The medal-winning wines from The Global Rosé Masters 2022

Following judging in June, we are able to reveal the full list of medal-winning wines from this year’s Global Rosé Masters, featuring outstanding wines from Hampshire to Rioja, and Sicily to Santorini, as well as, of course, Provence.

IN KEEPING with our Global Masters series, our competition for rosé brought in wines from a broad range of locations. While it was, as one might expect, those from increasingly popular Côtes de Provence that dominated, both in terms of number of entries, and Gold medallists, we did see greatness elsewhere, often with a pleasingly distinctive character too. After all, there’s little point creating something that can be done just as well in Provence, unless your aim is simply to do the same, but cheaper

As for those sources of brilliance from beyond the borders of Côtes de Provence, our shining examples in 2022 hailed from Spain, Italy and Greece, as you can see among the highlighted bottles over the following pages. Nevertheless, the highest-scorers of the competition were barrel-influenced rosés from Provence, made using Grenache and Rolle, which now seem to sit atop the pink wine pyramid like Chardonnay-Pinot Noir prestige cuvée blends from Champagne.

But beneath such high points we found much variation in style and quality. Disappointments came primarily among the samples in the £15-20 price bracket, where the judges would have liked to have seen see more colour and fruit flavours, as well as less reduction – smoky, rubbery, burnt-match sulphidic aromas were present in some samples. In certain cases, dilution was an issue, but rarely did we see any overripeness in today’s rosés – the pendulum has well and truly swung away from jammy flavours towards the lean, and sometime green, when it comes to pink wine.

Commenting on the difference between the top end of the rosé category compared to the lower end, long-standing Global Wine Masters judge Patricia Stefanowicz MW suggested that maybe not enough time is being devoted to the entry-point offerings in this sector.

Noting that “oaked dry rosés fared well”, she said: “Maybe winemakers are more willing to spend a little more time and effort on these wines to obtain balance and interest rather than the ‘quick, cool, gentle’ attempts to get the wine in bottle and on the shelf as soon as harvested?”

Nevertheless, as the following results show, there were plenty of wines that managed to both look and taste good. And, not all of these were from the fashionable southern coast of France.

Please read on to find out more about The Global Rosé Masters, as well as to see all the medal-winning wines from this year’s competition, starting with sparkling rosés, and then onto still wines, which are arranged according to price band and style (dry, off-dry, oaked). 

Winery Name of Wine Region Country Vintage Medal
Dry Sparkling Rosé
Under £10
Privat Privat Brut Nature Reserva Rosé Cava Spain 2019 Bronze
£10-£15
La Marca Vini e Spumanti Millage Prosecco DOC Rosé Millesimato Brut Veneto Italy 2021 Gold
Domaine d’Aussières “A” d’Aussières Rosé Pays d’Oc France 2021 Silver
Viña Valdivieso Eclat Brut Rosé Cinsault Itata Valley Chile NV Silver
Valdo Spumanti Valdo Paradise Rosé Brut Veneto and Sicily Italy NV Silver
La Marca Vini e Spumanti La Marca Prosecco DOC Rosé Millesimato Extra Dry Veneto Italy 2021 Silver
Valdo Spumanti Valdo Marca Oro Prosecco DOC Rosé Brut Veneto Italy NV Silver
Codorníu Cuvée Original Rosé Catalan Spain NV Bronze
Sogrape Vinhos Mateus Sparkling Brut Rosé Douro Portugal NV Bronze
£15-£20
Bortoluzzi Wines Rosa di Gemina Friuli-Venezia Giulia Italy 2021 Gold
La Cantina Pizzolato “M-Use” Spumante Rosato Extra Dry Veneto Italy 2021 Gold
Maison Louis Bouillot Perle d’Aurore Burgundy France NV Silver
Cantina Montelliana “Meliora 210” Prosecco Rosé DOC Brut Millesimato Veneto Italy 2020 Bronze
Codorníu Ars Collecta Grand Rosé Reserva Catalan Spain 2019 Bronze
SIdewood Estate Sparkling Pinot Rosé Adelaide Hills Australia NV Bronze
£20-£30
Sidewood Estate Sidewood Isabella Rosé Sparkling Adelaide Hills Australia 2015 Gold
Champagne Haton Rosé Champagne France NV Gold
Colesel Spumanti Pavana Rosé Veneto Italy 2020 Silver
Matahiwi Vineyards Matahiwi Estate Brut Rosé Wairarapa New Zealand NV Silver
La Cantina Pizzolato Vino Frizzante IGT Veneto col Fondo PIWI “Hurrà” Veneto Italy 2020 Bronze
£30-£50
Comtes de Dampierre Cuvée des Ambassadeurs Brut Rosé Premier Cru Champagne France NV Master
Hattingley Valley Wines Hattingley Valley Sparkling Rosé Hampshire UK 2018 Gold
Champagne Haton Rosé Extra Grand Cru Champagne France NV Silver
Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte Réserve Exclusive Rosé Champagne France NV Silver
Hambledon Vineyard Hambledon Classic Cuvée Rosé Hampshire UK NV Silver
Champagne Ayala Ayala Brut Majeur Rosé Champagne France NV Silver
Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte Cuvée Spéciale Rosé Champagne France NV Bronze
Champagne Gremillet Rosé Vrai France France NV Bronze
£100+
Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte Palmes d’Or Rosé Vintage Champagne France 2008 Gold

 

Winery Name of Wine Region Country Vintage Medal
Sweet Sparkling Rosé
Under £10
Casa Vinicola Abbazia di San Gaudenzio Abbazia Moscato Spuamnte Rosé “Fortuna” Piedmont Italy 2021 Bronze
EnoItalia Belvino Rosé Spumante Veneto Italy NV Bronze
£10-£15
De Bortoli Wines De Bortoli Petit Moscato Rutherglen Australia NV Silver
Perlage Afra Prosecco Treveso DOC Veneto Italy 2021 Bronze
Bosco Viticultori Prosecco Spumante Rosé DOC Extra Dry Veneto Italy 2021 Bronze
£15-£20
Val d’Oca Prosecco DOC Treviso Rosé Extra Dry Millesimato Veneto Italy 2020 Bronze
£20-£30
Foss Marai Della Vite Millesimato DOC Prosecco Rosé Treviso Italy 2021 Silver
3GP FIOL Prosecco DOC Rosé Treviso Italy 2021 Bronze

 

