RICHARD ESLING: Rosette is one of the stars at The France Show

Suzy Atkins with Frederic de Monner at The France Show
Suzy Atkins with Frederic de Monner at The France Show
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Mention the word ‘rosette’ and pictures come to mind of prize bulls, the best pooch at a dog show, or perhaps blue, red or yellow varieties, pinned to the lapels of politicians.

But it is also the name of a small, little known wine region in South-west France, just North of the town of Bergerac.

One of the wines from this area was presented amongst others, in a tasting at The France Show in Olympia, London, last week. Fellow journalist Suzy Atkins (pictured below) wine correspondent for the Telegraph, was hosting the event, where she interviewed the wine-maker Frederic de Monner.

The Appellation Contrôlée area of Rosette is very small, with only a dozen or so producers. The wine is white, made from a blend of grape varieties which are the same as those used for Sauternes, namely Semillon, Sauvignon and Muscadelle. The style of the wine is semi-sweet, but much lighter and less sweet than the nearby Monbazillac or Sauternes. The delimited area for Rosette wines has a particular micro-climate, which is a little cooler than the surrounding area, which benefits the wines in terms of delicacy and finesse. The soils are also different, containing high levels of granite washed down from the Massif Central, together with deep clay substrates which retain water, delaying bud burst and helping the vines in the hot summer months.

Frederic de Monner is the owner and wine-maker at Chateau Puypezat-Rosette, one of the top producers of the region. “I bought the vineyard after it had been abandoned for several years,” said Frederic. “I love this area and I am determined to make top quality wines which show just what this tiny region can achieve”, he continued. The vineyard stretches over 30 acres of gently rolling hills overlooking the Dordogne valley and Rosette wine is amongst the portfolio, together with red, rosé and dry white. The Rosette has subtle tints of gold in the colour, with delicate aroma of white flowers, lime and honey. This producer uses Sauvignon Gris rather than Sauvignon Blanc, believing that it is better suited to the soils and gives more subtle aromas and flavours.

Although Rosette may be difficult to find in the UK since it is pretty much unknown outside of its local area, if you are travelling to the Dordogne later in the year, it is worth seeking out. Don’t forget, it is definitely not a dry wine, so needs to be consumed in the correct circumstances. With its fresh, fragrant lightness and medium residual sugar, well chilled it can make a great aperitif. It also accompanies foie gras admirably well and is good with fish in a rich sauce. Try it also with cold chicken and salad, served with a fruity chutney, or alternatively a light chocolate dessert, as long as it’s not too rich. Due to its delicacy, Rosette is not a wine for laying down, unless it is you who is doing the laying. It should be drunk within two years of the vintage.

Richard Esling BSc DipWSET is an experienced wine consultant, agent, writer and educator. An erstwhile wine importer, he runs a wine agency and consultancy company called WineWyse, is founder and principal of the Sussex Wine Academy, chairman of Arundel Wine Society and is an International Wine Judge. Twitter @richardwje. Visit www.winewyse.com.

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