In the blue corner (left): Co-op Truly Irresistible Pic Saint Loup rosé; in the pink corner: Coeur de Cardeline rosé (also from Co-op). Referee: a wise, but very small, drunken kung fu master
On a recent press trip to the Bandol region of Provence (renowned as the world’s premier rosé wine-producing area), I tasted a dozen or so examples of world-class rosé over the course of two vineyard tours (read about that here). Drinking it in its native region reignited my interest in the pink stuff. And a week later, back in the UK, I was pleased to find a couple of bottles of almost comparable quality available for under a tenner in my trusty local Co-op.
Made from the classic Provence blend of grenache and cinsault, the Coeur de Cardeline (the Co-op’s most expensive rosé at £9) is a winner. Its delicate colour and elegant label seduce you with high expectations. And while it does deliver on taste, I was even more impressed with the store’s own-brand Truly Irresistible Pic Saint Loup (£1.50 cheaper at £7.49).
Light, crisp, dry and alive with the fumes of summer berries: this is the perfect al fresco tipple — it’ll make you popular at barbecues, especially if there’s fish on the grill.
It’s got that succulent, savoury, multi-layered (almost herby) texture you’d associate with a good quality Provence rosé. But the Pic Saint Loup is made from grenache and syrah from the Languedoc region, to the south-west of Provence. I’m guessing this is how they can get away with making it a bit cheaper than its Provencal neighbours — similar ingredients, slightly less cachet. Well… nobody’s written a book called A Week in the Languedoc, have they. They’re not daft, those Co-op wine buyers.
The Co-op also do several cheaper bottles around the £5-7 range. For god’s sake don’t buy them (sickly Gallo and syrupy Echo Falls — I’m talking about you). Shell out a couple of quid extra for the Pic Saint Loup (or the Coeur de Cardeline) and you’ll get an experience ten times as valuable.
4.5 Ninja Stars
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A Wine Ninja in Provence