Winery Name of Wine Region Country Vintage Medal
Still Unoaked Dry Rosé
Under £10
Bodegas Marqués de Cáceres Rosado Rioja Spain 2021 Gold
Petricek Niederösterreich Rosé Zweigelt Primeur Niederösterreich Austria 2021 Gold
Baron Philippe de Rothschild Mouton Cadet Bordeaux France 2021 Gold
Bodega Inurrieta Inurrieta Mediodia Navarra Spain 2021 Silver
Les Vignobles Foncalieu Le Versant Limited Edition Languedoc-Roussillon France 2021 Silver
Barton & Guestier B&G Rosé Réserve Languedoc-Roussillon France 2021 Silver
Bodegas Gran Feudo Gran Feudo Rosado Navarra Spain 2021 Silver
Félix Solís Avantis Viña Albali Rosé Castilla-La Mancha Spain 2021 Silver
Distell Nederburg Winemasters Rosé Western Cape South Africa 2021 Silver
Distell Durbanville Hills Merlot Rosé Western Cape South Africa 2021 Silver
La Vieille Ferme Rosé Rhône France 2021 Silver
Laroche Rosé Languedoc-Roussillon France 2021 Silver
Bijou Le Bijou de Sophie Valrose Rosé Languedoc-Roussillon France 2021 Bronze
Gıdatay Prodom Rosé Aegean Turkey 2021 Bronze
Bodegas Alceño Alceño Rosado Jumilla Spain 2021 Bronze
Bodegas Ontalba Dominio de Ontur Syrah Rosado Jumilla Spain 2021 Bronze
Sogrape Vinhos Mateus Dry Rosé Alentejo Portugal 2021 Bronze
Steininger Niederösterreich Rosé Merlot Niederösterreich Austria 2020 Bronze
Pagos del Rey Arnegui Rosado Rioja Spain 2021 Bronze
Félix Solís Avantis Mucho Mas Rosé Spain Spain NV Bronze
Bodegas Luzón Luzón Colección Rosado Jumilla Spain 2021 Bronze
Bodegas Carchelo Carchelo Rosé Jumilla Spain 2021 Bronze
Bodegas BSI Genus Rosé Jumilla Spain 2021 Bronze
Jacob’s Creek LePetit Rosé Australia Australia 2021 Bronze
Hammeken Cellars Mirada Organic Rosé Castilla y León Spain 2021 Bronze
Cavit Terrazze Della Luna Pinot Grigio Rosato Vigneti delle Dolomiti IGT Trentino Italy 2021 Bronze
Bijou Terre de Providence Languedoc-Roussillon France 2021 Bronze
£10-£15
Domaine Royal de Jarras Tête de Cuvée Gris de Gris Bio Camargue France 2021 Gold
Bodegas Izadi Izadi Larrosa Rosé Rioja Spain 2021 Gold
Invivo & Co Invivo X, SJP Rosé Provence France 2021 Gold
Domaine de l’Amaurigue Rosé Provence France 2021 Silver
Chateau des Demoiselles Charme des Demoiselles Provence France 2021 Silver
Maison Mirabeau Mirabeau X Provence France 2021 Silver
Domaine Skouras Cuvée Prestige Rosé Argolida Greece 2021 Silver
SeaGlass Wine Company SeaGlass Rosé Monterey County USA 2020 Silver
De Bortoli Wines De Bortoli Rosé Rosé King Valley Australia 2021 Silver
Les Vignobles Foncalieu Cardounettes Languedoc-Roussillon France 2021 Silver
Saint-Roux Friponne Provence France 2021 Silver
Planeta Rosé Sicily Italy 2021 Silver
Bodegas Marqués de Cáceres Excellens de Marqués de Cáceres Rosé Rioja Spain 2021 Silver
Bodegas Olivares Olivares Rosado Jumilla Spain 2021 Silver
Moulin de Gassac Guilhem Rosé Languedoc-Roussillon France 2021 Silver
Bodegas Bilbaínas Viña Pomal Rosé Rioja Spain 2021 Silver
Portal del Montsant Brunus Rosé Catalan Spain 2021 Silver
Born Brands Born Rosé Barcelona Penedès Spain 2021 Silver
Maison Mirabeau Mirabeau Classic Provence France 2021 Silver
Susana Balbo Crios Uco Valley Argentina 2021 Silver
Bodegas Pío Del Ramo ‘Betola The Cat Wine’ Rosé Jumilla Spain 2021 Silver
Bieler Family Wines Charles & Charles Rosé Columbia Valley USA 2020 Silver
Conti di San Bonifacio Rosé IGT Toscana Tuscany Italy 2021 Silver
Wakefield/Taylors Wines Estate Pinot Noir Rosé Adelaide Hills Australia 2021 Bronze
Holden Manz Hiro Rosé Franschhoek South Africa 2021 Bronze
Marisco Vineyards The Ned Rosé Marlborough New Zealand 2021 Bronze
Beronia Beronia Rioja Rosé Rioja Spain 2021 Bronze
Veramonte Reserva Rosé Syrah Organic Casablanca Valley Chile 2020 Bronze
Bodegas Silvano García Silvano García Pink Jumilla Spain 2021 Bronze
Domaine Royal de Jarras Pink Flamingo Gris Tête De Cuvée Bio Languedoc-Roussillon France 2021 Bronze
Miraval Provence Studio by Miraval Rosé Provence France 2021 Bronze
Viña Casablanca Céfiro Rosé Casablanca Valley Chile 2021 Bronze
Concha y Toro Casillero del Diablo Chile Chile 2021 Bronze
Dievole Le Due Arbie Rosato Toscana IGT Tuscany Italy 2021 Bronze
Joel Gott Wines Joel Gott Rosé Central Coast USA 2020 Bronze
Bodega TorreCastillo TorreCastillo Rosado Jumilla Spain 2021 Bronze
Bodegas Bleda Castillo De Jumilla Rosado Jumilla Spain 2021 Bronze
Cielo e Terra Bericanto Rosato DOC Vicenza Veneto Italy 2021 Bronze
Moulin de Gassac Grande Réserve de Gassac Rosé Languedoc-Roussillon France 2021 Bronze
Marisco Vineyards Leefield Station Pinot Rosé Marlborough New Zealand 2021 Bronze
Maison Mirabeau Belle Année France France 2021 Bronze
Castillo de Ibiza Castillo de Ibiza Rosé Navarra Spain 2021 Bronze
Gérard Bertrand Gris Blanc Languedoc-Roussillon France 2021 Bronze
Les Vignobles Foncalieu Piquepoul Languedoc-Roussillon France 2021 Bronze
Pasqua Vigneti e Cantine Spa 11 Minutes Rosé Trevenezie IGT Veneto Italy 2021 Bronze
Barton & Guestier B&G Côtes de Provence Rosé Provence France 2021 Bronze
Buontalenti Gordon Ramsay Elegante Roasto Abruzzo Italy 2020 Bronze
£15-£20
Château la Gordonne Summertime BIO Provence France 2021 Master
Domaine Royal de Jarras Favet 9/10 Domaine Royal de Jarras Tête De Cuvée Bio Sable de Camargue France 2020 Gold
Famille Sumeire Château Coussin Provence France 2021 Gold
LGI Wines Kylie Minogue Collection Côtes de Provence Rosé Provence France 2021 Gold
Caves d’Esclans Whispering Angel Provence France 2021 Gold
J. Chivite Family Estates Chivite Las Fincas Rosado Ribera del Duero Spain 2021 Gold
Torre Mora Scalunera Etna Rosato Sicily Italy 2021 Gold
Les Vignobles André Lurton Diane by Jacques Lurton Rosé Bordeaux France 2021 Gold
Château Sainte Roseline Lampe de Meduse Cru Classé Provence France 2021 Silver
Domaine de l’Amaurigue Rosé Fleur de l’Amaurigue Provence France 2021 Silver
Maison Mirabeau Mirabeau Etoile Provence France 2021 Silver
Avantis Estate Lenga Pink Evia Greece 2021 Silver
Château des Demoiselles Château des Demoiselles Provence France 2021 Silver
Famille Sumeire Château Maupague Provence France 2021 Silver
Domaine St Jean de Villecroze Selladore En Provence Provence France 2021 Silver
Villa Bogdano 1880 Pinot Grigio Ramato DOC Venezia Veneto Italy 2020 Silver
Res Fortes Wines Res Fortes Rosé Languedoc-Roussillon France 2021 Silver
Famille Sumeire Château La Jouliane Provence France 2021 Silver
Domaine la Grande Bauquiere Moment Inattendu Provence France 2021 Silver
Feudi di San Gregorio VIsione Campania Italy 2021 Silver
Château de Berne Terres de Berne Provence France 2021 Silver
Vaglio Vaglio Uco Valley Argentina 2021 Silver
Maison Mirabeau Azure Provence France 2021 Silver
Masciarelli Villa Gemma Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo DOC Abruzzo Italy 2021 Silver
Folc Folc English Rosé Kent UK 2020 Bronze
Justino’s Madeira Wines Colombo Rosé DOP Madeirense Madeira Portugal NV Bronze
Rioja Vega Rosado Colección Tempranillo Rioja Spain 2021 Bronze
Les Vignobles Foncalieu Château Haut Gléon Languedoc-Roussillon France 2021 Bronze
Matahiwi Vineyards Matahiwi Estate Pinot Rosé Wairarapa New Zealand 2021 Bronze
Santa Carolina Carolina Collection Series Maule Chile 2021 Bronze
Château la Gordonne Vérité du Terroir BIO Provence France 2021 Bronze
Château Léoube Rosé de Léoube Provence France 2021 Bronze
Léoube Love by Léoube Rosé Provence France 2021 Bronze
Maison Mirabeau Mirabeau Pure Provence France 2021 Bronze
£20-£30
Domaines Ott By.Ott Provence France 2021 Master
Ultimate Provence Ultimate Provence Provence France 2021 Master
Anhydrous Winery Grance Santorini Greece 2021 Gold
Maison Gutowski Grande Cuvée Provence France 2021 Gold
Attems Pinot Grigio Ramato Friuli Italy 2021 Gold
Miraval Provence Miraval St Victoire Provence France 2021 Silver
Miraval Provence Miraval Rosé Provence France 2021 Silver
Alpha Estate Rosé Single Vineyard Hedgehog Florina Greece 2021 Silver
Famille Sumeire César à Sumeire Coussin Provence France 2021 Silver
Hammeken Cellars Ecologica Girasol Rosé Organic Castile-León Spain 2021 Silver
Fantinel Sun Goddess Pinot Grigio Ramato DOC Friuli Friuli-Venezia Giulia Italy 2021 Silver
Château la Gordonne La Chapelle Gordonne Tête de Cuvée Bio Provence France 2021 Silver
Famille Sumeire Château l’Afrique Provence France 2021 Bronze
Dominio de Punctum 99 Rosas Rosé Organic Castile-León Spain 2021 Bronze
Domaine Beauvence L’Originelle Provence France 2021 Bronze
Susana Balbo Signature Uco Valley Argentina 2021 Bronze
Rumor Rosé Provence France 2021 Bronze
£30-£50
Château la Gordonne Le Cirque des Grives Provence France 2019 Gold
Château Léoube Secret de Léoube Provence France 2021 Gold
Domaine Beauvence Bellimontis Provence France 2021 Silver
Maison Gutowski Réserve Provence France 2021 Silver

 

Winery Name of Wine Region Country Vintage Medal
Unoaked Medium-Dry Rosé
Under £10
Piccini Costa Toscana Rosato Organic Tuscany Italy 2021 Gold
Cono Sur Bicicleta Pinot Noir Rosé Bío Bío Valley Chile 2021 Gold
Pasqua Vigneti e Cantine Chiaretto di Bardolino DOC Classico Veneto Italy 2021 Silver
Cramele Recas Sole Roze Recas Romania 2021 Silver
The Iconic Estate Byzantium Rose Dealu Mare Romania 2021 Silver
Cramele Recas Muse Night Roze Recas Romania 2021 Silver
Viña Concha y Toro Frontera Rosé Santiago Chile 2021 Bronze
The Iconic Estate Prahova Valley Merlot Rosé Dealu Mare Romania 2021 Bronze
Schenk Italia Masso Antico Primitivo del Salento IGT Rosato Puglia Italy 2021 Bronze
Schenk Italia Amicone Pinot Grigio delle Venezie Doc Rosé Veneto Italy 2021 Bronze
Enoitalia Spa VOGA Italia Veneto Italy 2021 Bronze
Cramele Recas Vara Rose Recas Romania 2021 Bronze
Cramele Recas Solara Roze Recas Romania 2021 Bronze
£10-£15
Cantine San Marzano Tramari Rosé di Primitivo Salento IGP Puglia Italy 2021 Bronze

 

Winery Name of Wine Region Country Vintage Medal
Unoaked Sweet Rosé
Under £10
Sula Vineyards Sula Zinfandel Rose Nashik India 2021 Bronze
Viña Concha y Toro Reservado Santiago Chile 2021 Bronze
Julià & Navinès Ecologica La Pluma Rosé Penedès Spain 2021 Bronze
Sogrape Vinhos Mateus Rosé Original Alentejo Portugal NV Bronze

 

Winery Name of Wine Region Country Vintage Medal
Oaked Dry Rosé
Under £10
Finca El Origen Rosé Uco Valley Argentina 2021 Bronze
£10-£15
Gérard Bertrand Côte des Roses Languedoc-Roussillon France 2021 Gold
Bijou Éminence de Bijou Languedoc-Roussillon France 2021 Bronze
£15-£20
Gérard Bertrand Hampton Water Languedoc-Roussillon France 2021 Gold
Gérard Bertrand Source of Joy Languedoc-Roussillon France 2021 Gold
Château de Berne La Grande Cuvée Provence France 2021 Silver
Bodegas Juan Gil Juan Gil Rosado Jumilla Spain 2021 Silver
Marisco Vineyards The Kings Desire Pinot Noir Rosé Marlborough New Zealand 2021 Silver
Domaine Skouras Peplo Rosé Argolida Greece 2021 Silver
Finca Albret Albret Rocío Navarra Spain 2021 Silver
De Bortoli Wines La Bohème Act Two Dry Rosé Yarra Valley Australia 2021 Bronze
£20-£30
Caves d’Esclans Rock Angel Provence France 2020 Gold
Domaine la Grande Bauquiere Moment Suspendu Provence France 2021 Gold
Domaine Thomson Surveyor Thomson Central Otago ‘Pinot Rosé’ Central Otago New Zealand 2021 Silver
Château Sainte Roseline La Chapelle de Sainte Roseline Cru Classé Provence France 2021 Silver
Global Wines Casa de Santar Dão Portugal 2020 Silver
£30-£50
Marchesi Frescobaldi Aurea Gran Rosé Tuscany Italy 2020 Silver
Château d’Esclans – Domaines Sacha Lichine Château d’Esclans Provence France 2020 Silver
Domaine la Grande Bauquiere Moment Singulier Provence France 2020 Silver
£50-£70
Château d’Esclans – Domaines Sacha Lichine Les Clans Provence France 2020 Master
£100+
Château d’Esclans – Domaines Sacha Lichine Garrus Provence France 2020 Master
Miraval Provence Muse de Miraval Provence France 2020 Gold

About the competition

With high-quality judges and a unique sampling process, The Global Rosé Masters provides a chance for your wines to star.

