"A little bit of this, a little bit of that, but just your plain old summer," forecasted netweather.tv. Perhaps a little more of that than we bargained for. Scarcely into July and I've already dusted the barbie down three times this year, once in March, once during the sunny pre-Jubilee week and once before flaming June flickered and died. I have the empty rosé bottles to prove it. Since this weekend marks the end of Wimbledon fortnight, the chances are that we may yet be in for a fourth short-lived summer and that can only mean that it's time to chill down and bring out the rosé again.
If it's cynical to suggest that rosé wine is blooming, as it were, because the wine industry is cashing in, the overall benefits today are wider choice and better wines – though I'm not entirely convinced about attempts to make the style more of an all-year-round drink. Like ice-cream and beer, we may not eat and drink them only on hot days, but sunshine helps. I've been getting plenty of evidence of the wide range of rosés on offer at the various wine tastings I've recently attended.
Starting at the least demanding, most affordable base of the pyramid, I would happily guzzle a bottle of the pretty-in-pink cheap and cheerfully strawberryish 2011 El Guia Rosado, £3.99, Waitrose, made entirely from the bobal grape in Spain's Utiel Requena region, or, still in Spain, the deliciously berry-packed, refreshingly juicy 2011 Viña Garnacha Rosé, £5.49, Laithwaites (0845 194 7720). The 2011 Alpha Zeta 'R' Rosato Veronese, £5.50, The Wine Society, is also a fun cherryish rosé made from Valpolicella's corvina grape. All are simple enough does-what-it-says-on-the tin rosés – but you can do even better.
Back in Spain, Artadi's 2011 Artazuri Rosé, Navarra, Spain, £9.25, Berry Bros & Rudd (0800 280 2440), with its fragrant berry-fruit succulence, peppery twist and cranberry bite, is superb. As is the 2011 L'Hydropathe Elite, Côtes de Provence, Sainte Victoire, £15.95, Lea & Sandeman (020-7244 0522). The strange name of Domaine Sainte Lucie's top rosé is matched by the bell-bottom bottle but the wine is a classically pale, floral, and elegant with a raspberryish deliciousness.
From the delicious to the fabulous, the amber-hued 2000 Viña Tondonia Rosado Gran Reserva, Bodegas R López de Heredia, £20.75, Berry Bros & Rudd, is unique, savoury, with aromatics of rose and cloves and superb berry fruit, this garnacha/tempranillo blend is one of the most deliciously distinctive rioja rosés you'll ever come across.