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I'm dreaming of a pink Christmas!

Instead of reaching for the predictable bottles of red or white Burgundy this Christmas, why not try something new and think ‘pink’?

Sadly, there are still people that believe Rosé is only ever half a wine. We all know the ‘classic’ how do you make rosé joke… by mixing red and white wine. It’s a faint evocation of a red wine that is simple and fresh. Something only ever meant to accompany the blazing sun and warm days of summer, that vaguely tastes of strawberries and is light and refreshing. However, as you are all well aware, this fact couldn’t be further from the truth. Whilst it can undoubtedly fill this role perfectly and is often bulk produced for that intended purpose, just like red and whites, rosé can stretch the whole spectrum of flavour - from complexity to freshness and acidity to boldness, meaning there are so many wonderful ways it can be enjoyed. Just like everything in life and in wine, it is easy to label things and put them into boxes and say ‘this is what this is. It isn’t and can never be, anything different. The amazingly complex rose wines from Bandol of course, immediately put paid to such naïve theories. These are not only Vins de Terroirs but Vins Gastronomiques!

If you’ve been with us a while, you will have inevitably heard us gush about the wines from Domaine Gros Noré and the Provençal Hercules, Alain Pascal before. An increasingly rare breed—a local, old-school, self-taught winemaker in Provence. Raised on a farm, he has lived his entire life in southern France’s coastal Bandol appellation. (What hardship!) He is truly at home in his vineyard and his self-built winery. My father John Gauntley was a huge fan of these wines and loved to visit the Domaine. He would often speak of Alain shuffling between foudre with pipette in hand, with little more than slippers on his feet.

The rosés from Gros Noré, are incredibly special. They prove that rosés don’t have to be simple, light and breezy with a faint sensibility of red fruit. They are capable of showcasing serious depth, complexity and class, without sacrificing that 'moreish' drinkability synonymous with our treasured pink drink. This is due to the powerful Mourvèdre grape: rich, spicy and impressively age worthy, which all of his red and rosé wines are based on. Unlike the insipid, vibrant roses which are produced to provide a light, refreshing glass of wine within a few months of their release, the roses from Bandol, gain even more complexity with bottle age. The 2017 vintage was a particularly dry vintage (yes even for Provence). This meant that a far gentler pressing of the grapes was required to avoid extracting too much tannin, but this has resulted in juice with incredible complexity. This rosé shows off a luscious nose of fresh orange, strawberry and some floral notes, balanced with rich and enticing Provençal spices. The palate has a wonderful depth and focus offering blood orange, bitter cherry, peach, as well as honeysuckle flavours and sweet spice. The concentration of fruit is out of this world and it is backed by mouth-watering acidity. Pure, crisp and long, juicy and simply irresistible. There is something here for all comers, whether you identify as a regular rosé drinker or not, there is much to love and take away from this sumptuous offering from the humble Alain Pascal.

While folks often gear towards that traditional Claret, Burgundy or oaked Chardonnay for their Roast Turkey feast on Christmas Day, there’s a lot more choice out there that will allow for a heightened taste experience. The trouble with a heavily oaked red is that it can mask the delicate flavours of the food (such as the stuffing or bread sauce), whereas a dry white wine can end up being too acidic or way too full-bodied and rich if oaked. This rosé works wonderfully with all sorts of food, whether seafood, chicken, vegetables, steak or most importantly at this time of year, turkey. You see, whether it’s the subtle flavours of that juicy turkey breast or the more robust textures and richer flavours from the gravy, pigs in blankets or salted goose fat roast potatoes, you will be surprised just how well this rosé stands up a long side your beloved Christmas feast. So whether you are keeping with tradition, or will be enjoying a vegetarian or vegan alternative, Gros Nore’s Bandol rose will provide a perfect partner to a diverse range of festive dishes. Furthermore and perhaps most importantly, however, disregarding the title ‘Rosé’, this is a delicious, unctuous and pensive ‘Wine’ to be enjoyed.

2017 BANDOL ROSE, GROS NORE @ £20.26 PER BOTTLE One Case x 3 bottles x 2017 BANDOL ROSE, GROS NORE – Normal Retail Price £60.78 THINK PINK FOR CHRISTMAS PROMOTION @ £56.50

One Case x 6 bottles x 2017 BANDOL ROSE, GROS NORE – Normal Retail Price - £121.56 THINK PINK FOR CHRISTMAS PROMOTION @ £105.00


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