The 2022 competition was judged on 16 June at Aquavit, London, employing experienced judges, including Patrick Schmitt MW, Alex Canneti, Andrea Briccarello, Patricia Stefanowicz MW, Conal R Gregory MW, Siobhan Turner MW and Jonathan Pedley MW.

The top wines were awarded Gold, Silver, or Bronze medals according to their result, and those expressions that stood out as being outstanding in their field received the ultimate accolade – the title of Rosé Master. This report features the medal winners only.

Please visit the Global Masters website for more information, or, to enter future competitions – giving you the chance to feature online and in print – please call: +44 (0) 20 7803 2420 or email Sophie Raichura at: sophie@thedrinksbusiness.com

The Global Rosé Masters 2020: results and highlights

We bring you all the medal winners and our top picks from this year’s Global Rosé Masters, which is the biggest single blind tasting of pink wines in the UK so far this year.

All the following recommendations hail from 2020’s Global Rosé Masters, a competition that sees all sources of pink wine judged side by side with only the most basic knowledge of style and cost.
While Champagne excelled in the pink sparkling category, and Provence was the dominant force in the still dry rosé and oaked rosé categories, there were plenty of other sources that featured.
Indeed, among the sparklings, it was a Crémant de Bourgogne that wowed for its quality and relative value, while among the still wines, we had an ultimate barrel-fermented rosé that was not from Provence.
Furthermore, among the Golds were stunning salmon-coloured drops from a broad array of locations, from Greece, to Priorat, and within Italy, both Sicily and the Tuscan coast.
As for the base standard of wines this year, it was undoubtedly better than ever before – and we’ve been running The Global Rosé Masters for almost a decade.
So, look below for a listing of all the medallists from this year’s competition, and read on to see our highlights, and to find out more about the tasting.

Dry sparkling rosé (12 g/l or lower)

Company Wine Name Region Country Vintage Medal
Under  £10 
Bortoluzzi Rosa di Gemina Friuli-Venezia Giulia Italy 2019 Silver
Valdo Spumanti Valdo Marca Oro Rosé Brut Veneto and Sicily Italy NV Silver
Vigna Dogarina Spumante Rosé Brut Veneto Italy NV Bronze
Bosco del Merlo Spumante Rosé Brut Veneto Italy NV Bronze
 £10-£15
Matahiwi Estate Matahiwi Estate Brut Rosé Wairarapa New Zealand NV Silver
Valdo Spumanti Valdo Floral Rosé Brut Veneto and Sicily Italy NV Silver
Colesel Spumanti Pavana Rosé Spumante Veneto Italy 2018 Bronze
 £15-£20
Maison Louis Bouillot Perle d’Aurore Bourgogne France NV Silver
Fantinel Fantinel “One & Only” Rosé Brut Friuli-Venezia Giulia Italy 2019 Silver
 £20-£30
Maison Louis Bouillot Perle d’Or Rosé Bourgogne France 2015 Gold
Tenuta Montemagno TM Brut 24 Mesi – Metodo Classico Piedmont Italy NV Bronze
 £30-£50
Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte Cuvée Spéciale Rosé Champagne France NV Gold
Gusbourne Estate Rosé Kent UK 2016 Gold
Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte Reserve Exclusive Rosé Champagne France NV Silver
 £50+
Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte Palmes d’Or Rosé Intense Champagne France 2008 Master

Sweet sparkling rosé (+12 g/l)

Company Wine Name Region Country Vintage Medal
Under  £10 
Bosco Viticoltor Rosato Spumante Bosco dei Cirmioli Veneto Italy NV Bronze
£15-£20
Andreola Bollé Vino Spumante Rosé Extra Dry Veneto Italy NV Silver
Tenuta Montemagno TM Roses – Malvasia di Casorzo DOC Spumante Piedmont Italy NV Silver
Banfi Rosa Regale Piedmont Italy 2019 Silver

Still unoaked dry rosé (4 g/l or lower)

Company Wine Name Region Country Vintage Medal
Under  £10 
Mirabeau en Provence Belle Année Provence France 2019 Gold
Les Vignobles Foncalieu Le Versant Grenache Languedoc-Roussillon France 2019 Silver
Biecher Le Chef Rosé Languedoc-Roussillon France 2019 Silver
Bodegas Luzón Luzón Rosado Colección Jumilla Spain 2019 Silver
Cielo e Terra Bericanto Rosato Vicenza DOC Veneto Italy 2019 Silver
Casa Girelli Canaletto Pinot Grigio delle Venezie DOC Veneto Italy 2019 Silver
Les Vignobles Foncalieu Piquepoul Languedoc-Roussillon France 2019 Bronze
Les Vignobles Foncalieu Ensedune Cabernet Franc Languedoc-Roussillon France 2019 Bronze
Les Vignobles Foncalieu Griset Sauvignon gris Languedoc-Roussillon France 2019 Bronze
Les Vignobles Foncalieu Les Amours d’Haut Gléon Languedoc-Roussillon France 2019 Bronze
Dievole Le Due Arbie Rosato Tuscany Italy 2019 Bronze
Bodegas Alceño Alceño Rosado Jumilla Spain 2019 Bronze
£10-£15
Gérard Bertrand Hampton Water Languedoc-Roussillon France 2019 Gold
Chivite Las Fincas Rosado Navarra Spain 2018 Gold
Mirabeau en Provence Mirabeau Classic Provence France 2019 Gold
Lawson’s Dry Hills Pink Pinot Marlborough New Zealand 2019 Gold
Maison Gutowski M–G Grande Cuvée Provence France 2019 Gold
Born Rosé Barcelona Born Rosé Penedès Spain 2019 Gold
Gérard Bertrand Côte des Roses Languedoc Languedoc-Roussillon France 2019 Gold
Holden Manz Hiro Franschhoek Valley South Africa 2019 Silver
Barton & Guestier Rosé d’Anjou Loire Valley France 2019 Silver
Bodegas Izadi Izadi Larrosa Rioja Spain 2019 Silver
Vignerons de Tutiac Lion & The Lily Bordeaux France 2019 Silver
Marisco Vineyards The Ned Rosé Marlborough New Zealand 2019 Silver
Gérard Bertrand Côte des Roses Rosé Languedoc-Roussillon France 2019 Silver
Marisco Vineyards Leefield Station Pinot Rosé Marlborough New Zealand 2019 Silver
Les Vignobles Foncalieu Paradis Secret Languedoc-Roussillon France 2019 Silver
Mission Hill Estate Winery Reserve Rosé Okanagan Valley Canada 2019 Silver
Frescobaldi Alìe Tuscany Italy 2019 Silver
Rioja Vega Rosado Colección Tempranillo Rioja Spain 2019 Silver
Mirabeau en Provence Mirabeau Pure Provence France 2019 Silver
Viña Leyda Leyda Rosé Leyda Valley Chile 2019 Silver
Bodegas Príncipe de Viana Príncipe de Viana Edición Rosa Navarra Spain 2019 Silver
Bodegas Olivares Olivares Rosado Jumilla Spain 2019 Silver
Piera 1899 Pietra di Pinot Grigio Blush DOC delle Venezie Friuli-Venezia Giulia Italy 2019 Silver
Bodegas Bilbainas Viña Pomal Rosado Rioja Spain 2019 Silver
Raimat Raimat Rosada Catalonia Spain 2019 Silver
Santa Tresa Rosa di Santa Tresa Sicily Italy 2019 Silver
Château de Sannes 1603 Provence France 2019 Bronze
Wakefield/Taylors Wines Pinot Noir Rosé Adelaide Hills Australia 2019 Bronze
Australian Vintage Nepenthe Altitude Pinot Noir Rosé Adelaide Hills Australia 2019 Bronze
£15-£20
Château Saint Jacques d’Albas La Chapelle en Rose Languedoc-Roussillon France 2019 Gold
Mission Hill Estate Winery Terroir Rosé Okanagan Valley Canada 2019 Gold
Minuty Minuty Prestige Provence France 2019 Gold
Château Léoube Rosé de Léoube Provence France 2019 Gold
Château Léoube LOVE by Léoube Provence France 2019 Gold
Mirabeau en Provence Mirabeau Etoile Provence France 2019 Gold
Chamlija Rosé de Strandja Strandja Mountain Turkey 2019 Silver
Château de Sannes Aciana Provence France 2019 Silver
Maison Saint Aix AIX Rosé Provence France 2019 Silver
Les Vignobles Foncalieu Domaine Haut Gléon Languedoc-Roussillon France 2019 Silver
Banfi Srl Cost’è Tuscany Italy 2019 Silver
Torre Mora Scalunera Etna Rosato DOC Sicily Italy 2019 Silver
Tenuta Moraia Rosato Maremma Toscana DOC Tuscany Italy 2019 Silver
Alpha Estate Rosé Single Vineyard Hedgehog Amyndeon Greece 2019 Silver
Poggio al Tesoro Cassiopea Tuscany Italy 2019 Silver
Château Des Demoiselles Charme des Demoiselles Provence France 2019 Silver
Roseline Diffusion Roseline Prestige Provence France 2019 Silver
Australian Vintage Winemakers Select Tempranillo Rose Adelaide Hills Australia 2018 Bronze
£20-£30
Domaines Ott By Ott Provence France 2018 Master
Minuty Château Minuty Rose et Or Provence France 2019 Gold
Scala De Scala Dei Pla dels Angels Catalonia Spain 2019 Gold
Château Léoube Rosé Secret de Léoube Provence France 2019 Gold
Château des Demoiselles Château des Demoiselles Provence France 2019 Gold
Caves d’Esclans Whispering Angel Provence France 2019 Gold
Gusbourne Estate Cherry Garden Rosé Kent UK 2019 Silver
Château Sainte-Roseline Cru Classé Lampe de Méduse Cru Classé Provence France 2019 Silver
£30-£50
Domaines Ott Clos Mireille Rosé Provence France 2018 Master
Château Léoube Rosé La Londe Léoube Provence France 2019 Gold
Château Sainte Roseline Cru Classé La Chapelle de Sainte Roseline Cru Classé Provence France 2019 Silver
£50+
Minuty Château Minuty 281 Provence France 2019 Master

