Food & Drink: Summer drinks in the pink: Light and fruity roses are perfect for long, sunny days, says Anthony Rose

Despite all the marketing efforts to convince us that rose is a wine for all seasons, most roses, for me anyway, come into their own only when the sun is beating down. While the weather holds (or if not, when the sun comes back), there should be as many opportunities for al fresco sipping as there are good-value roses this summer.

The cheapest pink thrill of the month, the 1992 le Clos de Paulilles, pounds 2.99, Oddbins, from Chateau de Jau in the Pyrenean foothills of the Roussillon, is deep-hued and aromatic, with clean, full-bodied fruitiness. From neighbouring Languedoc, but disappearing fast from the shelves, comes the stylish 1993 Domaine de L'Hortus Rose, Pic Saint Loup, pounds 4.99- 5.20, Bottoms Up, Wine Rack, Adnams. Made by Jean Orliac, an enthusiastic young Languedoc grower, it is one of the few genuine all-weather roses. Its blend of syrah, grenache and mourvedre provides the perfect balance and complexity to accompany food.

Italy's contribution this month comes from Australian 'flying winemaker' Kim Mylne, whose trip to Puglia last year resulted in the 1993 Puglian Rose, Vino da Tavola, Le Trulle, pounds 3.49, Victoria Wine, a pale-pink, characterful rose with a touch of strawberryish sweetness, but finishing stylishly dry.

Bordeaux, when it tries, is capable of producing appealing dry roses, such as the 1993 Chateau Prieure de Villepreux, Bordeaux Rose, pounds 3.79, selected Safeways, a delicately smoky wine with a light touch of oak. Meanwhile, the Day-glo pink, full- bodied, blackcurranty 1993 Chateau de Sours Rose, pounds 5.99, Majestic, maintains ex-Majestic director Esme Johnstone's tradition of providing good quality.

Not a million miles from Bordeaux, the Ryman stable of Chateau de la Jaubertie in Bergerac is a consistent producer of fine dry rose. The 1993 Chateau de la Jaubertie Rose, pounds 4.99, Thresher Wine Shops, Wine Rack, Bottoms Up, Victoria Wine, is no exception, with its exuberant, raspberryish fruit flavours and fine balance. It would be a shame to miss out on the characterful 1993 Vidal Private Bin Hawkes Bay Merlot Rose, pounds 6.49, Wine Rack, Bottoms Up, which topped the poll at a recent Wine magazine tasting of roses. Although not cheap, it is a super wine, full of thirst- quenching crunchy fruit, with the elegantly herbaceous, cool climate stamp of New Zealand.

From rose to fizz via rose fizz and Seppelt Pinot Rose NV, pounds 5.41, Oddbins (at six for the price of five). This is an elegant, tangily dry, bronze-pink Australian rose fizz with a touch of strawberry sweetness. From Bibendum's summer champagne offer, the best bet is an excellent grower's champagne from the Aube region, Albert Beerens, Brut Reserve, reduced from pounds 13.75 to pounds 11.99. The aromatic power and chocolatey sweetness of this sumptuous, golden champagne suggest it has had plenty of bottle-age.

Until the end of July, the Sainsbury's Vin de Pays d'Oc Rouge from Hugh Ryman, a juicy, typically robust blend of grenache and carignan with a bit of merlot and cabernet sauvignon thrown in, is on special offer at pounds 2.29, down from the normal pounds 2.59.

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