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Can rosé wines really age?

Yes, there’s an ocean of young, pink wines to choose from. But why not offer a bottle-aged, more food-friendly alternative? A niche set of southern French producers do just that – though their approach divides opinion.

The subject of ageing rosé elicits passionate debate. For many, ‘aged rosé’ or rosé de garde, still means rosé with only two to three years of age; but with the increase in quality inherent in wines of this type that have a capacity to age, these rosés are still youthful.

The big question is: ‘How do rosés continue to age?’ What are their secondary and tertiary profile evolutions as they shift from fresh fruit to other flavours?

Scroll down to see tasting notes and scores for six age-worthy rosé wines

‘Rosé should be drunk young and fresh’ is the prevailing mantra of producers and critics, who cite its simplicity and fun-loving style as one of the many reasons for the rosé boom. Vintage charts and extra wine knowledge are not required.

In southern France, rosé regarded as good for the season has meant traditionally that winemakers rush to bottle their wine by January/February to be tasted in time for reviews and new listings from Easter. By the following spring, any wines left over are relegated as old stock to dispose of by the time the new wines come in.

Many believe rosé does not age well beyond a few years because older vintages have never been tasted, yet very few producers retain a library of older vintages to taste or show to those who are interested – let alone to sell! It makes it difficult to evaluate and assess the ageing potential of rosés, requiring great effort to locate old vintages.

Near Narbonne in Languedoc, Gérard Bertrand is keeping back examples of his Clos du Temple to be able to offer vertical tastings, and Château du Galoupet in Provence, now in the LVMH stable, is considering the same policy.

Benefits of age: Gabay’s half-dozen age-worthy rosé wines to tuck away

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