Unoaked medium-dry rosé (4 g/l to 12 g/l)

Company Wine Name Region Country Vintage Medal
Under  £10 
Bosco del Merlo Pinot Grigio Rosé DOC Veneto Italy 2018 Silver
Cantine di Ora Masso Antico Primitivo Rosé Puglia Italy 2019 Silver
Botter Vivolo di Sasso Veneto Italy 2019 Silver
Mission Hill Estate Winery Estate Rosé Okanagan Valley Canada 2019 Silver
Casa Vinicola Sartori Vero d’Oro Rosato Veneto Italy 2019 Silver
Pasqua Vigneti e Cantine Pasqua Mater Anna Pinot Grigio
Rosé delle Venezie DOC
Veneto Italy 2019 Bronze
Siegel Wines Siegel Rosé Cinsault Colchagua Valley Chile 2019 Bronze
Bodegas San Dionisio SF Rosado Jumilla Spain 2019 Bronze
Botter Pinot Grigio Rosato delle Venezie DOC Veneto Italy 2019 Bronze
£10-£15 
Bird in Hand Bird in Hand Rosé Adelaide Hills Australia 2019 Silver
Pasqua Vigneti e Cantine Cecilia Beretta Freeda Rosé Trevenezie Veneto Italy 2019 Silver
Cantine San Marzano Tramari Rosé di Primitivo Salento IGP Puglia Italy 2019 Bronze
Bodegas Carchelo Carchelo Rosé Jumilla Spain 2019 Bronze
Cantine di Ora Amicone Corvina Rosato Verona IGT Veneto Italy 2018 Bronze
Cantine di Ora Il Casato – Schiava Valdadige DOC Trentino-Alto Adige Italy 2019 Bronze
Cantina di Bertiolo Villa San Martino Pinot Grigio Blush Friuli-Venezia Giulia Italy 2019 Bronze
Pasqua Vigneti e Cantine Pasqua 11 Minutes Rosé Trevenezie IGT Veneto Italy 2019 Bronze
£15-£20
Bird in Hand Bird in Hand Pinot Nero Rosé Adelaide Hills Australia 2019 Silver
£20-£30
Fantinel Sun Goddess Pinot Grigio Ramato Friuli-Venezia Giulia Italy 2019 Gold

Oaked dry rosé (4 g/l or lower)

Company Wine Name Region Country Vintage Medal
£10-£15
Gérard Bertrand Joy’s Languedoc-Roussillon France 2019 Gold
Chivite Las Fincas Rosado Fermentado en Barrica Navarra Spain 2018 Gold
Marisco Vineyards The King’s Desire Pinot Rosé Marlborough New Zealand 2019 Bronze
Finca Albret Albret Rocío Navarra Spain 2019 Bronze
£15-£20
Bodegas Juan Gil Juan Gil Rosado Jumilla Spain 2019 Silver
Australian Vintage Tempus Two Copper Rosé Hunter Valley Australia 2019 Silver
Quinta Nova de Nossa
Senhora do Carmo
Quinta Nova de Nossa
Senhora do Carmo Rosé
Douro Portugal 2019 Bronze
£20-£30
Gérard Bertrand Château la Sauvageonne La Villa Languedoc-Roussillon France 2019 Master
Terra Sancta Wine Terra Sancta Special Release First Vines Rosé Central Otago New Zealand 2019 Silver
£30-£50
Domaines Ott Château Romassan Provence France 2018 Gold
Caves d’Esclans Rock Angel Provence France 2019 Gold
Château d’Esclans Château d’Esclans Provence France 2018 Gold
Poggio al Tesoro Cassiopea Pagus Cerbaia Tuscany Italy 2017 Silver
£50+
Gérard Bertrand Clos du Temple Languedoc-Roussillon France 2019 Master
Château d’Esclans Les Clans Provence France 2018 Master
Château d’Esclans Garrus Provence France 2018 Master

Results: Rosé Masters 2019 – Asia

If you think rosé wine is just an easy-drinking summer tipple then think again. Winemakers around the world are taking it seriously, and, as a result, are producing top-class expressions.

TO MANY wine drinkers, rosé captivates them with its romantic pinkish hue. It is usually the staple drink at a summer party; yet it can also be served in Michelin-starred restaurants with dishes crafted meticulously by the world’s leading chefs. It is a category that comes in a vast variety of colours and styles, all of which set a unique challenges for the panel judges in the latest round of the Rosé Masters – Asia.

“From a wine-merchant perspective, we find it hard to take rosé wines seriously. It is seldom that the wine drinkers would go for its complexity; instead, it is almost like a soft drink with a bit of alcohol, clean and simple,” said judge Ken Man, buyer & fine wine specialist at Ginsberg+Chan. The statement is true in that rosé is largely seen as “the fun and go-to summer drink”, in part thanks to viral trends on social media. But attitudes are changing. Eddie McDougall, award winning winemaker and wine critic, said: “The market is ever-growing and changing. Nowadays it is no longer as women-oriented as we used to perceive it as being. In the US, a lot of big guys are going for rosés, and the fad is growing even stronger than craft beers.” Thankfully, in our assessment things got off to a promising start with a clutch of Bronze medals in the entry-level category. Wine specialist and professional Anty Fung said they were “clean, crisp, easy drinking. As supermarket wine, they don’t shout complexity. For this price point, whichever wine gets everything correct deserves recognition if it’s good value for money.”

McDougall was particularly intrigued by the Gérard Bertrand Côte des Roses, which he described as “obviously fruit forward, and it has a savoury element that keeps your mouth watering and wanting to have a second sip”. However, the panel spotted minor faults in the other samples, with a few tasting notes describing some of the principal pitfalls of entry-level rosé, such as, “artificial”, “cloying” and “oxidized”. Oak is another area where opinions on its use in rosé tend to diverge. Gérard Bertrand’s oaked rosé, Château La Sauvageonne La Villa, was one such wine. Wine writer Sarah Wong thought “the oak usage is distracting,” but others felt differently, appreciating its influence. She added: “I think rosé is made for a certain market. Wine producers may want to make the wine with a certain profile; in that case the most sought-after rosés are still light in style with pinkish hues to meet the perception of what the majority drinkers are looking for.”

Speaking of market recognition, we all know France has a well-established array of still rosés, particularly from Provence. Other wine regions, such as the Languedoc-Roussillon and the Rhône, have adopted the Provençal style, using the same grape varieties and production techniques. By and large, France is still the most important rosé-producing country in the world, and accounted for 28% of the total output in 2017. Living up to its reputation, the Provence wines shone in the competition, with four Gold medals awarded. Some of the most acclaimed expressions from famous wineries, for instance Château d’Esclans’s Whispering Angel and Maison de Grand Esprit’s Côtes de Provence l’Etre Magique Rosé, both enjoyed high scores for different reasons. The former performed well thanks to its concentration and zestiness, and a long and persistent finish that drew the judges’ attention. The latter was rather different. In place of sweet fruity notes, the rosé was deemed “serious”, with a somewhat orangey colour and complex, tangy flavours which belied its place in the rather humbly priced HK$200-HK$300 category. Moving beyond the classic French regions, global production has been on the rise since the early 2000s, rising from 18.3 million hectolitres in 2002 to an expected 25m hl in 2020, an increase of almost 10% in two decades. New-world regions in the southern hemisphere have also caught up with the pink craze, and have almost quadrupled rosé production over the past two decades. Refinement in quality is also rising, as our results showed. In several price categories, ranging from HK$100 to HK$300, Australian and New Zealand rosés excelled.

Australian Vintage (the parent company of McGuigan Wines, Tempus Two and Nepenthe) and Marisco Vineyards (parent company of Leefield Station, The Ned and The Kings Series), two leading wine producers in Adelaide Hills in Southern Australia and the South Island in New Zealand respectively, were the biggest winners. Both bagged a gold medal in the below-HK$150 price band, with rosés made with 100% Pinot Noir. Australian Vintage’s Altitude Pinot Noir Rosé and the Leefield Station Pinot Rose, were both “showy and vibrant”, noted Terry Wong, retail manager & sommelier at Ginsberg + Chan. The Leefield Station Pinot Rosé, with its immaculate and honest red fruit character charmed McDougall, who praised its “generous and intense style.” As an avid winemaker, McDougall added: “Most dry rosés are in blends now to create complexity. Great rosés along the Mediterranean coast tend to use varieties that ripen early, for example Grenache and Tempranillo. This way, the flavours can develop without many tannins. Pinot Noir, however, experiences more influence from the skin because it is picked later, and much more care is needed to tackle this delicate grape.”

McDougal himself makes a rosé under his Flying Winemaker brand, and talked about what style of rosé he was after. He said: “Stylistically, I am inspired by rosé wines that age. Not for decades but those that show their best after three to four years in the bottle. The wine must be dry, slightly salmon in colour in its youth and more onion-skin with time in bottle. It needs to be layered, lengthy and complex. “Technique-wise, the industry is being more thought-out now. I value the handling of the fruit with extra attention. In addition to not using sulphur, now I prefer pressing the grapes all the way through, followed by filtration, rather than cold settling.”

Among all the winners, there was one that raised a few eyebrows. Awarded a Silver medal, the Alpha Estate Rosé from Greece illustrated the increasingly mature winemaking behind Greek rosé. A blend of Xinomavro and Syrah, the rosé blend did not display ‘typical’ characteristics, but was still “very decent with impressive fruit notes,” said Jones. Moving slightly up to the range between HK$150 and HK$200, the Australian wines competing in category excited the panel, with the well-made Zilzie Selection 23 being awarded a gold. The rosé revolution has taken off. Our competition this year again proved that there is never a bad time to delve into the colourful world of pink wines.

Rosé Masters 2019: results and analysis

We bring you the results in full from this year’s Rosé Masters, which saw pink wines from Provence get top results, although samples from Corbières and Tuscany also impressed our exacting judges.

