Every year I gather rosé wines from around the world for my annual summer round-up. It’s by no means an exhaustive trawl, but there are three dozen wines reviewed here which is a decent sample of what’s on UK wine shelves. Hopefully it might just lead you to some best buys or new discoveries. The story of pale colours and Provençal style hasn’t changed again this year, with almost all wines either from Provence or made in that guise.
Each year I half expect the pendulum to have swung, with more producers aiming for deeply coloured, fruity rather than ‘mineral’ styles of rosé, but so far it’s the status quo. For now, pale and, hopefully, interesting still rules.
The other trend appears to be for fancy bottles. More and more producers, from Provence and Languedoc in particular, are going for striking and often quite heavy bespoke bottles of different shapes and sizes. As rosé tends to be sold in clear glass bottles, I guess shelf appeal is always seen as important, so it’s an extension of that.
(2023) The rosé version is made from Merlot and Pinot Noir, again sourced and bottled in Germany. This was probably my favourite of the Château delISH range tasted here. Some raspberry-like aromas as well as sherbet lemon and a little herbal tang. The palate is basically dry, rosy apple skin and lemon flavours are well balanced.
(2023) I'm on record as saying that pitching zero alcohol 'wines' as being just like the real thing, is a deceit; they never are. Drinks such as this begin life as wine, but the alcohol is removed by a variety of techniques. No matter how refined the system, a massive proportion of aroma, flavour and texture is also removed. Odd Bird is made from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grown in the Languedoc, and is made by the traditional method with a year on the lees in individual bottles. Removing the alcohol has left a fizzy rather than sparkling wine, with some raspberry and light herbal aromas. In the mouth it's a little bit sweet, rather thin, but it is not unpleasant. It's bears no meaningful relation to a proper traditional method sparkling wine but it is a pleasant and grown-up sparkling drink. £9.99 as part of a mixed 12 bottles. Watch the video for more information.
(2023) The blend is 50% Pinot Noir, 30% Pinot Meunier and 20% Chardonnay for this wine, fruit from the Vallée de la Marne. The dosage is modest at 7g/l. Coppery pink in colour, the mousse is modest, and the immediate aromas are of bruised apple and mushroom, a hint of cranberry fruit. In the mouth this has a lively streak of lemony acidity that is the first impression. Quite rounded, there is a nuttiness and that bruised, oxidative character again. Not a rosé for those who look for a pretty summer fruit style, quite meaty.
(2023) This 100% Pinot Noir pink is made by the saignée method, whole bunches of grapes 'bleeding' colour and phenolics during pressing. It has a notably deep colour, with aromas of rich strawberry and red cherry aromas, a suggestion of Negroni on the nose for me. There is a sour cherry bite on the palate, the sweetness of the dosage against the cranberry and cherry richness, a little tannin adding a robust edge to the finish. A distinctive style.
(2022) Eighty-five percent of Taittinger's blend is vinified as a white Champagne, before 15% of Pinot Noir, made as a red wine with skin contact, is blended. That gives a relatively deep colour, and plenty of warm, creamy strawberry fruit character. In the mouth there is a perception of sweetness because of that pretty and ripe fruit, though of course this is Brut, and little toasty notes mingle with red berries before a fresh, appetising finish. A very nice style from the family-owned Taittinger. Quite widely available (also in Tesco, Morrison and independents too) for between around £39 to £45 per bottle.
(2023) Gosset's pink is a blend of 55% Chardonnay and 45% Pinot Noir, 8% of the Pinot vinified as red wine. The wine does not go through malolactic conversion, and is aged a minimum of three years on the lees. Interesting factoid: Cellarmaster Odilon de Varine prefers to blend it in black glassware, so he is not influenced by colour, but by taste and aroma alone. The nose has a lovely pillow of biscuit and custardy creaminess, but there's keen, small red berry fruit too. The mousse is mouth-filling, and this is immediately dry and crisp with 8g/l dosage, shimmering with elegant, lemony, almost minty fresh acidity. The savoury berry fruit is nicely weighted through the mid-palate. Watch the Wine of the Month video for more information.
