Are you a fan of rosé? I’ve been a (probably too) avid drinker every summer since I was 21. If you’re like me and find that warmer months don’t suit the heaviness of red wine, and are not keen on white, then come, sit down – you’re amongst friends.
When I was 21, I spent some time in France as an Au-Pair. It was really enjoyable and if you’re not familiar with the job of an Au Pair, you can learn here. I continuously boggled my host parents minds by tearing up the lettuce for salads (french people serve the leaves whole and fold them with their utensils), wearing short skirts and asking dumb questions. I was especially shocking the day I asked “so red wine comes from red grapes, white wine comes from green grapes, and rosé is made by mixing them together?”
I can still hear their *gasps*.
For those of you who do not know, rosé is made from red grapes that are not exposed to the liquid as long, which renders a pale colour. Different varieties of grapes are used to create red, white, rosé and even green wine – but diluting red wine with white is not how rosé is made. Do not listen to 21 year old Brittany, she tears lettuce, wears short skirts and doesn’t know what she’s talking about.
Last month, I was able to broaden my knowledge at a rosé wine tasting at Papilles Wine Bar in Shoreditch. Papilles is a beautiful space that serves as a coffee shop and cafe by day, and turns into an expertly stocked wine bar at night. The husband and wife team behind the space were born in France and have incredible taste, as everything from the art, food and wine selection are thoughtfully curated. It doesn’t hurt that they’re also lovely people.
Featured that evening were four wines from the appellations of Coteaux d’Aix en Provence, Coteaux Varois, Côtes de Provence and Côtes de Provence St Victoire. I fell instantly for Le Pas Du Moine from Provence. Not too sweet, very smooth and low tannins. I found my new favourite rosé that night.
The rosés were paired with three regional specialties: Tapenade, Pissaladière (onion tart) and Panisse. If you have never had panisse before, I suggest that you do, as it’s basically a french version of a falafel: with chickpea flour formed into slabs and deep fried. It’s fantastic. Or I guess I should say “c’est fantastique!”
Sitting at the table with a cold glass of rosé in one hand, panisse in another, a warm an inviting space and good music – Papilles Wine Bar couldn’t be more enjoyable. The owners are friendly, knowledgeable and genuinely want to introduce people to french food and wine. They take the time and effort to source and produce their products, and make a concerted effort to ensure you enjoy your time there. In the age of so much fast and impersonal dining, Papilles felt like spending time at your cool French friend’s house. Where there was no rush, and your company was always appreciated.
I bet they would even let me ask my dumb questions.