Dom Pérignon Rosé 2002, which will be released in 2013.
LONDON - I admit it – many would say that heading Sotheby’s International Wine Department fosters a rosy view of the slings and arrows that beset us all, but sometimes a little extra help is needed – such as when facing the return to work after a blissful holiday.
In fact, I started the preparation for touchdown when I was still in Greece, drinking copious quantities of a stunning Rosé wine made in Western Macedonia’s Florina region, wisely sent southwards to the Mani where I was temporarily residing. It is not in the least surprising that this is a winner as it is made at the great Alpha Estate by a gifted winemaker, Angelos Iatrides. The cool, high vineyards, plus a state-of-the-art winery, deliver impressive wines of all colours, but the pink stuff, made from the native Xynomavro grape and the better-known Syrah, is totally addictive. There is power and huge flavour here, a really ‘serious’ rosé to down with souvlakia while contemplating the sun setting over an amethyst sea.
Richard Geoffroy of Dom Pérignon.
The withdrawal symptoms were considerable once again behind a desk. However, some alleviation came in the form of a visit to Britain’s best supermarket, Waitrose, where I ‘stumbled upon’ (must be careful here) pink Phaedra, a delicious but lighter rosé from the Amyndeo Co-Op in Florina, again emanating from the indigenous Xynomavro grape. For those whose school Greek is long behind them, Phaedra means bright and beautiful – and so this is. I wonder if local hero Alexander the Great built his empire on this liquid.
Still on the pink path to summery bliss, we raided the cellar at home to find scrumptious magnums of Côtes de Provence Rosé from Sacha Lichine’s piece of paradise, Château d’Esclans. Normally these gulpable wines are to be found on the grandest yachts in nearby St.Raphaël and St.Tropez, but they are just as good in London over a salade niçoise. Sacha set out to make high-end rosé, even claiming to make the most expensive pink wine in the world, but he was also intent on chasing quality, aided and abetted by the former winemaker at Mouton Rothschild, Patrick Léon. The top cuvée is Garrus, made from old-vine Grenache with a dash of Rolle. The long, slow fermentation in new French oak undoubtedly leads to the longevity of the wine as the 2007 is now all creamy vanilla and honey with a structure that pink wine never normally possesses. Sacha has cracked it.
The Dom Pérignon château in Hautvillers.
Finally, as a pink ‘bonne bouche’ with the finest of bubbles, what could beat Dom Pérignon Rosé 2002? I am not sure if I should even be writing about this as it will only be launched in early 2013, but blame the chap who made it, Richard Geoffroy, who gave me a sneak preview over some razor clams! This is a stupendous, winey, red-curranty gem, seamless right to the end – I can vouch for that as we finished the bottle. And yes, I did return to the office.
The cellars at Dom Pérignon.
Château d’Esclans – maker of some of the finest, and most expensive, rosé.
The vineyards at Château d’Esclans
Château d’Esclans celebrated Garrus.