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Winner Details

House Wines: Rosé

2014: Gold: 1; Silver: 1; Bronze: 5; Commended: 2
2013: Gold: 2; Silver: 0; Bronze: 1
Must-list index: 100%
Overall performance SWA 2014: C-

After a dip last year, entries were back up to where we’d have expected in 2014 – and we were back to our usual ‘one Gold, one Silver and a stack of Bronzes’ shtick as well. For an area that’s so popular with the public, this section of SWA tends to show (a) just how hard most winemakers find it to turn out a decent rosé and (b) how difficult it is to do it for a price.

Make no mistake, this has been a truly dismal area of the competition in the past, and the winemaker at Caves Foncalieu deserves some serious respect for making such a decent bottle for the price.

Olivier Marie of Coq d’Argent described the quality as ‘very mixed’, but despite quality and styles being somewhat all over the place, there were a few very definite trends.

First (and this may have been due to the preponderance of European, rather than New World entries at this price point), there was a definite move towards delicate-coloured roses rather than the ‘dental mouthwash’ versions that dominated a few years back.

Second, our teams saw a lot more bone-dry wines than they were expecting… but weren’t sure that they approved.

‘I think the off-dry styles can work better than the bone-dry examples, which are perhaps trying to look a little serious when people mainly want a simple, refreshing drink on a warm day,’ said consultant Patricia Stefanowicz MW.

Vinoteca’s Gus Gluck, however, was happy to see both styles. ‘With the popularity of rosé there’s room for more complex examples to make it on to the list as well – wines that will pair with light dishes, salads, fish, lunch. You can list both styles at different price points,’ he said.


From the Tasting Teams

‘There is a limit to price with a house or entry-level wine, but you shouldn’t put something on just because it is cheap – after all, it reflects on the reputation of your restaurant.’ Athila Roos, The Arts Club

‘Consumers that drink rosé often don’t think about it. It can make [the trade] lazy about the drink, which is why the quality is often very poor. But even if it is for everyday drinking it is important to get it right.’ Gus Gluck, Vinoteca

‘Most of these are delicate salmon rather than bubblegum hued. More people are going for this subtle, attractive colour, so it is good to see.’ Mark Thornhill, The Rockingham Arms