(2023) Viña Carmen winery, founded in 1850 so one of Chile's oldest, makes this fashionably pale rosé from eight mostly French varieties, but including Sangiovese and the local Pais. Soft summer fruits and berries on the nose with a touch of confit lemon. Easy drinking palate, light fruit flavours and no tannin to speak of, the acid balanced nicely so it finishes dry and savoury. On offer at just £6.50 at time of review.
(2023) This pink Rioja seems to get paler and paler each vintage. A blend of the red Garnacha (Grenache) and white Viura, the bottle is also 40g lighter than previously, which is good for the planet in terms of shipping weights. It's open and attractive on the nose, with peach and a hint of mango, a lightly smoky/spicy nuance. In the mouth it has plenty of fruit sweetness, maybe just a touch residual sugar, but all about peach with a lemony core of acid giving good balance. Nicely done.
(2023) CVNE and their Cune brand are very well known for their high quality red Rioja wines. The rosado is 100% Tempranillo, made in an approximate Provençal style, perhaps with a touch more body and ripeness, but a pale colour and fresh character. Strawberry and cherry-lips confectionery notes lead the way, the palate fruity and peachy, but all the time the balance is good, perhaps the merest hint of sweetness balanced by acidity in the easy-drinking, but gastronomic finish. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2023) Descrbed as "an easy-drinking blend of Grenache Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah," this pours a fashionably pale Provençal shade, with a tutti frutti confectionery character of cold ferment, pear drop marrying with summer berries. The palate is brisk and fresh. A pink to appeal to Touraine Sauvignon lovers perhaps, well done with a hint of stony minerals to the acidity in the finish. Good value.
(2023) I have already reviewed the white and red partners to this Languedoc pink, which all come in the same very distinctive, squat little bottles. It's actually a brand of Australian giant Banrock Station, but made in France.
Everything is basically 100% recycled: glass, labels and screwcap. It blends 50% Grenache, 40% Cinsault and 10% Syrah and was fermented in both stainless steel and concrete tanks. Fashionably pale, small red berries and a little floral note before a palate with maybe just a hint of residual sugar, red berries running into lime.
(2023) A pale rosé from high-altitude vineyards in Trentino’s Alto Adige which had around 6-8 hours of skin contact to produce a wine with a pink-copper hue. Tutti-Frutti confectionery nose, cherry and lipstick, plus a little lime. The palate has lime and peach in abundance, really quite a full fruitiness here, quite different from the almost austere character of some Provence rosés, a little spice and bitter orange in the finish too. A bit different and well done. £9.00 Club Card price.
(2023) The rosé in this multi-coloured Malbec range is joined by 15% Syrah, coming from the same Mendoza vineyards. It is pale peach in colour, with fruity, up-front aromas of summer berries and fresh lemons, a little floral nuance too. In the mouth it's an approachable, charming style, the merest hint of being off-dry, with a plump sweetness to the fruit, though the palate tensions nicely as well-judged acidity leaves it easy-drinking but fresh.
(2023) This is 100 Grenache, from the Gabb family and vineyards in the Western Cape, specifcally around Citrusdal next door to Swartland. Pale in colour and with just 11.5% alcohol, it has a bon-bon nose, a little suggestion of passion fruit too. On the palate more than a hint of sweetness and a fairly light character, perhaps verging on feeling slightly dilute. £7.99 as part of a mixed dozen.
(2023) Dry, light, with watermelon and redcurrant aromas, this pale pink is appetising and gastronomic. A tart raspberry thrust of zingy fruit strikes the palate, lemony acidity adding to the verve and freshness. Provence might be the inspiration here, but it's a delicate and successful homage.
(2023) A rosé made from Zweigelt, this pours a relatively deep cherry-pink, the nose appetising and fresh, crisp citrus and raspberry scents. Plenty of juicy and sweet red fruits, but fine and quite dry on the palate, a certain lusciousness here, but swept along with fine natural acidity. There is fullness here, with texture and presence, but luminosity too. Very nice.
(2023) A blend of 60% Grenache, 20% Cinsault and 20% Syrah, this comes from Maison Saint Aix, owned and run by the Kurver family, whose 75 hectares are planted at an altitude of 400-420 metres. It has a lovely nose with a wisp of roses and Turkish delight, lots of florals to the bright strawberry and raspberry fruit. The palate is delicate and precise, the acid giving pin-point balance to the quite ripe but elegant red fruit.
