Rosé is made for long summer days and sultry summer nights . Sales in the UK are flourishing. Traditionally, the wines are made by allowing the white grape juice to come into contact with the dark grape skins, resulting in dry wines that can vary from the palest of salmon-pinks to the more earthy crimson hues. The heartland of rosé is the Côtes de Provence in France, although sales of equally attractive rosés from the Rhône Valley are also increasing. Not to be outdone, splendid rosés come from Spain, Portugal and Austria as well as the New World. Also making an impact this year are superb wines from England, which put it into the top rank of rosé-producing countries. Here, we’ve selected some of our favourite bottles.
1. Mirabeau Côtes de Provence Rosé 2015, 13%: £9.79, Waitrose
In 2008, English couple Stephen and Jeany Cronk and their three children packed their bags, left south-west London and moved to the heart of rosé country in Provence to fulfil a dream of producing great wine. And they’ve succeeded, with this lovely pale pink wine, jam-packed with ripe berry flavours and an underlying fresh acidity.
2. Bandol Mas de la Rouviere Rosé 2015, 14%: £18.95, Yapp
Import a little sunshine from the South of France with a rosé crafted by the Bunan family of winemakers in Bandol. Their vineyard overlooks the Mediterranean and their well-rounded wine is rich in almost sorbet-like fruit flavours, elegantly balanced on the palate . Enjoy with shellfish, fish or lightly spiced dishes.
3. Les Dauphins Côtes du Rhône Réserve Rosé, £13%: £6, Asda
An excellent everyday rosé at a very reasonable price, this comes from a Rhône vineyard not far from Avignon that was named winery of the year in 2015. Fresh and bursting with summer fruit flavours, it’s good with fish or salads or with the obligatory outdoor barbecue. The snazzy Art Nouveau label makes it a good-looking bottle, too.
4. The Ned Pinot Rosé Marlborough 2015, 13%: £10.99, Majestic
One of only a small number of rosé wines from New Zealand, this is an exceptional blend of Pinot Noir and Pinot Grigio that results in a dry and easy-drinking aromatic offering with strawberry flavours and a creamy texture. The vineyard also boasts a pair of resident falcons to scare away birds, and so reducing the need for pest control.
5. Chivite Las Fincas Rosado 2015, 13.5%: £12.95, Great Western Wine
Winemaker Julian Chivite and top Spanish chef Juan Mari Arzak put their heads together to create the perfect rosé, and this is the result. A blend of garnacha and tempranillo grapes, it’s very pale in colour but intensely fruity with concentrated berry flavours and a lingering and memorable aftertaste. Great with food, but good to drink on its own, too.
6. Miraval Rosé 2014 Côtes de Provence, 13%: £19.75, Berry Bros and Rudd
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie do more than act. With the help of winemaker Marc Perrin they also produce a superb rosé from a vineyard they bought in 2012 in the heart of Provence. A beautiful pale pink, its mouth-watering ripe strawberry flavour balanced by an underlying acidity has already won it accolades. The perfect summer drink.
7. Côtes de Provence Sainte Victoire 2015, 13%: £9.99, Majestic
This is a refreshing and dry wine from the world’s most celebrated rosé region. A lovely shade of salmon pink, it has a delicate but crisp flavour of berries with a trace of wild herbs that provides the perfect accompaniment to an al fresco light summer lunch of fish or chicken. The Negrel family have been producing wine in the area since 1813, so there’s a good pedigree here.
8. Coeur de Cardeline Côtes de Provence 2014, 12.5%: Co-operative Food
Provence rosé sales are up 37 per cent year on year in the UK and with wines such as these, it’s not hard to see why. Fresh, dry and vibrant, it’s summer in a bottle with the Grenache grape adding a depth of flavour and the Cinsault providing that added sprightliness. And it’s a wine that’s suitable for vegetarians and vegans, too.
9. Château d'Esclans Les Clans 2012, 14%: £38, Amazon
Who said rosé doesn’t produce really great wines? If you’re determined to push the boat try this complex and elegant wine with its creamy almost buttery taste and layers of ripe plum, berry and peach fighting for your attention. Aged in oak, at the Chateau d’Esclans near the town of Frejus, it’s the acknowledged jewel in the crown of Provence rosés.
10. Rosé von der Blaufränkisch Reserve 2015, 12%: £14.40, Alpine Wines
Here’s a very pale salmon pink rosé from grapes grown in Austria’s oldest wine appellation on the Western shore of Lake Neusiedl in Austria. It’s packed full of fresh strawberry, redcurrant and red berry flavours with a smattering of greengages and pears, too, and its natural semi-sweetness is balanced by an underlying acidity. Serve as an ice-cold aperitif on a hot day.
11. M Chapoutier Belleruche Côtes du Rhône 2015, 13%: £12.50, Hanging Ditch
They’ve been making wine in the Rhône valley since Roman times, and this lively light pink rosé would have made any centurion happy. A blend of Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah, it has those inimitable raspberry and currant flavours with hints of plum and grenadine. A must for the summer barbecue or with light fish dishes.
12. Lago Cerqueira Vinho Verde, 10%: £6.99, Drink Portugese Wine
Many a wine drinker’s first experience of tasting rosé would have come from a Portugese wine. Here’s one from the famous Vinho Verde appellation that won’t set you back a packet and, at 10%, has a lower alcohol content than the others here. It also has that slight fizziness, which, added to the cherry flavour and balancing acidity makes it ideal outdoor refreshment. Bring on the barbie.
13. M&S English Pinot Noir Rosé 2014, 11%: £12, case of six £72, Marks and Spencer
Here’s a superb English Pinot Noir rosé. M&S winemaker Sue Daniels worked with the renowned winemaker John Worontschak at Denbies Wine Estate in Surrey to produce this delicate and dry rosé with its summer berry flavours enhanced by traces of creamy vanilla. A wine to match a perfect English summer’s day.
14. Silent Pool Rosé 2015, £10.5%: £15.50, Vintage Roots
There’s nothing to blush about here. This award-winning English rosé can hold its head up high among its foreign rivals and was good enough to have been chosen for the royal barge during the Queen’s jubilee celebrations. From the Albury organic vineyard near Guildford in Surrey, it’s a crisp blend of Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir with an abundance of ripe summer fruit flavours and an elegant, dry finish. A rosé to savour.
15. 2015 Berry Bros & Rudd Château La Mascaronne Provence Rosé, 13%: £12.95, Berry Bros and Rudd
A beautiful blushing pink, this is from an organic vineyard close to the medieval village of Le Luc in Provence is a new addition to the Berry Bros list this year. A nose of wild berries and fresh white peaches is complemented by a touch of spice. With its full-on Mediterranean flavours, it should make those lazy, hazy days of summer even more enjoyable.
Our best buy, a great taste of Provence for under a tenner, is the Mirabeau. Or if you really want to go to town, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie's outstanding Miraval Rosé has a touch of Hollywood glamour. Closer to home, the Surrey-produced Silent Pool Rosé holds its own against Continental competition.
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