Rosé is still fighting an up hill battle. Despite the variety of styles available, most people either associate it with sickly sweet Blossom Hill or the light, pale rosés of Provence.
There are however, wines that fall into the middle and that is where you can find the rosés of Bordeaux. Deeper in colour but still bursting with fruit, they are dry with balanced acidity and some even have a hint of tannin to them.
As part of my trip to the Fete le Vin with the CIVB, we got to spend one sunny day on the Bay of Archachon, which is less than an hour’s drive away from the centre of Bordeaux, sailing, eating and drinking those lovely wines. Archachon is the beach playground of Bordeaux and it has a long promenade of cafes facing a wide beach of tan coloured sand. We arrived at around 10am as people were setting up beach football pitches and sun umbrellas.
Arcachon is also famous for its oysters and we got to sample them once we were on the boat. A few winemakers were also along for the ride (and they just happened to bring along some white Bordeaux) along with the rosés. White Bordeaux is probably just as misunderstood as Bordeaux rosés. If people know about it, they think of the sweet white wines of the region but dry whites are also made from the sauvignon blanc and semillon grapes that are predominately grown in the region, along with a bit of muscadelle and ugni blanc. The Bordelais seem to be focusing on sauvignon blanc and I do like the wines, they have body and weight to them with lemon and grapefruit aromas and flavours.
The rosés made an appearance and were very welcome as we were boating along. A cavalcade of seafood joined the roseés and we had literally buckets of langoustines, crabs, oysters, snails, all on ice and just waiting to be cracked open. We had to shuck the oysters ourselves but it’s not that hard, although I won’t be winning any oyster shucking contests.
Bordeaux rosé is made from grapes of the region – cabernet sauvignon and merlot. Fresh and dry and a lovely match to the seafood. Chateau Nardique la Graviere and La Vie en Rose (definitely aimed at the English speaking market) produced by Chateau Landereau were very enjoyable to drink. It might have been the fact that we were floating along the bay, under the sun, laughing and talking, but those rosés went down a treat.
That has to be one of the best ways to enjoy a glass of rosé, with great company, cruising the sea and eating good fresh seafood under the French sun. Soon enough, it was time to head back to Bordeaux for more wine activities on the quay but I’d say that cruise around the Bay of Archachon was probably one of the highlights of the Fete le Vinfor me. If you haven’t tried Bordeaux rosé, I’d highly recommend it, especially if you’re looking for a versatile food wine that’s great with or without food.