(2023) An organic Grenache wine, handsomely packaged with vinolock glass stopper, from a property in the Minervois region of the Languedoc. Pale salmon pink, the nose has strawberry bob-bons, dusted with icing sugar, and a pert feeling of freshness. In the mouth rounded with creamy fruits, and a hint of sweetness that I might guess as a mere touch of residual sugar. Acidity is good, giving this balance and meaning the finish is dry and citrus fresh. Stylish.
(2023) Mostly Grenache with a little Cinsault, this organic rosé is a very pale and delicate pink. The nose is quite peachy and has a touch of creaminess, a little redcurrant too. In the mouth a sweet and ripe fruit profile has a nice chalky acidity, moving from lemony to mineral salts, it is long and the fruit persists in a very nice wine.
(2023) Closed with the 'Vinolock' glass stopper, this is a blend of Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah and opens with lots of floral and rose-hip lift, a very summery and delicate bloom of berry fruits and lifted notes. Lovely fruit on the palate, quite intense in this house's style, but I like the softer approach here, the acid nicely pitched and the whole picture about delicacy and enjoyment. Classy, approachable stuff.
(2023) I was thinking the other day that Whispering Angel is a phenomenon cut from very similar cloth to Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc. Both wines are pristine, beautifully made examples of their style, but it is perhaps surprising that these prestige bottlings are in such demand by 'ordinary' consumers, even though they sell for well above the UK average wine price of little more than £6. Both wines have captured the consumers' imagination, and each new release is eagerly anticipated. This 2022 is hitting retailer shelves at time of writing. It is the usual blend of Grenache, Cinsault and Rolle, made in stainless steel from a very careful selection of fruit. Such a delicate perfume: rose-hip and pot-pourri, fresh red berries, juiciness of watermelon. On the palate it is dry and refined, the red berries hint at tartness to make the mouth water, the wine finishing with shimmering, elegant acidity. Watch the video for more information.
(2023) From Vaucluse in the southern Rhône Valley, this is a serious and structured rosé, though delicate in colour and aroma. Mostly Grenache, with some Syrah, Mourvèdre, Cinsault and Rolle, vines grow at 550- 630-metres in the highest vineyard of the region. The vineyard is biodynamic, with an emphasis on maintaining the ecosystem, the hand-picked grapes double sorted and parcels vinified separately and around 25% is aged in barrel. Attractively pale salmon/peach in colour, the nose is crammed with small, firm red berry fruit aromas, some lemon peel adding a suggestion of grip. On the palate the sheer fruit sweetness surprises, with lots of creamy-ripe berries, but there's a great salts and citrus core to this, and a long, very clear finish. It is a serious pink this, perhaps reminiscent of Domaine Tempier's Bandol for example.
(2023) A pale, coppery rosé made from the southern Italian Aglianico, fermented cool in stainless steel. Gentle, ozoney, small red berries on the nose, leading on to a totally dry, really saline palate, the wine verging on the austere for me, with fruit slightly buried beneath that salty acid concentration. Fascinating and unusual, and I can see this working really well with some food rather than as as garden sipper. No UK stockist at time of review.
(2023) Mostly Grenache from Provence, aged on fine lees in tank. Extremely pale in colour, subtle aromatics, a little redcurrant and citrus, but not singing aromatically. Palate is fuller than you might imagine, a little more concentrated and robust. The red fruit comes through nicely and the finish is intense and quite long.
(2023) From clay and limestone soils, this blends all the grapes you can think of from Provence: Cinsault, Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Carignan, Rolle and Tibouren. The highly unusual bottle certainly makes a statement and will surely divide opinions, but the stuff inside is an intense and gastronomic rosé, perhaps more at home on the dinner table than the patio. Rose-hip and watermelon aromas move into peach and lychee, before the palate delivers and concentrated fruitiness, around apricot and exotic mango and lychee. The searing core of citrus pith acidity gives it those food matching credentials. For me there are probably better Provence pinks around for less money, but it talking point for sure. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2023) Made from 100% Syrah, Fattoria Le Pupille being one of the pioneers of Syrah in Tuscany. From chalky clay soils, and a small proportion made in older oak, a few hours skin contact gives a very pale colour. The nose has a subtle smoky mineral quality, along with small, dry red fruits like cranberry and reducurrant. In the mouth this has substantial texture and fruit density. It's a rosé that doesn't want to be served too cold, a nip of tannin and some skin contact grip and pithy acidity giving it gastronomic appeal.
