Don’t call it rosé

Rosé wine is a veritable megatrend in the wine world. Growth can be seen in almost all markets. Clarete with its rosy guise, fits perfectly into this development. But beware: Clarete is its own style of wine. Darren Smith says we will be hearing a lot more about it.

In Ribera del Duero, Clarete has its Roman roots
In Ribera del Duero, Clarete has its Roman roots

Not to be confused with claret, or, for that matter, clairette, clarete is a wine style of which you may well never have heard, but of which you can expect to hear a lot more. 

Although clarete is similar to rosé, it is not simply rosé by another name. By definition, it is a wine made from co-fermented red and white grapes, which are all picked at the same time and thrown into a fermenting vessel together. Clarete is vinified for structure and aged longer than a typical rosé (sometimes in barrel, sometimes in tank on lees) for added complexity. Wines made in this recherché style can appear anywhere from pale pink to deep garnet in colour depending on maceration time, grape varieties and the ratio of white to red grapes. 

While in many wine regions the co-ferment winemaking tradition has lapsed into obscurity, one place in which it continues to prosper is northern Spain. In bars fanning out from the city of Valladolid, clarete continues to be consumed as a light, refreshing, not-quite-white, not-quite-red. In regions like Rioja, where notable clarete-making villages include San Asensio (where delirious locals entertain themselves by being sprayed with clarete from a water cannon all day), Cordovin, Badarán, Azofra and Alesanco, stalwart defenders of this most tradition of wine styles include Honório Rubio and David Moreno. Cigales, just north of the Duero river, is also well-known for its clarete, while it is an historic and well-recognised style in parts of the Canary Islands. Likewise, in Portugal – more on which below…

For full access...

Please log in or register now»               No subscription?  Try out our free 14 day trial»

Latest Articles