Rosé wine has been booming in popularity over the past couple of decades, and each year I publish a little roundup of a whole bunch of rosés as the early summer season kicks off. Traditionally that’s the time when thoughts turn to chilled pink wines, though if truth be told, for many people rosé has finally become a year-round tipple of choice, with as much legitimacy as white or red.
As always, this is a highly personal selection of over 30 rosés and is not meant to be either totally representative or inclusive: there are literally hundreds of rosés on the shelves and of course thousands that don’t make it to the UK, and I think this selection includes some interesting choices as well as broadly representing the UK rosé market, which this year is dominated by France once again,
(2016) Zibibbo is a common grape on the island of Sicily, but is in fact a synonym for the Muscat of Alexandria, which Brown Brothers have blended with Cienna to make this engaging, sweet and frothy approximation of the Moscato d'Asti style. With a peachy colour, a soft mousse and plenty of vivid and sweet strawberry fruit offset by decent acidity it's a summer in the garden/wimbledon/strawberry tart-matching delight and simple, uncomplicated fun.
(2016) There has been a steady stream of Pinot Noir-based rosés emanating from Cava producers, and this is as good an example as any. The colour is relatively deep, the wine made by macerating the Pinot for a short period to extract flavour and colour, with small red fruits, cherry and a tight herby back note. Luxurious and mouth-filling with its mousse and sweet strawberry-touched fruit, but a nip of tannin and good acidity give it a dry and food-friendly finish. Ministry of Drinks' price is by the six-bottles, but use the wine-searcher link for other stockists.
What a fine and unsual rosé this is, a blend of Pinot Noir and Merlot, with it zingy bold pink colour and bucketload of fresh cherry and crunchy red berry fruit. Lots of charm and bold fruit, but structure too, a big orangy core of acidity keeping it all together. Drink with paella perhaps?
(2016) Although sparkling red wines from Australia are not uncommon, to find one - made from Cabernet Franc - from the central Loire Valley in France is much more unusual. This is also demi-sec, or 'half dry', so after a nose of cocoa, mulberry, cassis and plum comes a just - just - off dry palate with racy red and black berry fruit and a lovely cherry-skin freshness of acidity. Unusual and at time of writing down to £9.99 as part of a mixed half dozen. Watch the video for full review and food-matching ideas.
(2016) This spumante is a blend of Pinot Grigio, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Noir from the Piemonte and the Oltrepò Pavese regions.Apples, flowers and fresh cut lemon aromas then a palate showing a hint of toast and also a hint of sweetness, decent with a touch of sherbet vivaciousness towards the finish. Easy drinking fun in the Prosecco style.
(2016) A saignée of Pinot Noir. Seems a little yeastier than the brut in some ways, very delicate colour and very delicate berry aromas, little rose-hip floral nuances too, and nicely dry, redcurrant and raspberry palate with a lovely shimmering length.
(2016) With summer just about here how about the frothy strawberry and cherry charms of this? With its come-hither beauty it is well balanced, its strawberry pulp sweetness precisiely defined by its acidity. Delicious - and biodynamic.
(2016) Made by the Champagne house of Devaux, as recently featured here on wine-pages, 'Oeil de Perdrix' refers to the delicate 'partridge eye' colour of this wine, 100% Pinot Noir, with delicate aromas of redcurrant and raspberry, a touch of briar, and a delicate palate too which is light, fresh and easy to drink. With its crisp, dry, subtle red fruit flavours it is delicious aperitif stuff, and a perfect St Valentine's Day treat.
(2016) Fabulous stuff this, made from the Jura's Trousseau grape, which even in the region's still red wines gives such a pale colour that the wines are really more rosé than red. Here a deliciously dry, lightly oxidised style of wine has a pale orange colour and indeed orange and bruised apple fruit before a palate that is fresh and long, with crisp mousse and a touch of wild strawberry flavour that is delicious.
(2016) Quite a depth of cherry colour to this blend of 90% Pinot Noir, 10% Chardonnay. It has small bubbles and a very racy raspberry character to the moussey flavour. Dry, small red fruits, a hint of toffee and tannin, but lovely freshness and bite on the finish.