The wines were tasted at Beach Blanket Babylon Restaurant and Bar in London’s Notting Hill

Of all the categories in the vast universe of fermented grape-based drinks, rosé is the most dynamic. With the rising call from consumers for pale pink wines, above all from Provence, it seems almost every corner of the wine world is now making a rosé, and in the lightest possible shade of pink.

With such an influx of new products, it has become more important than ever before to blind taste the latest entries to this fast-expanding sector, whether it’s range extensions from long-standing pink wine producers, or the latest vintage from famous rosé regions, as well as complete newcomers to the category. Over recent years, the Global Rosé Masters, which is the largest rosé-only blind tasting in the world, using the trade’s top palates, has unearthed some wonderful and unexpected sources of great rosé, and 2019’s competition was no different in this regard. It has also highlighted the general strengths and weaknesses in this important and increasingly commercial category of drinks.

In terms of the good points, it seems that more winemakers are mastering the challenge of creating something that is both fresh and delicate, as well as ripe and soft. This can be made harder if the wine must also – as the market demands – be extremely pale.

In my view, rosé should have juicy flavours of red berries and peach, and a finish that is bright, if not biting. It should have appealing summertime aromatics of fresh red fruit, and a texture that ensures it slips down the throat with no harshness, but a soft acidity that makes one salivate.

Where the samples fail to get top scores, it is usually because the wines lack some of the riper fruit characters in the drive for delicacy and refreshment, with, sadly, some of the entries tipping into the herbaceous flavour spectrum, giving them a firm greenness that takes away from the pleasure of sipping rosé.

At the finer end of the rosé scale, where retail prices exceed £20, I am not in support of the school of thought that says oak has no place in pink wine. It’s a view I don’t understand: why should the colour of the drink dictate the winemaking approach? After all, one wouldn’t say that about white or red wine, so why would one about rosé?

Outstanding examples

While there are great examples of pink wine at high prices that see no oak influence, there are more outstanding ones that do (three of our four Master-winning wines were in the ‘oaked’ category). Where barrels have not been employed to add texture and complexity, producers have turned to other techniques to add palate weight, such as lees influence in tank, as well as the careful selection of ripe fruit, rich in flavonoids, and no doubt picked from older or lower-yielding vineyards.

Here, the pleasure comes from the fruit intensity, the balance between softness and freshness, and the layers of flavour that can come from a blend of sites and grape varieties, and ageing on fine lees. Aromatics are vital to the appeal of a rosé, and to capture them, producers must handle the grapes sensitively, with the chilling of the berries a necessity as soon as they are picked, as well as during the winemaking process.

Pioneering perfection

What about those top-end pinks that have some form of barrel influence, including a proportion of new oak? This is something that Château d’Esclans has pioneered and perfected in the rosé category, using its best wines from its oldest Provençal vineyards. Key to the appeal of these wines is the match between the soft ripe fruit flavours and the nutty, creamy characters imparted by the barriques – each of which is temperature controlled to retain the fresh berry characters of the Grenache that dominates in their wines. In essence, these wines are a hybrid, combining the complexity of a barrel-fermented Chardonnay with the aromatic appeal of a Mediterranean rosé.

However, Château d’Esclans no longer has a monopoly on such a style. As we’ve highlighted before, Gerard Bertrand has burst onto the upmarket rosé scene with great success, particularly his smoky, gently toasty Château La Sauvageonne La Villa from the Languedoc.

This year, there was another entrant to this tiny category of top-end oak-influenced fine rosés, and it didn’t come from France. For me, this year’s most interesting find was from Frescobaldi, and it was a barrel-fermented and aged rosé from Tuscany, called Aurea Gran Rosé. It employs a complicated winemaking process, but, like the great rosés of Château d’Esclans, the fermentation takes place in temperature-controlled barrels – which in the case of the Frescobaldi pink – are 600-litre French oak, with 20% of them using new staves. An added layer of complexity in this wine also relates to the addition of a small proportion of reserve wine from a previous harvest; a white produce from Syrah that has been aged in barrique for 20 months.

Increased quality

The addition of this particular wine to the ranks of our Gold medal-winning rosés also draws attention to a trend that’s gathering momentum in the pink wine category – the increased quality of rosés from Tuscany. These are often sourced from coastal locations, and employ a touch of Vermentino – which is, after all, the Italian synonym for Rolle, the white grape used widely in the rosés from Provence. Three first-rate examples of Tuscan rosés were sampled blind this year, one from Fattoria Sardi, one from Banfi, and another, called Alie – like the aforementioned Aurea – from Frescobaldi. These weren’t the only standouts from Italy, however, with the Scalunera Etna Rosato from Torre Mora another delicious pink, and using Sicily’s fashionable Nerello Mascalese, a grape that’s adapted to the rocky hillsides of this Italian island’s active volcano, Etna.

Elsewhere, we were highly impressed by the quality-to-price ratio seen in La Dame en Rose from the Languedoc, a Carignan, Cinsault, and Grenache stocked by UK supermarket Marks & Spencer, retailing for just £6. We were also pleased to see a lovely pink blend from Bordeaux called Lion & The Lily, along with a delicious Pinot rosé from Marlborough, made by Marisco Vineyards, and a benchmark Provençal example from Château Léoube. Corbières in the Languedoc was a source of a stand-out rosé from quality-orientated co-operative, Les Vignobles Foncalieu, called Château Haut Gléon, while the highest-scoring unoaked rosés in 2019 were made by Château Minuty, with its Minuty 281 the better-value option, while its £50+ Rosé et Or gained the ultimate accolade of Master.

A mention should go to Canada’s Mission Hill, which gained two Golds for its delicious blended rosé from its vineyards in Osoyoos in the Okanagan Valley, as well as to Gusbourne in the UK, for its delicious sparkling rosé from Kent, although Coates & Seely’s pink English fizz from Hampshire came close in quality. We were also impressed by the style of sparking rosé from Champagne’s Nicolas Feuillatte, which is crafting a chalky style of fizz with a touch of crunchy red berry fruit.

Finally, although we’ve already written about Château d’Esclans, this year’s blind tasting once more proved that this producer is at the top of the pink wine pyramid, picking up three of the four Masters given out this year. Indeed, this Provence estate’s Les Clans, and its ultimate expression, Garrus, should be served, preferably ‘blind’, and in black glasses, to those who believe that wine can’t be both pink and serious, layered and ageworthy.

Such is the quality of these products that rosé should now be included in a list of truly fine wines.

The judges (left to right): Giovanni Ferlito, Patrick Schmitt MW, Patricia Stefanowicz MW, Jonathan Pedley MW, Andrea Briccarello, Tobias Gorn

Read on for the full list of medallists, judges comments, and more information about the competition.

Organic Masters 2018: the results in full

We reveal all the medallists from the UK’s only blind tasting for certified organic wines, with some surprising results, including top scores for fizz from Surrey and Champagne aged in the sea, as well as a Sauvignon Blanc blend from Mallorca, plus a stunner from the Minervois.

The Organic Masters 2018 was judged by a panel comprising MWs and one MS at Opera Tavern in London. The judges were (left to right): Sam Caporn MW; Patricia Stefanowicz MW; Susan McCraith MW; Alistair Cooper MW; Beverly Tabbron MW; Patrick Schmitt MW, Clement Robert MS

It’s safe to say that every wine region in the world has at least one producer who employs certified organic viticultural practices – a statement that this year’s Organic Masters certainly lends weight to. With medal-winning samples from a vast array of places, from Surrey in south-east England to the Spanish island of Mallorca, we found greatness in areas little-known for top-end wines, let alone organic vineyard management. Such results also proved that even challenging climates, such as those in the UK and Champagne, can produce class-leading wines using this restrictive approach.

Not only that, but organics spans all price bands, with plenty of entries this year sub-£10, and a handful over £50 too, highlighting that this form of viticulture can be employed to produce wines at the commercial end of the pricing scale, as well as in the territory of fine wine.

Importantly, the tasting proved that being organic, or more accurately, using organically-grown grapes, is a decision that need not be detrimental to quality. Although the choice to eschew synthetic herbicides, pesticides and fungicides does generally leave one more vulnerable to yield losses, it should not negatively affect the style of the resulting wine. In fact, particularly where organic practices are combined with life-enhancing soil management, such an approach should heighten the wine quality, and, as some producers will insist, bring a more accurate reflection of site specifics, or terroir.

Although it is certainly possible to find drawbacks in the organic approach, any ambitious, quality-minded producer should be doing everything possible to augment soil health – after all, it is this substrate that is a great domaine’s most valuable asset.

So with that in mind, who were the star producers that managed to be both certified organic and a source of greatness? In the sparkling category, it was notable how many organic Proseccos we saw in this year’s tasting, and their consistent level of quality, with no fewer than eight Silver medals awarded across a range of price points. We also had a lovely good-value Cava from J. Garcia Carrión, along with a pleasant organic Lambrusco from Cantine Riunite, and, like last year, a brilliant fizz from Oxney, in England’s East Sussex.

But for the very top of the pile, just two Golds were awarded in the sparkling wine sector. One, as one might expect, went to a Champagne – and the biodynamic Leclerc Briant brand, resurrected in 2012 by American investors, and curated by respected sparkling winemaker Hervé Jestin. Although their range of Champagnes are excellent, it was the new cuvée Abyss that gain a top score, a blend that has been aged at the bottom of the sea. The other Gold was more of a shock, awarded to a pink fizz from England. This refreshing, pretty, strawberry-scented sparkling hailed from the organic and biodynamic Albury Vineyard of the Surrey Hills, and the judges felt it was a real find.

As for the still wines, it was exciting to see some good quality and great value organic wines from countries such as Romania and Bulgaria, along with some well-known brands, such as Marqués de Cáceres and Quinta de Maipo, as well as longstanding Australian organic-only wine producer, Angove.

It wasn’t until the wines moved beyond the £10 mark that our first Golds were awarded, with, in whites, a wonderful and original sample from Mallorca, comprising Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc and Prensal Blanc, made by Oliver Moragues. Within the £10-15 category in reds, we saw Golds awarded to wines from areas well-suited to organic viticulture, such as the Languedoc, Sicily, Jumilla and South Africa’s Tulbagh region – the latter from Waverley Hills.

Moving beyond £15, but staying below £20, it was thrilling to unearth a wonderful organic dry Riesling from the Nahe, and, among the reds, a magnificent balanced, gently peppery Syrah from the Minervois, made without the addition of sulphites by biodynamic specialist of southern France, Château Maris. Despite its relative affordability, the judges awarded this latter sample the ultimate accolade, a Master.

