After my worst wine of the year (also a rosé), here is my best rosé of the year.

Bourgogne rosé Sakura 2018, Domaine Chevrot

A couple of weeks ago I wrote here about a truly awful wine that should be avoided. It happened to be a rosé, but that is incidental. Now I must admit to not being a great fan of rosés as a whole, but there are, occasionally, some that make me think, well ok, I could really drink this. This particular wine passed that particular test with flying colours! If the proof of the pudding is in the eating, then you should know that two of us polished off this particular bottle over a lunch with great pleasure and consummate ease. And what more could one ask of a bottle of wine, apart from endless sophistication and meandering (I did not say intellectual masturbation, did I?) about aromas, complexity, « minerality » and so forth ?

The wine comes from Burgundy, often a considerable source of usually overpriced wines. Am I being excessive ? Just look at the prices and tell me! Yet this wine is totally reasonable as it retails for just 8,30 euros in France, which must, given its considerable and (to me) desireable qualities, make it one of the best value rosés that I have tasted in France this year. It is produced by Domaine Chevrot, a small family firm whose wines, both white and red, I have liked and admired for a number of years. They are based in one of the Maranges villages at the southern extremity of the Côte de Beaune and also owns vineyards in Santenay.

Sakura is the name that the Japanese give to the variety of cherry tree, Prunus serrulata, which produces those amazing masses of pink blossom at this time of the year, and which are a cause of seasonal celebration in that country. The wine is indeed a of a fairly deep and intense pink hue, in fact much deeper that that of the sakura cherry blossom shown above and happily far removed from those wishy-washy fashion victim rosés, almost white in colour, that seem to be invading shops and restaurants these days. It is also refreshingly different (and, at least to me) far more interesting in its aromas and flavours. It shows just how fine and delicate a wine grape Pinot Noir can be, and not only in the red versions. Forget about bubble gum, acetic acid with citrus fruit or even those heavy tropical aromas that one finds in so many rosés from southern France nowadays. Here one can detect (or at least imagine, as, in the end, we all smell those aromas that we want to smell or think that we should smell) fresh red berry fruit and tender white fruit, but also some gentle hints of smoke that are quite hard to define. When the producer, whom I called after the tasting, told me that this has been fermented in old oak barrels, I understood this smoky accent better. This is in no way invasive but it does add a welcome touch of complexity to the wine. On the palate, the wine is quite light in alcohol (12,5%) and so is very refreshing, yet it remains full of flavour and presence, both in terms of fruit and texture which manage together to combine body and freshness. The balance is perfect and the price is right. I cannot think of another rosé that I would rather drink!

David Cobbold



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