(2016) An unusual rosé sparkling wine, made from 100% Hampshire-grown Pinot Meunier, which winemaker Corinne Seely concluded was good enough and mature enough for this bottling as the vineyard passed its first decade since being planted. Though it comes from a single year (2014) it is being sold without a vintage date. It's a subtle and very refined style this - not the place to come if you are seeking a strawberry-scented, softened style of pink fizz, for this is bone-dry and taut, small redcurrant and apple fruit notes, bags of acidity and a clean, linear palate showing a crisp, racy mousse. Not showy, but very good.
(2016) The high proportion of Chardonnay (45%) in the blend perhaps adds to the sense of creamy finesse in this wine, though with 18% of Pinot Noir blended in too it does not lack attractive small red berry fruitiness and a bit of texture and structure too. Wonderfully fresh and with a creaminess to the mousse, it is an utterly charming, rose-hip scented rosé Champagne, beautifully balanced and long too. Widely available with prices ranging from the low £40s on special deals to £60 per bottle.
(2016) Pale coloured again with strawberry and cherry, a real brightness to this. Juicy, lemony, not a huge flavour on the palate but then it has food balance and zippy freshness, and is easily recommendable.
(2016) Tarrango is a cross of Portugal's noble Touriga Nacional and the humble Sultana grape, bottled here by Brown Brothers as a deeply coloured rosé (or a very light red) that has aromas of spices and coffee, cherry and plummy fruit, and something a little bit briary and Pinot-like. In the mouth it is not heavy with only 12.5% alcohol, but it has a creamy texture and whilst there is dry red fruit, it is that coffee and spice and an earthiness that gives this a bit of seriousness and savouriness. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2016) Pale and peachy-pink, this blend of Grenache and Syrah has some small, dry, red berry fruitiness but is fairly muted aromatically, perhaps a hint of watermelon. On the palate it's dry, fresh, with a herby dry edge to the fruit, but it doesn't quite have the charm of the best from the Côtes de Provence.
(2016) Pale in a Provence stylee, with lots of boosted floral and red cherry fragrance, a touch of cherry bubblegum. The palate is dry and refined, those fruity characters pushing through against a dry acidity.
(2016) An organic rosé from the south of France, but a little different from the typical model of nearby Provence. This blend of 50% Cinsault, 30% Syrah and 20% Grenache has more colour though still relatively pale, but the rosy red apple and summer fruit aromas are to the fore, ripe on the initial palate impression, but then fine savoury acidity and a nip of structural tannin slips in. Fresh, elegant but rounded.
(2016) In the traditional slim-waisted Provence bottle, with a pale colour and herb-touched raspberry and sweet cherry, there is a hint of sweetness to this, but also fresh lemon and orange acidity, in a stylish, easy summer drinking rosé.
(2016) Made from 100% Garnacha (Grenache), this has a fashionably pale peachy/salmon colour and pretty nose with dry red fruits, some floral notes and a cool watermelon character. Bone dry, it has more tight reducurranty fruit and a bit of texture, in a savoury, food friendly dry style.
(2016) A delicate salmon to more vivid pink, this is a really pretty blend of Merlot and Sangiovese from Barone Ricasole's Tuscan vineyards. It has plenty of spark and life about it, the crispness and bright fruitiness enhanced by the refined, but decisive acid core. Most enjoyable and versatile, from garden sipping to fish and seafood matching. Roberts & Speight have 50p off at time of review.
(2016) There's a touch of copper to the colour of this Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah blend, and a dry, vinous nose, not overtly fruity, and very different from many more up-front pink styles, with a touch of tobacco and briar. On the palate dry and food-friendly, apple and lemon and understatement. Dry, cleansing but doesn't leap out of the glass.
(2016) Beautifully packaged, with subtle slate and schist to the peppy raspberry and cherry pit dry aromas, perhaps the small percentage of the white variety Rolle (Vermentino) adding to the elegance. The flavour follows through, with loads of tangerine and mandarin orange brightness and hints of tropical flavour. Lovely long finish and balance.
