La vie en rosé
For too long, rosé wines languished at the Liebfraumilch and Babycham end of the wine league tables: the Barbie-toned bottle left undrunk at BYOB parties; the choice for the likes of Joey from Friends’ dates (blush Zinfandel, to be precise), or drunk with an ironic smirk by kitsch-lovers. But in recent years, pink wines have shed their inferiority complex (along with their sugars), and emerged sleeker and drier to enjoy a surge of popularity as drinkers discover their light and easy appeal, and palatable prices, finds Cordelia Madden-Kanellopoulou.
The burgeoning harvest of Greek rosé wines can make an ideal accompaniment to sunny spring days and light meze meals, pairing perfectly with salads and ladera dishes, cheese or pasta. They can even hold their own at a barbecue, as they balance grilled meats without provoking them. Pick up some of the following at your local cava, and enjoy with a long, lazy Sunday lunch. Life starting to look rosier already?
- Vyssinokipos, Ktima Palivou: Nemean Agiorgitiko grapes are known for their vivid, velvety reds, but they also make a very refreshing rosé. With notes of cherry, raspberry and caramel, underlined with intense tannins, this wine from Ktima Palivou blends the local variety with Syrah with exceedingly drinkable results.
- Ambelones Thymiopoulou Rosé: Following his success with full-bodied reds, Apostolos Thymiopoulos decided to try his hand at rosé, using the same Xinomavro variety. The result keeps the tomato tones of this northern Greek grape, but its ageing in oak barrels tames those tannins.
- Vivlia Hora Rosé: Just about everything Vangelis Gerovasileiou and his winemaking partner at Vivlia Hora, Vasilis Tsaktsarlis, make drinks like nectar of the gods, and their rosé is no exception. It’s a one variety wine (Syrah) that exudes aromas of blueberries, cherries and raspberries, with lasting spicy notes. In a word: delicious.
- Claudia Papaioannou Rosé: A fine, cultured wine using Grenache Rouge and Syrah grapes, with a pomegranate blush and sweet aromas of red fruits, Claudia Papaioannou Rosé, sounds delicate but is rounded and rich enough in the mouth to be matched with almost any foods – or just enjoyed by itself on a balmy spring evening.
- Amyntaion Rosé Sec: We served this on our wedding day, popping the corks on a sunny summer’s day outside St Mary the Virgin in Oxford. Made by the Amyntaion Cooperative, it’s a robust sparkling wine, with wonderful strawberry notes, exuberant bubbles and balanced acidity, and what’s more, priced at around 11 euros, it offers great value for money. Whether a wedding day or just any regular Friday, this pink bubbly puts you in the mood for celebration.