I was reading a piece earlier in the week that was questioning the point of Rosé wine. The view put across was that Rosé wines lack the freshness of a white wine, and lack the depth and body of a red wine. Consequently, they end up somewhere in-between. I’m not much of a Rosé drinker, but when the weather turns to early sunshine as it has done this week, I’m looking for my shorts, dusting off the BBQ, and well up for a glass of Rosé to top it off. By lucky happenstance, thanks to the lovely people at Tesco, this week I’m reviewing for them a Rosado from Spanish Producer Vinas Del Vero (named after the River Vero which runs through their vineyards). The wine comes from a Northeastern Spanish region called Somontano, which is tucked in to the foothills of the Pyrennees (Somontano literally means ‘at the foot of the mountain’). It’s a well-known wine region, but I’d argue that it wouldn’t be the first one that comes to peoples mind when thinking of Northern Spain – that honour would probably go to places like Rioja, Priorat, Rueda, or maybe even to Penedés if they love their Cava.
The DO (Denominación de Origen) of Somontano is fairly youthful, having been created in 1984, and the Vinas del Vero were established only a short time later in 1986. They are owned by famed Sherry producer Gonzalez Byass.
The new range of wines is named ‘Luces’ (Spanish for Lights), and is marketed as a contemporary blend of internationally recognised grape varieties, with labels that draw from local culture, nature, architecture and tradition. They’ve certainly come up with a striking design for the Rosado, even down to the blue screw top setting off the dark colour of the wine. The 2014 vintage Rosado is comprised of 3 red grape varieties – The famed French grapes of Merlot and Syrah alongside the Spanish stalwart Tempranillo. All were planted between 1988 and 2000 in the sandy/stony vineyards that lie between 350-450 metres above sea level.
Nipping back for a second to the article I mentioned at the start of this review, part of it was given over to the best way to appreciate Rosé wine, and the recommendations were not to over-chill the wine, and to serve it in a red wine glass, treating it almost like a light red wine. So for this Rosado tasting that’s what I did, and for the sake of experimentation, I then chilled another standard glass down to white wine temperatures (i.e. straight from the fridge).
As mentioned earlier, the colour is towards the darker side for Rosado, something I would describe as wild salmon (as opposed to farmed). It probably picks up a lot of its colour from the combined use of three quite dark grapes. The nose is at odds with this darkness and is instantly light, clean and full of fresh ripe red fruits.
For the taste test I tried my over-chilled version first, and it wasn’t pleasing. The nose took a while to stand out, and the palate was almost exclusively water-like (from the high acidity), with just hints of red fruits on the centre of my tongue. Trying the less chilled version was a completely different story. The palate is at once refreshing from the instant tingling acidity, but you are then hit with a wave of red fruits led by cherry, on to hints of raspberry and strawberry, and then backed up with cranberry on the finish. What also appears is a decent weight to the wine which, when matched with the darker colour, creates a fuller overall experience.
The finish is an interesting thing – there was something there that I couldn’t put my finger on. It would have been easy to note it as ‘complexity’, but I don’t think we’re in that arena really, and this is still an everyday sunny day drinking wine. It can be drunk on its own quite easily, or with food – The back label suggests a food pairing with fish and so, as I loved the colour of the wine, paired mine with Salmon (farmed) and it went fabulously.
In the end I settled for the palate-closer being sweetness driven by the alcohol which clocks in at 13%. In the glass that I chilled right down, the finish was short and fresh, and I couldn’t really taste any sense of the slightly above average alcohol level. On the less chilled version, the fruits really round out at the end, you get a pleasing fuller finish, and more importantly, you get a much longer finish.
Don’t worry though if you do over-chill yours by accident and get the shorter finish. It’s such a pleasing moreish Rosado that it won’t be long before you’re reaching for your next glass.
With thanks to Tesco and Vinas Del Vero for providing the bottle used in this tasting.