Cà dei Frati Rosa dei Frati 2017
Cà dei Frati Rosa dei Frati 2017, Lombary, Italy, 13%
(c. £15, independents)
I gave a bottle of rosé to a friend recently. He took one look and almost gave it straight back.
‘That’s not real wine, is it?!’ he exclaimed. ‘I mean, it looks like it’s a fruit cocktail, not a wine.’
The reason for his dismay was that this particular rosé was far deeper in colour than you might normally expect (it was Spanish). A bit too close to cherryade, in his view, while ‘proper’ rosé should be pale. You know, like they do in Provence.
Rosé comes in many shapes and sizes, from cheap white Zinfandel (sweet, bright, easy-going) to super serious, ageworthy wines from Bandol or Tavel in France.
But right now, Provence is most definitely having a moment. It’s classic, pale, dry, fresh but food-friendly style all the rage among those who know their pink wine.
It’s getting posh, too. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are making the well received Miraval rosé in conjunction with the Perrin family there. And Chateau d’Esclans, maker of the renowned Whispering Angel, has a top cuvée called Garrus that sells for up to and over £100 per bottle.
There’s no doubting the top Provence stuff is good. (Though whether it’s worth that kind of price is highly debatable – even if hats should be doffed to Esclans owner Sacha Lichine for his brilliant marketing and sales initiative.) But equally it’s a shame to overlook the brilliant rosés that are being made elsewhere in the world.
This is just such an example. It’s not cheap but it is delicious, with its floral aromas and bright sweet berry flavours. Well judged, succulent, moreish, serious…this wine that is full of joy, and has the body to accompany richer autumnal food just as well as lighter summer bites.
Cà dei Frati is a well known producer. Their straight Lugana (white) makes for delightful drinking, while the oaked version Brolettino 2016 is absolutely delicious (I rated it 7.5/10).
A producer well worth getting to know. And a rosé that’s a welcome change from the Provençal norm.
(6.5/10, Peter, Sept 2018)