Hill Blush, they just couldn’t justify a place for it on a wine list of less than 200 bins.

Amazingly, just as the subs were getting ready to pen their ‘Five-star rosé in £80 shock’ headlines, along came an even more remarkable story.

If a gold for New Zealand (via Spy Valley) was a bit of a surprise, the news of a Gold and a Silver for Turkish winery Arcadia would only have been more shocking had it been written in lipstick on Prince Harry’s naked butt and shown on the Ten o’clock News.

Very pale, but with nice aromatics (we’re talking about the wine here, not HRH’s cheeks), the Cabernet+ had a balanced, succulent mouthfeel and walked the tightrope between ‘accessible’ and ‘structured’ with exemplary balance.

‘Let’s face it, how many customers take rosé seriously? Most of the time it will have lemonade poured into it.’
Sara Bachiorri, The Glasshouse Restaurant

‘The best Provence rosés were actually the cheaper wines; these were fresh, uncomplicated, pretty in colour, but light and refreshing wines to drink at any time of the day.’
Michael Moore, Enigma 88