At the higher end, over £20, the judges were wowed by a rosé from Domaine la Goujonne in Provence, and a Shiraz from Gemtree Wines in the McLaren Vale.

But our only other Master of the day’s tasting went to a further Syrah and another wine from Château Maris – this time the producer’s top drop, called Dynamic. Such a sample proved not only the quality of this brand, but also the potential of biodynamically-farmed vines in the cru of Minervois La Livinière – the Languedoc’s most celebrated place for Syrah.

In short, the day’s tasting drew attention to the wide range of places where organic viticulture is practised to glorious effect, whatever the wine style. Being organic may not be a guarantee of quality, but it certainly shouldn’t be seen as a farming decision to the detriment of vinous excellence. And this year’s Organic Masters proved that decisively.

Over the following pages are the results in full, followed by details about the competition and comments from the judges. 

Asian Rosé Masters 2018: Results and Analysis

Rosé, the pink wine that has forever been linked with sun-soaked summers, beach holidays and cruise trips, has more depth and complexity than one might have thought. Top medal-winning wines from our inaugural Asian Rosé Masters competition prove that a great rosé is more than a pretty pale colour, the frivolity of marketing gimmicks, and celebrity tie-ins.

From left to right: Kyle Oosterberg, wine director at The Flying Winemaker; YK Chow, independent wine consultant; Ivy Ng, former publisher of the drinks business Hong Kong; Corinne Mui, COO and senior wine educator at Asia Wine and Spirits Education Centre (AWSEC); Juwan Kim, head sommelier at Zuma Hong Kong; Stefano Bartolomei, manager and wine director at Arcane.

Much like a white or a red wine, a well-crafted rosé shows no shortage of aromas, flavours and complexity. Popular opinion often goes that rosé in general is a no-frill, carefree, easy and light drink, giving rise to the idea floated around by some marketers calling for the exemption of rosé wine from any kind of serious critiquing because of its so called “ephemeral summer-friendly nature”. This, however, sounds suspiciously like sloppy natural winemakers advocating faulty wines. An honest, well-made rosé demands – and should be given – the same kind of attention and respect reserved for a white Burgundy.

This year’s competition, as judge Stefano Bartolomei, manager and wine director of Michelin-starred restaurant Arcane, pointed out, showed the high level of quality found in all the samples around the world, and a concerted effort among winemakers to reposition the pink wine.

To put it lightly, Bartolomei reminisced that in the past, producers made rosé as a “solution” to deal with leftover reds and whites, or excessive red wine must. But with rosé’s profitability and commercial success (in France, for instance, rosé’s volume sales have surpassed white wine), today’s rosé winemaking is hardly a necessity to dissipate stocks but a new field for winemakers to experiment with wine styles from colour extraction, sugar level to virtually undiscriminating use of all red varieties such as Cinsault, Grenache, Pinot Noir, Sangiovese, Cabernet Franc, and Tempranillo to produce still and sparkling wines.

Yu-Kong Chow, independent wine consultant and judge

This lends the winemaker a creative hand to develop a new dimension of rosé wine, as Junwan Kim, head sommelier of Zuma noted. “It’s a chance to establish a new dimension of rosé wine by creative winemakers, unlike white or red winemakers who stick to traditional grape varieties. But winemakers certainly shouldn’t treat rosé wine as byproduct or additional wines when they make red or white wine,” as the sommelier deduced.

In addition, more premium rosés with a bit of barrel ageing, body and texture are increasingly embraced by the on trade and sommeliers for more versatile food pairings, according to Corine Mui, COO and senior wine educator at AWSEC, when speaking about the new and recent ‘Rosé Gastronomique’ trend. Cantonese food in particular, as she singled out, is a match made in heaven for rosé wine especially for signature dishes like BBQ pork and fried rice.

Kyle Oosterberg, wine director at The Flying Winemaker

This is echoed by Bartolomei, who believes rosé is becoming a starter-to-finish, full menu-worthy food wine.

“Until 15 years ago, you would never thought of suggesting it for the whole meal,” he exclaimed, as most associate it as an aperitif. “The key of the change has been the offer. More and more producers are offering nowadays very high quality and various types of rosé wines. That gives the sommelier the chance to propose it for a lot of dishes with different consistencies, flavours and fat content.”

The industry’s efforts to elevate rosé’s profile is best demonstrated in our Asian Rosé Masters Results with three wines winning the highest accolade of Master – one from Australia which is stunning value for money at under HK$150, and another two from France’s Languedoc and Champagne, respectively. New World regions such as Australia and New Zealand gave the traditional rosé historic base, Provence, a run for the money with the highest number of Gold-medal winners. Silvers are abound in countries such as Italy and Spain, traditional markets for the pink wine, and many medal winners from this year’s competition more encouragingly are mainly from the commercially viable price category of HK$100-HK$300.

Rosé from down under 

About the competition

The Asian Rosé Masters is a competition created and run by the drinks business Hong Kong, and is an extension of its successful Asian Masters series. The competition is exclusively for rose wines and the entries were judged by a selection of experienced tasters including Hong Kong’s top sommeliers, sommeliers and wine educators. The top rosé wines were awarded Gold (93 points or above), Silver (89 points or above) or Bronze (85 points or above) medals according to their result, and those rosé that stood out as being outstanding received the ultimate accolade – the title of Master (97 points or above). The wines were tasted over the course of a single day on 4 July, 2018 at The Flying Winemaker’s office in Central. This report features only the medal winners.

The beauty of blind tasting, as we have stressed again and again in the past, is that we can put all wines regardless of wine regions on the same level playing field, without bias and preconceptions. Judged only by price and style (still, off-dry and sparkling), the competition saw the most number of Gold medal and Master medal winners under HK$150. Out of the total seven gold medals we have given out, five came from this price band, confirming that there’s plenty of quality in value – all from down under in Australia and New Zealand.

“French producers still led the category at the top end of the spectrum, with gems from Australia and New Zealand giving a run for the money, particularly at the lower price range,” Yu-Kong Chow, independent wine consultant and wine judge, commented after all the identifies of the wines are revealed.

At this level, judges are looking for approachable wines that are well balanced with abundant fruit characters and refreshing acidity. One stand-out is actually Jacob’s Creek Le Petit Rosé, a Provence style light coloured rosé produced from southeastern Australia. This crisp wine with plenty of berry and floral notes, perhaps is the quintessential quaffable rosé, and yet more stunningly, costs less than HK$100. Similarly, New Zealand’s Yealands Wine Group’s two value wines – Babydoll Rosé and Clearwater Cove Rosé – made from Pinot Noir grape in Marlborough impressed the panel with its depth of fruit character and liveliness. The three wines all achieved Gold medal in the under HK$100 price band.

Stefano Bartolomei, manager and wine director at one Michelin-starred restaurant Arcane in Wanchai

Moving slightly higher up in the HK$100-HK$150 price bracket, it is another leading Australian wine producer, Australia Vintage, parent company of McGuigan Wines, Tempus Two and Nepenthe, that proved to be the biggest winner. The McGuigan Rosé from Australia’s cool climate Adelaide Hills is lauded by Bartolomei for its “long finish and great complexity” with a “fresh floral and very clean” nose, earning the top prize of Master, the highest scoring Australian wine in this competition.

Another high-scoring rosé is also from Adelaide Hills. The bone dry, full-bodied Nepenthe Altitude Rosé 2017 is redolent with red fruits, and subtle cranberry and grapefruit notes, earning it a Gold. The Marisco Vineyards’ The Ned Pinot Rosé, blended from Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris from Marlborough, is a crowd-pleaser noted for its strong and focused core of fruits and razor-sharp acidic edges.

In the HK$151-HK$200 category, it is a copperish-coloured Romato from Italy’s venerable Marchesi Frescobaldi estate’s Attems rosé made in Northern Italy’s Friuli Venezia Giulia that swept the judges away with its incredibly long lingering flavours, flinty minerality and red core fruits.

Shades of rosé

Corinne Mui, COO and senior wine educator at AWSEC, Hong Kong’s oldest wine and spirits education centre

So far, most of the samples are Pinot dominated rosé made in the non-impassive stainless tanks with gentle pressing and short maceration to emulate Provence’s light-coloured style, still arguably the most popular category among consumers, which also makes it the most successful one by far in export market.

“I think nowadays, a consumer is trained to think that pale pink rosés are where the quality lies and more than half of the world market for rosé is made pale. Producers can’t sell dark rosé abroad even if the quality of the wine is fantastic so the darker rosés are made for local consumption (especially in the New World) and the paler ones for the international market,” explains Kyle Oosterberg, wine director of The Flying Winemaker, organiser of the Rosé Revolution tasting events in Asia.

Admittedly, Provence rosé is coveted around the globe, but in this competition, with a wide spread of wines from across the globe, Provence entries performed well mostly in the Silver medal chart with fine representations from Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s ‘Miraval’, Chateau Routas Rosé and Chateau d’Ollieres Prestige Rosé.

The age old question 

The judges

Corinne Mui, COO and senior wine educator at AWSEC
Juwan Kim, head sommelier at Zuma Hong Kong
Stefano Bartolomei, manager and wine director at Arcan, a one Michelin-starred restaurant in Wanchai
Kyle Oosterberg, wine director at The Flying Winemaker
Yu-Kong Chow, independent F&B consultant and wine judge
Ivy Ng, former publisher, the drinks business Hong Kong

Within France, another challenger came from Provence’s neighbour to the west, Languedoc. The sunny region bagged one Master medal with Gérard Bertrand Château la Sauvageonne La Villa 2017. Made from Grenache, Mourvedre, Vermentino, Viognier, the wine is a more complex version of rosé with six months of ageing in oak, giving it an extra layer of subtle toastiness on top of berry fruit flavours. The Grenache varietal is co-fermented with Vermentino and Viognier to ensure a seamless integrity, and the efforts are righteously awarded by the judges.

This brings out a ticklish quality of the wine that has both rosé condemned and praised for – age, in the form of oak ageing and ageing potential.

Juwan Kim, head sommelier at Zuma Hong Kong

Granted many love rosé for its early drinking ability, a character that differs drastically with tannic reds, as nearly all samples of the competition are from either 2017 or 2018 vintage. Yet this ephemeral quality made many question rosé’s ageing potential, leading people to believe rosé is meant to be drunk young.There are however exceptions to the rule, as we have seen from top rosé from Bandol or Chateau d’Esclan’s premium Burgundian style ‘Garrus’, and also the top medal winner Gérard Bertrand Château la Sauvageonne La Villa that can age and improve over years.