(2016) Great personality here, punchy and full of flavour, this is vivacious stuff with an extra lever of acidity and the beautiful fresh strawberry and cherry fruit. What a lovely summer in the garden wine.
(2016) This Loire rosé made from Pinot Noir is a personal favourite with FvD's owner Esme Johnsons, and offers a refined raspberry and cherry freshness and hint of tannin as it hits the palate to add seriousness. Huge acid backbone adds a savoury elegance and structure, but still fresh and easily approachable.
(2016) Made from organically-grown Pinot Noir in Penedès in north-east Spain, this is fashionably pale in colour and has a cool, light cherry and raspberry-scented appeal, peachy too, but delicate. IN the mouth it is bone-dry with a stony mineral acidity, a touch of cherry bubblegum brightness, but the dry lemony acidity cleanses the finish. The RRP is £13.99 and Last Drop Wines and Mill Hill Wines of London were quoted as stockists, but at time of review I can only see this with the Spanish stores quoted, who do ship to the UK.
(2016) Made from 60-year-old vines of Grenache Gris, fermented with wild yeasts and weighing in with an uncompromising 15% abv, this rosé marches to Amistat's excellent and incisive beat. Pale and peachy in colour, it is hugely intense on the palate, not oxidised, but earthy and concentrated with red berries, Grenache nuttiness and a huge punch of minerality and dry, orangy intensity to the acidity. A powerhouse rosé with a nip of tannin and distinctive indeed,
(2016) This is drinking beautifully, an organic rosé with herb-touched orange and crunchy apple, delightful with loads of peachy but dry fruit and there's a whiff of ozone through the citrussy finish. A great example of the style.
(2016) Each year I publish my 'Wines of the Year', in which I name just one favourite wine from a whole year's drinking in seven different categories. In 2015 the Rosé category was scooped by the 2014 vintage of this wine, and I have to say this 2015 is every bit as good. It's a delicate, shimmering, but personality-packed pink with grapefruit and hints of peachiness against riveting acidity in a super-fresh, gastronomic but deliciously quaffable style, and it really is a Provence benchmark. Watch the video for food matching ideas and much more information. Interestingly, it's on offer at time of writing 'en primeur' - you can buy a case now for £98, pay the VAT and duty when it is delivered before Easter, and the equivalent bottle price will be £12.89 instead of the £14.95 it will cost when it goes on sale by the normal channel.
(2016) Another determined Provence Rosé from Le Grand Cros, hefty in alcohol with its 14% yet surprisingly delicate in colour, aroma and flavour. Pale salmon-peach in colour, the nose is dry with a hint of salty minerals, apples and lemon rind. In the mouth a delicious burst of full fruitiness, citrus and red berries, all nicely proportioned and balanced with the acidity in another fine wine from the Faulkner family's estate.
(2016) A brand new super-premium Côtes de Provence Rosé, late harvested and made in a gastronomic style with a beefy 14% alcohol, it is a blend of 50% Mourvèdre, 40% Grenache and 10% Syrah. The pale peachy colour leads on to a fresh, fruity but stull typically Provence nose, with some straw, herbs, cool apple and minerality. Substantial on the palate, small red fruit notes complement to the peachiness of the fruit and the acid balance is excellent. A fine contender up there with the Miraval, Whispering Angel and other top examples. Not in UK at time of writing, but my guess is it will hit shelves at between £15 and £20.
(2016) From a magnum (which looks so impressive) this is sweetie, rose-hip and pomegranate scented stuff, dry but filled with sweet mid-palate flavour, and a long, tight, acid structure in the finish. Impressive. Note: price is for a magnum (150cl).
(2016) The Rosé from Brown is an attempt to make a more serious and, above all, gastronomic pink, with its barrel ageing and dry structure showing just a nip of tannin. The colour is a pale peach that is very à la mode, with small, redcurranty, red fruit aromas and a nice touch of nutty, gravelly character. On the palate there's more of that dry red berry fruit, but the touch of tannin, the touch of barrel weight and the excellent acidity gives this both juicy freshness and a bit of structure too. It might well age for a few years very successfully. Note the price quoted at time of review is actually for the 2012 vintage.