Sumi invited John Mobbs, Founder of Great British Wine to join as guest speaker to present the diverse expression of English rosé wine, in the absence of Liz who took a day off to observe Yum Kippur rituals. The goal was to highlight varied expressions and shades of Rosé wines that have been winning accolades in the recent years at Wine Competitions. We picked a few wines that we thought were contrasting to each other in terms of styles, colour as well fruit spectrum.
BLACK CHALK, HAMPSHIRE
The first one we tasted was Black Chalk from Hampshire. Black Chalk’s CEO and winemaker is Jacob Leadley who has previous experience at Hattingley Valley, also based out of Hampshire. We tasted their only rosé expression called Wild Rosé Sparkling wine. A small batch producer there aim is to create high quality wines which speak of terroir. The winery has recently been awarded medals and trophies by many international competitions that demonstrate the high quality work behind them.
In 2019 they crowd funded raising £1.5m which helped them construct their own winery. The rosé sparkling is extremely pale pink in colour with a blend of 41% Pinot Noir, 38% Pinot Meunier and 21% Chardonnay. With delicate and balanced fruit flavours predominantly of wild peach, lemon, strawberries and raspberry, this is a lean bodied wine but with intense flavour intensity, precision of flavours and a long crisp vibrant finish. The acidity is very high racy and elegantly balanced with the hint of nuttiness that comes from use of oak barrels for fermentation and lees ageing of atleast 20 months that brings out bready and biscuit aromas, adding to complexity.
Priced at £40 this is available from their cellar door or from their website. We paired this wine with Chilly Mango Lime on croustade cups that John had put together. The bright, zingy acidity of mango and lime matched refreshingly well with the raciness of the wine. The fruit balance of both the sparkling wine and the fruit salad went down together harmoniously through the palate. The hint of toast and nuttiness was very sublime and helped wash off the palate bringing a long finish. The perfect combination of wine, fruits and crunchy texture and flavours! A great wine to enjoy with lean grilled meats and fish and equally as aperitif with cheeses, bruschetta and assortment of nuts.
Our second wine was Chapel Down Still Rosé based out of Kent. An established and long-standing winery that has introduced and brought out Bacchus into English wines, Chapel Down produce a range of Bacchus based rosé wines.
The wine we tasted made from a variety of grapes 56% Pinot Noir, 10% Chardonnay, 10% Pinot Meunier, 9% Rondo, 7% Regent, 3% Pinot Blanc, 3% early Pinot Noir and 2% Dornfelder. Dry, still rosé, pale pink in colour this is an easy to appreciate wine with bright, crisp fruity notes focused on the red fruit spectrum predominantly strawberry and hints of raspberry. The fruits are sourced from Kent, Sussex and Essex and whole bunch pressed giving it delicate expression. The use of hybrid red grapes that are deep in colour such as Regent, Rondo have added a unique depth of pink colour, one which is highly intense and also contributes to an element of textural softness in tannins that makes the wine versatile to pair with any light food. The wine is affordably priced at around £12-14 and available through most supermarkets and retail outlet chain.
I enjoyed sipping this wine with Black Dal that I had cooked. The attractive fruits of the wine pair elegantly with the blend of spices I have added to the dish such as ginger, coriander powder and cumin. Most of all I enjoyed that the wine had moderate levels of alcohol at 11.5% abv and that is one big factor to its advantage that it can take on spiced chilly foods without finishing heady and hot; infact quite the opposite it had a vibrant lemony finish that was a great palate cleanser. This wine is well balanced with crisp, refreshing acidity so can also be paired with grilled seabass served with garlic and lemon and vegetable spring rolls.
John thoroughly enjoyed the fruity flavours coupled and the backbone of crisp acidity in this wine with Indian styled Kadai Chicken that I had cooked. According to him, the mix of spices and tanginess thoroughly blended with the soft and crisp flavours that make this wine very versatile.
A small artisanal wine production based in Sussex, run by husband and wife team, Zena and Anthony, Tickerage produces just 2,500 bottles of these wines and this wine won the Gold award at IEWA in 2020.
An extra brut sparkling wine soft pale pink colour, the 2013 vintage is a blend of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier that has been aged on lees for atleast 5 years showing orange peel and lemon fragrances with marked evolutionary notes of brioche. A wonderfully gastronomic wine, this wine paired beautifully with Bao Buns served with Hoison sauce based mushrooms in Japanese pickle, made by John. The tertiary brioche notes pair very well with the umami flavours of mushrooms and Hoison sauce’s sweet and tangy pickles go hand in hand with the high fresh acidity of the wine. I thoroughly savoured the Bao Buns with the Tickerage Blush!
This wine also paired beautifully with Kadai Chicken curry made by Sumi. Kadai chicken has a melange of spicy, tangy and savoury notes and the marinated meat has a very soft texture and absorbs all these spices. Along with the creamy tomato sauce the soft meat blends seamlessly into the high fresh, piercing acidity of Tickerage. The wine is not overly fruity and hence the chicken must be spiced with moderate spices to enjoy the more ageing notes of the wine. As the wine is lean and extremely sublime, it brings out the soft texture of the chicken and the tangy tomato sauce flavours are enhanced elegantly.
Located very close to Tickerage, on the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, nestled between North and South on the is the High Weald, where the husband and wife led team have established their vineyards, Fox and Fox. Gerard and Jonica Fox are huge supporters of terroir and having discovered their land is located on varied soil types, they undertook a research project to work out what varieties would work best on their soils. With the numerous soils the Weald is gifted with, they have worked out that Chardonnay works best on the clay soils, Pinot Noir and Pinot Noir on silt and green sands and accordingly planted.
2011 Fox and Fox Midnight Saignee is a pale ruby coloured rosé wine with a pronounced intensity that have proudly made them distinct from other English producers. It is their intention to produce a fuller bodied gastronomic expression of a rosé wine towards creating a ‘winter rosé’. And indeed, it was the perfect rosé for to introduce us to autumn on the first week of cold spell across the UK at the end of September when John and I tasted these wines. Produced from long maceration of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Pinot Gris the wine has deep phenolics, soft yet grippy texture, wild raspberry and cherry aromatics and vegetal, earthy notes. The long lees ageing of 7 years adds a complex spectrum of flavours such as cinnamon, pepperiness, bread and savoury aromatics.
If you are looking to have some rich Black Lentils cooked in cream and spices this would be your rose. It does not have the opulence of red wine, yet has the rounded creamy edge and subtle tannins that can take on the starchy proteins of the dal. The savoury husk of the black dal also elegantly takes up bready notes of the sparkling wine while the mix of coriander, ginger and chillies wrap up harmoniously with the red fruit notes. The wine’s intense savoury attributes also paired elegantly with Hoison sauce marinated Mushrooms served in Bao Buns made by John. The wine has crisp refreshing acidity which does lift up spiced Asian foods beautifully making this wine very gastronomic.
A truly food driven rosé style that can actually enhance the culinary flavours and nuances of spices, this wine is to be enjoyed in a relaxed sit-down meal with family and friends. Demonstrates the power of rosé expression one that can match up to a red wine.