This Languedoc rosé is a fine example of how oak and barrel ageing can compliment rose’s overall quality if a wine has enough fruit core and acidity. For most producers, the key to rosé is its fruitiness, thus most are fermented in stainless steel tank to retain the fresh fruits. But with thicker skinned grapes with higher acidity such as Mouvedre, Tempranillio and Grenache, oak and barrel is applied more liberally in line to produce a more age-worthy rose.

“like with many other wines, oak needs to be applied judiciously, and this would be no different for rosé as well. When done well, they taste fresh and vibrant in their youth, yet becoming more complex and mellowed as they grow older with dried fruits coming to the fore as the fresh fruits are nudged into the background. The texture would also transform becoming softer and more velvety,” Chow analysed.

“An early indication of such an example is evidenced by the stellar performance and potential of the 2017 vintage of Château La Sauvageonne La Villa from Gérard Bertrand in this competition,” he praised.

The key however as wine educator Mui succinctly summarised still hangs in balance. “Whether oak/barrel can improve the quality, it still depends on the balance of everything, i.e. oak, fruit flavours, acidity, body etc.” she demurred. “This is still the same for wines of all colours”.

Judges unwrapping all the wine samples after blind tasting to reveal wine identities

Of course, with more ageablity comes with higher price tags. “It depends on producers to be honest. Some styles of rose can be aged. For example, Clos Cibonne Tibouren Cuvée Spéciale des Vignettes can be aged for more than 5 to 6 years. But we can’t expect same longevity from wines under HK$1,000 per bottle,” Kim from Zuma restaurant exclaimed.

Another category of rosé that can withstand longtime ageing is top cuvée from Champagne. The Champagne Lanson Rosé Label Brut Rosé NV, A blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier with racy acidity is a vibrant, flinty, superb sample of rosé that won over the judges with a much deserved Master, with firm certainty of ageing potential. The Champagne house’s Extra Age Brut Rosé with additional five years of ageing before release has more richness and bottle maturity on the front. The more vivid pink-coloured bubble was awarded a Gold as well. Both wines fall into the pricier HK$400-HK$800 price category.

Overall, the samples are correctly made except a couple that showed hints of rotten egg, which could be excessive sulfur dioxide.

Rosé Masters 2016: the results

Spanning every hue from ballet-shoe pink to almost ruby red, and encompassing a broad range of sugar levels and styles, the rosé category has much more to offer than the pale stuff from Provence – as our Rosé Masters showed.

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It should come as no surprise that a category defined only by its colour should contain huge diversity. With wines from the palest of pink to almost ruby red, bone dry to almost cloyingly sweet, reductively handled to barrel-aged, as well as gently spritzy to fully sparkling – there’s little you won’t find from producers of pink wines. However, as with any wine category, some approaches are more successful than others, while commercially, this is a category that sells on appearance – and it’s the pale ballet-shoe pink of Provençal rose that’s attracting the punters at present.

In this year’s Rosé Masters, all styles and quality levels were represented, and, like previous years, certain wines divided opinion. Where debate arose, it concerned what exactly a rosé is, stylistically. For some it is a straightforward, fresh and youthful wine best served straight from the fridge. For others, it can also be a serious product, with structure, made for food and, indeed, laying down.

While a right or wrong answer to such discussion was good fuel for pre-and post-sampling conversation, the tasting was focused on quality – with each judge assessing the wines on show on balance, intensity and complexity, according to price band, whatever the winemaker’s approach.

ABOUT THE COMPETITION

The Drinks Business Global Rosé Masters is a competition for rosés from around the world. This year’s event saw 160 entries judged blind by a panel of highly experienced tasters.

The best wines were awarded medals which ranged from Bronze through to Gold as well as Master, the ultimate accolade given only to exceptional wines in the tasting.

The wines were tasted over the course of one day at Les 110 de Taillevent in London on 14 June. This report features only the medal winners.

GROWING UP

Nevertheless, the range in both quality and style of rosé proved that this is a category in transition. It appears to be growing up, but not fully mature, as rosé makers experiment with different winemaking approaches.

As Provençal rosé specialist Elizabeth Gabay MW commented on the pink wine category after the tasting: “What we are witnessing is a wine style evolve”. But certain themes emerged strongly this year.

One was the colour variation at the lower end of the price spectrum, particularly compared with higher price bands. Below £15, and rosés ranged from the barely noticeably pink-tinged products to dilute red drinks, prompting judges to wonder whether the term rosé should in fact come with a defined colour spectrum.

At the higher end, over £15, it seemed that all producers wanted one thing: the pale hue of the typical Provençal pink. While this may be the desired appearance for high-spending pink-loving consumers, achieving this light shade wasn’t always to the wine’s advantage – such brief skin contact could leave a wine without the depth and length of flavour to justify higher prices.

Having said that, as judge Hugo Rose MW observed: “The Provençal model is being exported, so other countries are now confident producing a very delicate style of rosé, and a number of other sources are quite successful at this style.”

Sebastian Payne MW concurred, but also lamented the resulting standardisation in rosé appearance and style, while observing the market reality: buyers want a pale product. “I think it’s sad that everyone thinks that their wine has to look like Provençal rosé,” he said.

“At The Wine Society we can sell wines with more fruit, flavour and colour, like Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo, but the commercial pressure to take the colour out is huge.”

Layout 1SWEET STYLES

Another issue concerned sugar levels. Like all styles of rosé, those over 4g/l were looked at without prejudice and assessed according to their quality level, with the judges searching for balance, aware that there is a large market for sweeter styles.

One judge, Jonathan Pedley MW, said: “The basic requirements for sweet rosé are fresh, bright red berry fruit, and a lot of the more commercial rosés can carry quite high residual sugar levels if they have a decent acidity and not too much alcohol.

“But a number of the sweet inexpensive samples were poor, tired wines that probably never had decent fruit in the first place.”

A similar sense of success and failure in sweet rosé was recorded by Gabay, who said: “I was very surprised at how well some wines handled residual sugar – maybe a lesson that dry doesn’t always equal good.

If the wine was well made the sugar was less obvious. “South Africa’s Vondeling, Château St Jacques’s La Chapelle from the Minervois, and Australia’s Bird in Hand were all lovely examples of good rosés with more sugar [between 3 and 4g/l].

And the Rosé d’Anjou from Remy Pannier was a prime example of how a sweet rosé [16g/l] could also work.

I’m not sure when it would be drunk, but it was juicy and jolly.” On the other hand she added: “The problem with some of the sweeter rosés was that sugar can be compensation for poor winemaking techniques among producers trying to get a pale colour – they are reducing the skin contact time to get a pale colour and then using residual sugar to get the flavour.”

Concluding on this topic, Gabay noted that in southern France, there is an increasing trend for drinking rosé with ice, which alters the balance for sweeter styles.

“Some of the sweeter styles of rosé are being made for serving over ice, which changes the balance, and perhaps we should taste them that way,” she said.

JUDGES COMMENTS

SEBASTIAN PAYNE MW
“Rosé should be made properly like white wine. Free–run (saignée) roses, which are basically made to improve the red juice, are uninteresting and age fast, as do nasty concoctions made by adding red wine to white wine.

The strong market for pink Champagne and Provence means that these categories can get away with very fancy prices, not deserved on quality grounds.

“Rosés must have charm. I regret the way the wine world so envies the success of Provence rosé that everywhere else tries to imitate its taste and colour.”

PATRICIA STEFANOWICZ MW
“The sparklings were really rather good, although when we reached the Champagnes, pricey. The £15-20 still dry wines probably offered the best rapport qualité-prix.

The more expensive dry still wines were, in some cases, absolutely delicious, including those with noticeable oak influence, provided there was enough fruit and acidity to support the oak. The most disappointing were the non-dry still wines. We had few awards there, and quite rightly, in my opinion. Most of these non-dry still didn’t get the equilibrium between sweetness and acidity (and flavour) correctly. Sad really, as these styles could be made more of for casual sipping or even pudding.

“It doesn’t really make much difference about the varieties used provided the fruit, alcohol and acidity (and sugar where used) are in balance.
“Some of the wines from Provence were very good; others disappointing.”

ELIZABETH GABAY MW
“There were too many wines that were lacking in fruit, with a few using sugar to create a feeling of ripeness. It needs a confident winemaker to make a rosé with weight and complexity, and the three rosés that won Masters, interestingly enough, came from three good Provence winemakers.

“I was very surprised at how well some wines handled residual sugar – maybe a lesson that dry doesn’t always equal good.”

HUGO ROSE MW
“Rosé is becoming more international. Greater producer engagement, efficiency in the cellar and possibly swifter logistics have brought a wider range than ever to the market, with the accent on up-to-the-minute vintages. A decade ago the latest vintage was shipped too late for the northern hemisphere summer.

“The wide range is a response to the rosé boom of recent years. Along with some exceptional wines, our thirst for the style has sucked in rather too many dull wines too.

“Provence and other French Provence-style wines were of a high standard, and the 2015 vintage looks like one to go large with. Elsewhere there were some pleasant surprises (Greece, Romania) and some howlers. But what is clear is the opening up of the supply base. Hopefully the market has not peaked too soon.

“As for surprises: sample 238 [Château La Sauvageonne]; at last there is a competitor for Garrus.”

THE ACID TEST

Aside from depth of colour and sugar levels, another point of discussion was acidity, which, of course, was particularly relevant to the sweeter styles, but also key to bone dry rosés.

Pedley commented: “Quite a lot of the rosés were from the 2015 vintage, which [in France] was a warm year, with a good level of ripeness, which means that if you’re not careful you will get low acids… and there were some wines suffering from flabbiness.

“With Côtes de Provence rosé, the flavour of the month, I see this problem quite often, which is partly because of the climate there, but also because of the Grenache used for Provençal rosé, which is an inherently lowacid grape.

“So, those wines have to be well made – you want vibrant red fruit and freshness, and the risk is if you lose the acid then those wines can be flabby.”

On the other hand, he added: “Getting the balance right is crucial, and what you don’t want is any herbaceous character.”

OAK TREND

Finally, there was the issue of oak use in rosé. Interestingly, Gabay, who lives in southern France and regularly visits the producers of Provençal rosé, big and small, says there’s a lot more oak use in the famous pink wine region than many believe, and applauds its use to add texture and complexity to the wines.

Similarly, Patricia Stefanowicz MW was impressed with the oaked rosés sampled in this year’s tasting, although she stressed the need for balancing fruit with oak.

