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  • The Language of Colour - By Shane Golden

    May 30, 2024 4 min read

    Bottle of rose wine, Domaine Tour Campanets by Whelehans Wines.

    By Shane Golden, Manager of Whelehans Wines

    Color! What a deep and mysterious language, the language of dreams.”
    -Paul Gauguin

    Rosé, Rosado, Rosata. Call it what you will but after a belated start we have tentatively tripped into the beginnings of Rose season.

    I had my very first Rosé of the year recently in tandem with the upturn in our weather fortunes. As if I had just scaled the North-Face of the Eiger in my stockinged feet, I made sure everyone within earshot was made aware of this triumph. Rosé season should come with the Cuckoo in April. The delayed start this year meant that when it did arrive, lovers of this style uncoiled and were to be caught dancing around like Julie Andrews in “The Sound of Music”, glass in hand.

    Rosé consumption in Ireland is directly connected to how well our Summer is going. The washout that was last year’s July saw the volume drunk, much like our mood, drop by somewhere between 15-20%. For a wine that’s so synonymous with summer garden parties and BBQs it’s also the most underappreciated. This is hardly surprising. Multitudes of wine critics have a points system to judge quality and structure; maybe only the artist can measure simple pleasure.

    While Rose consumption really took off In Ireland in the last few years, this style is not a fad. Lightly-colored reds may also have been the first type of wine made since it was also the easiest to produce. This may go some way to explaining why critics don’t hold it in as high a regard as its Red and White siblings.

    No other style of wine is so seasonal, so loved yet also so misunderstood.

    While Shakesphere may have believed that a Rose by any other name would still smell as sweet, when it comes to the shade of Rosé this is certainly not the case. Colour mainly has bearing on the minds eye of the consumer. It is in no way a mark of quality but will affect your buying habits. While the Cherry-Reds may stand out on the shelf, to many these are unconsciously perceived as being sweet. Chances are they may be bone-dry. These wines sell better in darker rather than clear glass, in some way proving that we do judge books by their covers.

    When it comes to Pale Rosé, all roads inevitably lead to Provence. At least so the Romans and Greeks thought when they decided to plant vines here, potentially making it the oldest wine-producing area in France. The region now makes approximately 170 million bottles a year. Pale pink, melon and peach are now the most sought-after colours of summer sipping. Unconsciously they are seen as lighter, more mineral and more refreshing.

    The Post-Impressionist artists Cezanne, Matisse, Van Gogh and Gaugin all made pilgrimages to the region in search of vivid light and color. For those of you who have visited, this won’t come as a surprise. The light here is almost unnatural. Yves Klein, who had the good fortune to be born here, even went so far as to invent a new shade of blue in response to the all-enveloping azure.

    A combination of the Mediterranean climate and winds such as the Sirocco and the infamous Mistral means that this region has a head start in sustainable farming practices. Organic certification is notoriously difficult to achieve but over 55% of wineries here have environmental certification. Contrary to this, climate change means that winemakers are now more likely to harvest in August than the more traditional September. 2023 was an extremely dry year so the continued production of wines of such freshness and balance is noteworthy.

    While many sectors of the wine industry are seeing falling sales, this is one sector that isn’t. 40% of all wine consumed in France is now made in this style and continues to go from strength to strength. Rosé reflects and compliments new ways of living. Low-alcohol, less formal, more social and with the diversity of the world’s cuisine at our doorstep it is also the most food-friendly.

    For those who love this style, this time of the year comes like a favorite song you haven’t heard in a long time. Light yet vivid, restorative and distinctly unstuffy, the simplest pleasure makes for an easy drinking choice.


    Wine of the Month



    Tasting Notes:- Hailing from one of Spain’s smallest yet most prestigious appellations of Priorat, a hilly region of “Mediterranean days and continental nights”. Due to the altitude, significant difference between day and night time temperatures means that the region can produce wines that balance intensity and freshness. And so it is with this Spanish-style Rosé. Distinct floral notes on the nose and a basket of dried cranberry, sour cherries, watermelon and pomegranate on the palate. What sets it apart is its texture. Fermentation in large 1300L egg-shaped concrete amphorae gives it added body and mouthfeel. Elegant yet structured, its age has only added to it. A Rosado for red wine drinkers.

    Grape: 68% Carignan and 32% Syrah.

    Region: Priorat, Spain

    ABV: 13.5%

    Food Pairing:  Straddling the border between White and Red wine, it would be far easier to list what this wouldn’t pair with. Perfect with Paella, a Niçoise salad or Ratatouille

    Explore our rose wine collection