The Rise of Rosé: Cru Classé Chateaux Make Rosé Wines As Demand Increases

Rosé wines have been increasing in popularity for a while now and I have been banging the drum about Bordeaux Rosé and Clairet for a number of years.

However it seems to have really taken off with Rosé wine sales rising by over 20% in value in the UK on-trade last year, according to the Wine and Spirit Trade Association’s Quarterly Market Report.

The figures show Rosé sales from shops are up by 9.2% in value and 7.6% in volume in the year to May while the value of Rosé sales in the on-trade is up by 21.4% – 18.4% in volume. Indeed we have had somewhat of a run on our very popular Domaine de Ricaud Bordeaux Clairet recently!

WSTA chief executive Jeremy Beadles has said that:

“Given the fact that sales of other wines in bars, clubs and restaurants are down over the course of the past year the big rise in rosé is all the more striking. No doubt the recent good weather will have continued to boost its popularity.”

I think there is more to it – the more exposure these super wines have in the market the more people are waking up to the quality on offer out there.

With all the hype over the Cru Classé Chateaux and the 2009 En Primeur in the press recently you may be surprised to learn that a number of them have been making Rosés.

All the Rosés are made using the saignée method which uses red grapes but only allows the juice to remain in contact with them for a short time.

This way, the wine maker creates a pale red wine full of the aromas and flavours of the red grapes but with a totally different character. Apparently these Rosés have a good market in Asia, notably Japan.

Chateau Pichon Baron, a Second Growth Pauillac, makes Rosé des Tourelles de Longueville. The Rosé is made only in certain vintages and when conditions are right.

Chateau Phélan Ségur in Saint Estephe produces Chateau Phelan Segur Rosé Bordeaux and Chateau Calon Ségur, a Third Growth Saint Estephe, makes Rosé de Calon.

Chateau Kirwan (a Third Growth Margaux) released a Rosé in 2005, producing about 8,000 bottles of Le Rose de Kirwan. Like Pichon Baron the wine is not produced annually: Marielle Didry of Chateau Kirwan said that :

“We decided to make it because we had high yields and wanted to sell it to our loyal customers. It was not really done in a commercial spirit, but it was so successful at Vinexpo, we may consider doing this regularly if yields permit.”

Chateau Giscours, (another Third Growth Margaux) released 20,000 bottles of Le Rosé de Giscours in 2004, the first time since 1997.

In Pessac Leognan Chateau Haut Bailly makes Rosé de Haut Bailly and Château Smith Haut Lafitte produces Les Hauts de Smith Rosé and has done so since 2000. Likewise Chateau Pape Clement makes Le Prélat de Pape-Clément Rosé.

In Pomerol Chateau Le Gay produces Festival Rosé and in Saint Emilion Clos Fourtet produces Clos Fourtet Rosé, Chateau Larcis Ducasse produces Le Rose de Chateau Larcis

Ducasse, Monbusquet makes La Rosé de Monbusquet, Pavie makes La Rosée de Pavie and Pavie Macquin makes La Rosé de Pavie Macquin.

The owners of the First Growth Chateau Haut Brion in Pessac Leognan, Clarence Dillon Wines, have produced Clarendelle Rosé Bordeaux. The only other First Growth to produce a Rosé is Chateau Mouton Rothschild under their Mouton Cadet range.

These wines obviously come at a price and some are quite difficult to get hold of – so if you enjoy Rosé check out Bordeaux-Undiscovered and discover a few gems for yourself!

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