“The more expensive dry still wines were, in some cases, absolutely delicious, including those with noticeable oak influence, provided there was enough fruit and acidity to support the oak,” she said.

Taking a different view, however, was Pedley, who said: “I’ve done a big set of tastings looking at premium rosé and I find the oaked wines a bit contrived – in most cases I don’t find the oak integrates with the vibrant fruit I value in rosé.”

For Gabay, the issues surrounding the use of oak in rosé, both to add flavour and texture, is a question of perception – after all, the use of oak, new and old in all its formats, is not just accepted, but soughtafter in whites and reds, particularly at the top end.

“We need to think about what we want from a rosé, and the problem is, rosé is regarded as a simple wine, and it is an intellectual wine,” she said.

THE HIGHLIGHTS

Considering the sparkling rosés first, the first Gold was awarded once the entries slipped over the £20 mark, with, significantly, a Franciacorta gaining this accolade in the £20-£30 band, suggesting that the Italian region offers a better quality-to-price ratio than other traditional method pink fizz at these prices, including Champagne and English sparkling.

Moving over £30, it was a Chardonnay dominant Champagne from Comte Audoin de Dampierre that wowed the judges, becoming one of five entries across all categories to earn the ultimate accolade of Master.

Champagnes from the Lanson Group performed exceptionally well too between £30 and £50, with both the Lanson Rosé NV and the company’s Besserat de Bellefon brand picking up Golds.

It was surprising to find a first-rate Tuscan sparkling in this category, with Marchesi Fescobaldi’s vintage Leonia Pomino Rosé awarded a Silver.

Over £50, one would expect high quality, and setting a tough act to follow was Champagne De Saint Gall for its Grand Cru Rosé – awarded a Master – and Lanson’s Extra Age Rosé and Laurent-Perrier’s Cuvée Rosé, which both gained Golds.

BENCHMARK ROSÉ

Moving to still dry rosés between £10 and £15, the judges were impressed with the benchmark Provençal rosé that was the Pure Mirabeau, as well as the delicious pale pink from Château Brown in Bordeaux – a rosé with brightness and structure due to appearance and whiff of vanilla from its time spent ageing in new oak barriques, tends to divide opinion.

However, this year the judges were all amazed by the power, complexity and, importantly, balance of this wine, which delivered refreshment along with interest. However, Sacha Lichine, the man behind d’Esclans, should watch out – the flagship rosé from Gérard Bertrand, using a blend of Grenache, Mourvèdre, Vermentino and Viognier grown at the company’s Château La Sauvageonne in the Languedoc, is an exceptional wine that rivals Garrus for style and quality.

Indeed, if one wanted proof that rosé can deliver cool refreshment and be a serious drink, then try the top pinks from Bertrand and Lichine.

THE JUDGES (L-R)

> Hugo Rose MW
> Patricia Stefanowicz MW
> Patrick Schmitt MW editor-in-chief, the drinks business
> Roberto Della Pietra, sommelier and brand ambassador, French Bubbles
> Sebastian Payne MW, wine buyer, The Wine Society
> Elizabeth Gabay MW
> Beverly Tabbron MW
> Adrian Garforth MW
> Jonathan Pedley MW, wine lecturer and consultant
> Clément Robert MS, group head sommelier and wine buyer, 28º-50º

Rosé Masters 2017: the results

This year’s Rosé Masters showed that while Provence still rules when it comes to making rosé, other regions – such as England, Turkey and Greece – are giving it a run for its money. By Patrick Schmitt MW

Let’s face it, hosting a tasting competition according to whether a wine were white or red would be ridiculous, quite simply because the colour provides a limited indication as to the character of the wine, and the breadth of style is practically endless. But, somehow, with rosé, such an approach – creating a wine competition just for a specific colour – is quite normal, and that’s because rosé is an indication of style, albeit loosely.

If you see something pink, one assumes it’s light in body, youthful, fresh, and tastes of summer berries. As for whether or not it’s sweet or dry, that too, tends to be judged by appearance – one suspects that the paler the pink, the drier the rosé.

But, although rosé is still, for the most part, a relatively simple, refreshing, strawberry-scented drink best served straight from the fridge, the range of styles has expanded vastly over the past few years. Not only that, but the quality levels have broadened too, with rosé moving successfully into the sphere of luxury drinks.

As for assessing the sweetness level according to hue, that is a dangerous game, particularly now every pink wine-producing corner of the world seems intent on creating a rosé as pale as those from Provence.

This diversification in style and quality, even if there seems to be an increasing standardisation in appearance, makes a tasting competition for nothing but rosé an extremely interesting experience. And, thanks to the current popularity of Provençal pinks, an exercise of great commercial significance.

About the competition

The Drinks Business Global Rosé Masters is a competition for all styles of rosés from around the world. This year’s event saw almost 200 entries judged blind by a panel of highly experienced tasters. The best wines were awarded medals which ranged from Bronze through to Gold as well as Master, the ultimate accolade given only to exceptional wines in the tasting. The wines were tasted over the course of one day at Bumpkin in London’s South Kensington on 17 May. This report features only the medal winners.

NEW SOURCES
So what did this year’s Rosé Masters teach us? Well, we learnt much about the category, but, as with all our Masters tastings, the competition confirmed the superiority of certain places, while drawing attention to new sources of greatness.

And both outcomes are extremely useful. To tackle the former, in sparkling, once again we saw that the pinnacle of pink winemaking performance was found in Champagne. Here is a place already famous for making the best sparkling wines in the world, and this year’s Rosé Masters proved that this is just as true for pink, as well as for white variants.

Greatness was found at all price bands over £20 too, with Gremillet taking a Gold at the cheaper end of the Champagne spectrum, Lanson and Comtes de Dampierre doing similarly brilliantly in the mid-priced area, and then, at the top, Laurent-Perrier, particularly for its range-topping Alexandra Rosé from the 2004 vintage; which gained the ultimate accolade of the day: the title of Master.

This was well deserved, certainly, but such quality comes at a high price: this prestige cuvée rosé retails for more than £250.

As for those areas less well known for brilliance, in the sparkling rosés, the surprises came in the form of a lovely and relatively inexpensive pink fizz from Tuscany, along with, notably, a couple of first-rate examples from England. The judges awarded two Golds to Bolney Wine Estate in Sussex, both for vintage expressions, but from different harvests and with different dosages.

It was further evidence that England is becoming a serious source of fizz.

Moving to the still dry rosés – which made up the majority of the tasting – the competition showed that at lower price points (those wines under £10 in UK retail), the sources of quality were varied, although, as one might expect at these low prices, it was hard to achieve a Gold medal.

Nevertheless, the judges were highly impressed with the quality achieved for a wine costing a little over £10, which came from Rioja – and that was the Izadi Larrosa, hence its Gold-medal winning score.

Indeed, Rioja proved itself a first-rate source of good-value rosé based on Grenache and Tempranillo, with the region’s Ontañon Clarete also gaining a Gold.

(Rioja can also create brilliant top-end rosé – with the region’s Marqués de Murrieta the only winery to get a Gold in the £30-£50 price band, aside from famous Provençal producer Château d’Esclans.)

But staying in the sub-£10 sector, it was notable that a broad range of places are now making bright, appealing pink wines, including some areas that are less well known for rosé.

These included Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley, home to the excellent Château Ksara Sunset Rosé, and Penedès, home to the Ecologica La Pluma Rosé, made using organic Tempranillo, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon from Penedès in the northeast of Spain.

Once the judges began sampling wines from beyond the £10 barrier, but below £15, Provence, as one might expect, provided the benchmark in terms of quality and style. With a mix of just-ripe red fruits, a touch of peachy, oily palate weight and a refreshing finish, these extremely pale, rather delicate pinks are only made difficult to taste because they are hard not to swallow.

However, there is much quality variation in Provençal rosé, with some wines showing a leanness, and sometimes even a hard herbaceousness – and only the best had mastered the balance of fruit sweetness and citrus freshness, as well as that gently viscous mid-palate, cut short with that all important bone-dry bright finish.


And you can see the producers that shone this year, some of which one would expect to perform well – from Mirabeau to Château Léobe, along with the wines from Famille Sumeire, Domaines Ott, Maison Saint Aix, and Château d’Esclans.

HIGH-QUALITY ROSÉ
But among the more pricey rosés, there were surprises.

One of these concerned the quality of pink wines from Greece, with La Tour Melas, Ktima Biblia Chora and Alpha Estate all gaining good scores from the judges.

Although none of these producers gained a Gold, the fact they were awarded Silver medals, and in the higher price bands of £15 and above – where the judges tend to be meaner with the scores – the results showed that Greece is making really high-quality rosé.

The final revelation from this year’s Rosé Masters concerned one particular producer, that, significantly, isn’t within the hallowed terroir of the Côtes de Provence. The appellation is the Languedoc, and the producer is Gerard Bertrand. Gaining one Master, one Gold and two Silvers, it is clear that Gerard Bertrand is the new name to watch in rosé.

Not only that, but for those who thought that luxury, barrel-aged rosés were the sole preserve of Sacha Lichine’s winery in the Côtes de Provence, then try Bertrand’s Château La Sauvageonne Rosé La Villa. From a plot high in the Languedoc, this layered, oak-matured rosé can play the role of a lip-smacking apéritif as well as a more grown-up, textured wine for serving with food.

Indeed, this particular wine is the first time we have come across a true rival for the barrel-aged Garrus by Château d’Esclans, and Bertrand’s range-topping rosé is half the price.

NEW TERROIRS
So, once again, our Global Masters tasting concept achieved its double aim of identifying new terroirs while testing the quality available in those that are already well-established.

And, concerning the latter, Provence may still be king, but it had better watch out – there are producers from outside this famous rosé region that are not only making pink wines with the same ballet-shoe hue, but in a similar style, and, most importantly, to an equally high standard.

Top row (left to right)
• Patrick Schmitt MW, editor-in-chief, the drinks business
• Antony Moss MW, director of strategic planning, WSET
• Jonathan Pedley MW, wine lecturer and consultant
• Christine Parkinson, group head of wine, The Hakkasan Group
• Clive Barlow MW, wine trainer and consultant
• Clément Robert MS, group head sommelier and wine buyer, 28º-50º
Bottom row (left to right)
• Elizabeth Gabay MW, wine writer, Provençal rosé specialist
• Dee Blackstock MW, wine buyer and consultant
• Beverly Blanning MW, wine writer and lecturer
• Patricia Stefanowicz MW, wine educator and consultant

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