Domaines Paul Mas Rosorange, Vin de France 2022, from £12.48, Gazegill Organics; vintageroots.co.uk; planetorganic.com This is a rather clever idea from Jean Claude Mas, one of the more commercially astute winemakers at work in France today and the head of Domaines Paul Mas, one of the biggest wine producers in the Languedoc-Roussillon. Mas identified two of the most significant trends in the 21st-century wine world: the enormous growth of rosé (on current trends it could soon surpass red wine as France’s favourite wine colour, having long since eclipsed white); and the rapidly developing interest in wine’s fourth colour, ‘orange’ – wines made from white grapes left in contact with the skins. He then combined the two in a single wine, all packaged up in a distinctive patterned-glass bottle. Pink and orange are natural companions, but I’ve never seen them combined like this before. It works; the creamy soft Provence-esque rosé style is predominant, but given a little extra citrus pith tang, depth and very subtle chew from, presumably, the orange component.
Chaffey Bros Wine Co Not Your Grandma’s Chillable Red, South Australia 2021, 16.56, The Great Wine Co The Rosorange got me thinking about other wines that operate between two styles in this way. It’s possible to make rosé by blending finished white and red wines, although in practice this is highly unusual these days, and in France for example, is outlawed in most appellations (that explains why Domaines Paul Mas uses the broad, less legally proscriptive ‘Vin de France’ on its label rather than bottling the wine under the local appellation IGP Pays d’Oc). The exception in France is Champagne, where producers often make their pink fizz by adding a dose of red wine to add an infusion of colour, texture and darker fruit flavour to the white wine base. Australian winemakers, meanwhile, have always prided themselves on being open to new ideas, and Chaffey Bros are among the most willing to experiment, not least in the fun, compulsively drinkable thirst-quenching Chillable Red, which blends a little rosé wine and white wine to the early-picked grenache red.
1000 Stories Bourbon Barrel-Aged Zinfandel, California 2020, £16, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, ocado.com Aside from mixing and matching colours and grape varieties, winemakers are able to play around with other means of getting different flavours and textures into their wines. Adding oak chips to a vat as a fast and efficient way of delivering the vanilla, toasty or coffee-like flavours that you would traditionally get from the traditional, more expensive, means of ageing in an oak barrel, is a common practice. Other producers have gone a step further. 1000 Stories, for example, is a California wine with an extra sweetly boozy-vanilla hit from ageing in barrels that had been used for bourbon. More radically, the Aussie brand 19 Crimes The Deported Infused With Coffee contains, as its name suggests, actual coffee in the mix. The concoction didn’t quite hit the spot when I tried it, largely because the base wine wasn’t my cup of, er, tea in the first place. But I can see how mixing wine and coffee, a variation on the Italian caffè coretto tradition, could work rather well if, say, you added a splash of amarone to an espresso.
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