Awards and citations:

1997: Le Prix du Champagne Lanson Noble Cuvée Award for investigations into Champagne for the Millennium investment scams

2001: Le Prix Champagne Lanson Ivory Award for

2011: Vindic d'Or MMXI – 'Meilleur blog anti-1855'

2011: Robert M. Parker, Jnr: ‘This blogger...’:

2012: Born Digital Wine Awards: No Pay No Jay – best investigative wine story

2012: International Wine Challenge – Personality of the Year Award

Monday, 27 April 2009

Provence rosé ought to be in screwcaps

A return to Parsons Green this morning for a tasting of rosés from Provence – Côtes de Provence, Coteaux d'Aix en Provence and Coteaux Varois en Provence. Incredibly of the around 80 wines in the tasting a maximum of four were closed with a screwcap – completely stupid if the producers of Provence rosé are serious about increasing their share of the UK market.

There is still plenty of room for debate over whether screwcap is the best closure for wines designed for long aging but I think there is little doubt that screwcaps are the best option for wines that will be consumed quickly and informally. Screwcaps make these wines easy to open and to seal – ideal for picnics or busy restaurants. They avoid cork taint – much more apparent on a delicate rosé than a robust red. Furthermore major UK retailers now expect screwcaps for these types of wines as both Nick Room (wine buyer for Waitrose) and Chris Hardy (head wine buyer for Majestic Wine Warehouses) confirmed at the tasting.

I suspect that once again the tyranny of the French sommeliers and their resistance to screwcaps bears a significant proportion of the blame for keeping Provence rosé producers behind the times and crippling their UK export drive.


The Provence rosé producers are continuing their misguided campaign against blending white and red wine to make rosé – long standard practice in Champagne with a petition here. Although this morning there were some pleasant enough rosés, many of the 80 odd rosés shown this morning were pretty bland and anonymous. Fine on a fine day in a restaurant on the Côte d'Azur with some grilled fish but hardly worth rushing to the barricades for even if their future was threatened by the new proposals – which it is not.

This evening happily drinking and enjoying Frédéric Mabileau's 2008 Osez Rosé de Loire with its attractive pear and red fruits flavour and fresh finish. 12% alcohol compared to 13% or more for most of the Provence rosés.

Fellow writer, Hervé Lalau, has another posting on the rosé controversy. This time from a Swiss perspective.


roger said...

Interesting piece. Hadnt realised the low adoption of screwcaps for rose and I think your argument stacks up.

As for the red+white = rose furore, that's so French!

Jim's Loire said...

Thanks Roger. Good that my argument stacks up – but what matters here is what the retailers want.