Though the very thought of thirst-quenching rosé may be tempting fate, the summer of 2010 to date has been kind to those of us whose rosé-tinted glasses are always half-full. Late August is the moment when the weather could go either way, a downhill slide towards a gloomy autumn or the glorious afterglow of an Indian summer. The latter, let's hope, as do England's winemakers, who are hoping for a great vintage for English wines, with one eye on the 2012 Olympics.
It's a time when holidaymakers on the great trek home are wondering where on earth to get hold of that rosé that imbued the hols with such a glow – and whether it will travel. If it tasted like liquid heaven in situ, your enjoyment probably had as much to do with the sunshine, the company, the fresh fish, salad and charcuterie; ambience, in a word. Even if you do manage to locate your wine here, it won't be so easy to re-create that special atmosphere.
Take Pastis. I can't get enough of its appetite-whetting virtues in the South of France. Back home, I can leave it.
What I can offer is a basis for that ambience and leave the rest to you. One delicious rosé tasted recently is the 2009 Domaine Sainte Lucie MiP, Made in Provence Classic Rosé, £6.95, half-litre, Lea & Sandeman, pale onion-skin, aromatic and delightfully dry, the archetypal berry fruitiness of Provençal rosé. From the Ardèche, the 2009 Maguelonne Rosé IGP Coteaux de l'Ardèche, £9.99, on offer at £7.99, until today, Oddbins, is a fresh and vivid, intensely raspberryish full-bodied Rhône blend from Château de la Selve.
Winner in the rosé category of the Vin de France competition this year was a clean, fresh apple and raspberryish 2009 Brise de France Rosé made from the cinsault grape, around £5.50, Upton-on-Severn Wines (01684 592668), Cranbrook Wines, Barking (020-8507 8447). Aptly from la ville rose of Toulouse, Domaine du Chiroulet's 2009 Temps des Fleurs, Côtes de Gascogne, £7.40, Drinks of France, in at the end of month, (drinksoffrance.co.uk), a spicy, rosehip and red cherryish blend, was another success. As was the 2009 Le Roc, La Saignée, £8.95, Lea & Sandeman, an aromatic blend with herbal notes behind its dry redcurrant fruitiness.
Given the value of Spanish rosado, it would be unfair to let French pinks have it all their own way. The 2009 Muga Rioja Rosado, £8.99, buy 2 = £7.99, Majestic, is one of the best new-wave riojas rosados. Miguel Torres' popular 2009 Torres Viña Sol Rosé, £5.19, until Tuesday, normally £6.69, Waitrose, with the peppery aromas and berry fruit freshness of garnacha and cariñena, is a pleasure. As are the strawberryish 2009 Pleyades Garnacha Rosado, £5.61, Asda, and the delightfully dry 2009 Campaneo Seléccion Old Vines Garnacha Rosé, £6.02, Asda.
Great summer weather or not, you shouldn't need an excuse to enjoy rosé fizz of the quality of the Champagne Delamotte Rosé, £37.99, Corney & Barrow (020-7265 2444), an elegant, dry salmon pink fizz whose raspberryish mousse leaves you feeling as refreshed as a dip in the Med. For a handy budget alternative, you might try the Simonnet-Febvre Crémant de Bourgogne Rosé, around £12.99-£14.99, Bablake Wines, Bristol (0117 941 1511), Larners of Holt (01263 712244), Thorold Wines, Balham (020-8616 0503), a sparkling pinot noir with a sherbety summer-pudding tang.Reuse content