Rosé loco! The juiciest pinks of summer 2006

xWith Wimbledon starting and a definite feeling of summer in the air, here are a whole bunch of really nice pink wines on my recommended drinking list, priced from under a fiver to around £30.

Henriot (France) Champagne Brut Rosé
From the house of Henriot which is owned by the Burgundy domaine of Bouchard Père et Fils, this is a lovely example, made with around 20 per cent still Pinot Noir added to the blend as is customary with many Champagne houses. The wine has a pale coppery pink colour and plenty of small bubbles. On the nose a juicy strawberry fruit plays against earthier, caramel and lightly toasty notes. On the palate this has a rich, rolling mousse and lovely balance, with ripe red fruits and a hedgerow quality along with fine, delicate acidity. It has good length and a very nicely composed finish, where the fruit, undertow of toast and tannin, and lemony acidity are in harmony. Around £27.99 Oddbins, Harvey Nichols, Wimbledon Wines.

Pamela Geddes (Spain) La Rosita 2003
First up is a delightful sparkling wine from one of the most interesting winemakers around, Scot Pamela Geddes. Pamela gave up a career in the Scotch Whisky industry to make wine, first in Australia, then South America, and finally at her own winery near Barcelona in Catalunya. I first came across Pamela several years ago with her “La Pamelita”, a wild but delicious traditional method sparkling red wine made from Monastrell – an invention of Pamela’s following her time at Seppelt in Australia where she made, and fell in love with, sparkling reds. This is Pamela’s sparkling Monastrell rosé a 12.5% beauty with a pale pomegranate colour, delightfully small, persistent bubbles and a nose crammed with fresh, summery berries, a touch of briar and a delicious creaminess. On the palate it is off-dry, with super ripe berry fruit, and a character of cream and strawberry pulp. The acidity is beautifully judged, with the mousse soft yet persistent, in a really lovely wine. £9.99, Cornelius, Hendersons, Peckhams, Luvians, WineRaks. Some may still have stock of the recently disgorged 1998 vintage wine, which is equally delicious.

La Châsse du Pape (France) Syrah Rosé 2005
Producers of very good quality Vin de Pays d’Oc red and white wines, this was my first taste of Rhône-based Gabriel Meffre’s pink. It has a vivid crimsony pink colour, and a nose of raspberries and rose-hip fruit. On the palate it is fruity and quite crisp, with an elegant palate of pure raspberry fruit, with a touch of bubble-gummy quality and a fine, fresh, frisson of acidity running through its core. Try this with charcuterie. £4.99, Asda, Sainsbury’s

Torres (Spain) De Casta 2005
Torres is an ultra reliable producer of refined and elegant table wines. This pale pomegranate-coloured rosé comes from a very similar region to La Rosita above, and is made from Garnacha and Cariñena. The nose is discreetly spicy, with notes of crushed cranberries and dried fruits. On the palate it is cool and elegant, with a definite white wine character showing cool lemony and crisp redcurrant fruit, and a bracing backbone of very fine acidity. A little hint of a juicy cherry and raspberry fruit quality comes through, but this stays dry and food-focused into a balanced finish. £5.99-£6.40, Noel Young, Portland Wine, Laymont & Shaw, Flying Corkscrew, Fenwicks.

Château de Fesles (France) Rosé d’Anjou 2004
From a very fine producer of sweet Bonnezeaux wines, this rosé is a blend of Grolleau (70%) and Gamay (30%). It has a pale salmon pink colour, and the extra year in bottle has softened the nose, encouraging tertiary aromas of herbs and minerals, amongst redcurrant fruit. On the palate there is a hit of sweetness, and technically this must count as off-dry, with such beautifully ripe and rounded strawberry sundae fruit. There is a good foundation of cherry acidity here, but this is soft and easy to drink, yet with enough subtle, herbal and earthy character to add complexity. Delicious. £6.69, Oddbins.

Clarendelle (France) Bordeaux Rosé 2005
Prince Robert of Luxembourg is the great grandson of Clarence Dillon, an American financier who purchased Château Haut-Brion in the 1930s, later adding Château La Mission Haut-Brion to his portfolio. Prince Robert is the man in charge today, but rather than rest on his laurels, he has launched a new mid-priced wine Bordeaux “brand” called Clarendelle, consisting of white, red, rosé and sweet Bordeaux wines. I will be reviewing the complete range soon, but this Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc rosé is worthy of inclusion here. The wine has a vivid pink hue, and an attractively floral nose of Parma violets and roses, with raspberry fruit. On the palate there is real structure to this wine, not just from its acid framework, but from supple background tannins and a hint of spice. The fruit is keen-edged but ripe and generous, with flavours of summer berries. A composed and elegant wine that could also be cellared for a year or two. Clarendelle will be available in the UK soon.


Lazaridi (Greece) Amethystos Rosé 2005
This blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot comes from the Drama region of Greece, and is a rosé I have followed for some time. It is a confident and exuberant style of rosé, with a deep cherry colour and a vinous nose showing plenty of red fruit and a hint of earthiness. On the palate it is grippy and structured, with a definite tannic background and plenty of spice, but there is abundant raspberry and red berry fruit that is quite chewy and dense, and a long finish where mineral acidity adds a keen edge. £8.49, Oddbins.

