I recall one fine morning, several years ago, in the South of France, when I woke up with a light fuzziness to find myself on the patio of a charming Chateau. The breakfast was being laid out on a stone table, so big that from my position it covered the sky. The excesses of French hospitality meant that I’d almost forgotten the events of the previous night … a fabulous, hot evening which had introduced me for the first time to the finest and flirtiest of summer rosés.
A few decades back, if you wanted a glass of pink in the UK, it would be a sickly sweet, crimson Zinfandel from a neglected shelf of the supermarket, but our access to wines has dramatically improved over the years and we understand the complexity of grape varieties in a way that would have baffled our 70s counterparts. In short, we discovered the subtleties of good wine and it is undeniable that the beautifully pale Provençal rosé has captured the imagination of millennials who look for easy flexible drinking in the summer sun. On Instagram #rosé will give you 3.4 million hits.
The most popular way for winemakers to create the distinctive hue of a rosé is to leave the pressed grapes in contact with the skins of the dark black grape varieties that are used to make it. Where red wine might take weeks or months to ferment with its skins, a rosé is left for a matter of hours, to create a hint of colour, resulting in characteristics more familiar to white grape wines. Made from a wide variety of grapes, kissed by the southern sun, its popularity has spread around the globe, and we love it so much at Thyme, we have claimed one as our own!
We have recently gathered into the fold new friends of Thyme from the extraordinary Domaine Grand Bastide Vinyard, in the countryside at Tourettes. Surrounded by charming Provençal villages and only minutes from the lake at St Cassien, the vineyard walks out of the imagination and delivers everything you might hope for from the South of France; its relaxed elegance reminds us a little of Thyme. They are producing a rosé of humble Grenache, Merlot and Syrah for us, with all you would expect from a pale dry rosé; an easy gong wine bursting with the flavours of red fruits, it’s perfect tout seul or with something light and summery from the Ox Barn menu.
The origins of rosé reach back to the times of the ancient Greeks, its rocky history over the centuries is like a labyrinth, but really, this scrumptious, fashionable drink is exactly what it should be - easy to drink, easy on the eye. Don’t overthink it. Simply join us for a glass or two on the Ox Barn terrace this summer, take a seat and enjoy Charlie's new lunchtime 'cut off menu' or let the evening sun encourage you to open another bottle ...