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What’s that got to do with the price of Rosé?

There’s a great deal of speculation in the news that the Retail Prices Index (the government’s less “preferred” measure of inflation) will dip into negative territory when announced later this morning. The RPI is essentially a “shopping basket” used to track the price of goods and services.

Obviously it’s important that this “basket” represents consumers’ typical purchasing patterns so it is interesting to learn that the index is being changed to measure the price of a bottle of rosé wine, rather than bag-in-box wine.

Rosé sales have been in rude health for a number of years. Historically rosé has been seen as a really seasonal product, as dependent on summer sunshine as Pimm’s, barbecue charcoal and ice cream. Yet despite last year’s dismal summer rosé sales continued to grow.

Partly of course this is fashion, but I think it’s also a reflection of considerably better winemaking and attention being paid to rosé wines. They are no longer a way of using up black grapes not deemed worthy for turning into red wines, but a serious expression of winemaking in their own right. A couple of traditional Majestic favourites have always offered real class (Château de Sours springs to mind) but I’ve been really impressed with some of the new wines that have arrived in recent years.

Yesterday we received the new vintage of Château Sainte-Marguerite from Provence, a region steeped in rosé-making tradition, but in this case very much the epitome of a modern rosé. There’s a lovely soft fruitiness, and the palate is fully dry but with a rich texture and length that shows real class. £9.99 would historically have seemed unrealistic for a rosé but this is worth every penny.

(As an aside, you should also take a serious look at the superb white from Château Sainte-Marguerite. Made from the uber-trendy Vermentino grape it is absolutely delicious; lightly aromatic and beautifully rounded in the mouth, perfect for spring and summer salads. Although the two varieties are not related, to my mind it’s not unlike a good example of Galicia’s Albariño.)

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