Errazuriz (Chile) Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé 2005
Errazuriz is currently a Chilean winery on full song, and their take on the Rosé style is a distinctly red wine-orientated, deeply-coloured wine bottled under screwcap. At 13.5% this is no lightweight. On the nose there is abundant, fresh, raspberry and quite intense cherry fruit, with a floral hint, but plenty of driving red fruit. On the palate it is quite full-bodied for a pink wine, with plenty of creamy red fruits and a hint of tannin adding bite and depth. The acidity here is lovely, giving this a freshness and palate-cleansing food-friendly appeal (chorizo, salamis and the like spring to mind). £6.99, Thresher.

Flagstone (South Africa) Fish Hoek Rosé 2005
From Jack Bruce of Flagstone wines, one of my favourite South African producers. An unusual blend of 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 42% Pinotage and 13% Shiraz, it has a beautiful pomegranate colour and a nose just brimming with rose hip and cherry, and soft, elegant summer berry fruits. Served well chilled, the palate has a burst of ripe, fresh fruit that floods across the tongue, with a decisive but very nicely integrated acidity and any hint of creamy fruit sweetness tempered by its dry, savoury finish. £5.99, Oddbins

Domaine Bassac (France) VdP Coteaux de Murviel Rosé 2005
From a biodynamic and organic wine estate in the Languedoc, this is another unusual blend that contains Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon, as well as the more expected Cinsault and Syrah from this region. It has a pale, salmon pink colour, and a delicately floral and herb-tinged nose, with fine, ripe strawberry and lighter fruit notes. On the palate this has a very nice light red wine fruity character, with a roughening hint of tannin and lovely , soft, earthy tones to the sweet fruit. The acidity here is delightful too, being fresh, crisp and mineral, but integrating nicely with the fruit. Good length too, in a delightful rosé. £6.50, Friarwood Wines.

Quinta da Giesta (Portugal) Dão Touriga Nacional Rosé 2005
100% Touriga Nacional was given six hours skin contact for this delicate, but vibrantly pink wine. At only 12% alcohol it is lighter than many here, and the nose is all old roses and floral finesse, with some creamy raspberry fruit. On the palate there’s an absolute burst of intense, ripe, essence of summer berry fruit with lots of fruit coulis sweetness before a fine, poised acidity sweeps through. A lovely summery example. UK Agent is Raymond Reynolds (+44 (0)1663 742230. Around £6.50.

La Corrensoise (France) Côtes de Provence Rosé 2004
A blend of 75 per cent Grenache with Carignan and Syrah, this 2004 Provence rosé has a beautifully delicate salmon pink colour and a fairly muted nose of gentle berry fruits with a hint of caramel. On the palate the extra year in bottle has given it a very soft, peachy character, with some fresh raspberry notes and a touch of minerality about the acidity. A fairly serious, dry style, this too would be a good food wine. £6.59, Oddbins

Chapel Down (England) English Rosé 2004
This wine from Chapel Down in Kent has a little bit of everything in the blend: Pinot Noir, Dornfelder, Rondo, Madaline, Angevine, Seyval Blanc and Schönburger to be precise. There’s the tiniest spritz of Co2 that has kept this pale pink 2004 very fresh. The nose is floral and redcurranty, immediately suggesting an English summer, which is appropriate. On the palate there is a delicate juiciness of strawberry and dry, redcurrant and pomegranate fruit, with a fine acidity making this a rosé in the decidedly fresh and crisp style. Ideal for sipping well-chilled in the garden. £6.99.

Domaine de la Mordorée (France) Côtes-du-Rhône Rosé 2005
From an extremely highly regarded Rhône producer, this is a beautiful rosé with a vibrant cherry colour and a nose that is filled with rose hip, sweet Maraschino cherries and summery, floral nuances. On the palate there’s a clean, fruity, raspberry and cherry bite to this wine, with lots of acidity and just a touch too much alcohol perhaps (14 per cent) adding a little rawness on the finish. This is a food wine however, and along with some ham, char-grilled salmon or a tuna steak, the alcohol would certainly be less apparent. £7.95, Lea & Sandeman

Simon Gilbert (Australia) “Card Collection” Cabernet Rosé 2005
Most definitely a rosé of a darker, more red wine character than many, this pours a pale crimson colour, and has an intensely fruity nose of blackcurrant and summer berry fruits, with a slightly earthy undertone. On the palate it is again very fruit driven, with plenty of ripe red and black berry fruits filling the mouth, and a touch of grippy tannin just on the sides of the cheeks. There is a sweetness and intensity about this wine, counterbalanced by a dry finish and decent acidity, that keeps it fresh enough, though it is a fairly serious style of rosé. £7.99, Define Food & Wine, Eskview Wines, Whittalls, Magnums, Shepherd Foods.

Quinta de Covela (Portugal) Escolha Rosé 2004
The white partner to this wine was recently ‘Wine of the Week’ on wine-pages, and this blend of Touriga Nacional, Merlot and “others” is a lovely wine too. The back label describes it as “Grenadine coloured” which I’d never have thought of, but it is perfectly accurate. It has a soft, sweet earth and plummy-fruited nose with the creaminess and richness of a red wine. On the palate it has some real structure, with a gripping edge of tannins and spice to some fine red fruit, and a warming sense of alcohol and even a touch of oak (?) in the finish. A really nice food wine this, of excellent quality. £8.99, Corney & Barrow