(2023) Syrah, Grenache, Rolle, Mourvèdre, Cinsault and Tibouren are in the mix here, from an estate owned by the luxury goods house of Channel. Unusually it is based on the island of Porquerolles, just off France’s Côte d’Azur, a 12.5 hectare organically farmed estate. A slightly deeper shade than many, touching bronze, the nose has orange and melon rind notes, hints of spice here too. In the mouth, plenty of flavour here. There's ripeness of pear fruit along with red berry succulence. It hints at some sweetness, but then a racy, slightly saline acidity grabs and extends the finish. Again quite a serious and gastronomic style with a bit of substance. £27.95 by the half dozen.
(2023) An unusual blend of Grenache and 15% Roussanne from the Côtes de Thongue, and ninth generation winemaker, Olivier Coste. It has a pale peach colour and charming but intense nose, a little stony pebble quality, plenty of strawberry and small red berries and a limey background. In the mouth there's a serious, vinous quality to this. Succulent is the word, with ripe pear and a teasing nuance of tropical fruit, then loads of pink grapefruit and orange flashes through to a delicious and sustained finish.
(2023) Tasted here is a special edition in an extravagent livery of flowers and berries, the bottle painted by Swedish artist Hanna KL. It's a selection of the best fruit from both coastal and interior vineyards of the Côtes de Provence. Minuty produce one of the lightest and delicate styles, the fruit pretty and refined, dry berry flavours and bright lemony highlights in a wine with the clarity of a of running mountain stream. This doesn't have the fruit depth and concentration of some of the other Provence rosés, but that's the style: some will find it too anodyne, but chilled well it does summon up those salt-licked breezes as if sipping it by the Med. £19.95 when bought by the half dozen.
(2023) This is a distinctive and lovely Côtes de Provence rosé, a certified organic blend of Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. Perhaps here the Cabernet is the secret weapon, but the wine exhibits such bold ginger spice and pepper, as well as copious fruit. From a family-owned vineyard that once provided the fruit for Domaine Ott's Coeur de Grains cuvée, the palate too bursts with tangy and expressive fruit, a smoky pepperiness persisting into a beautifully balanced finish.
(2023) An aristocratic pink from the Provence outpost of the Rothschilds, a collabroation between Bordeaux's Baroness Ariane de Rothschild and Valerie Rousselle of Provence. Biodynamically certified, in the blend is 60% Grenache, 20% Cinsault, 10% Syrah, 5% Mourvèdre and 5% Tibouren. Pale peachy salmon, so much flinty, chalky mineral character here, backed up with a softer strawberry fruitiness and a sharper edge of raspberry. In the mouth a saline character gives a slipperiness to the texture, which is intriguing. That intense and decisive fruity but steely impression continues. Lots of pithy acidity and a little tug of tannin here giving this seriousness, though the fruit is good. £24.95 by the six-bottle case.
(2023) Grenache, Cinsault, and Tibouren is the blend, typical of the Golfe de St Tropez where vineyards sit on red clay and limestone, with some elevation. Grapes are harvested at night to preserve freshness. It has quite an intense nose, of cherry lips and strawberry, and a little suggestion of salty minerals. In the mouth concentrated and peachy, with small intense red berries and quite a decisive pithy acidity. Full flavoured and concentrated style, perhaps best with food.
(2023) Like it's 'big brother', the Garrus cuvée, this is where rosé gets serious, for me having more in common with quality white Burgundy than generic pinks. From a very careful selection of grapes, only the free run juice is vinified in 600-litre oak barrels for a full 11 months, with lees stirring twice weekly. Indeed, that's a winemaking recipe that would be familiar for white Burgundy too. Certainly, that sheen of almond and oatmeal is luxurious and subtle in this very pale wine, the fruit only hinting a small, intense red berries while lemon joins the picture. On the palate it is generous and creamy, but the sweet intensity of the fruit powers through. There is a little nip of tannin, but the concentration of fruit and acidity is what drives the long, dry, gastronomic finish. This and Garrus really are a different take on rosé.
(2023) Garrus must, I suspect, blow the minds of some tasters. It's enough trying to get ones head around a rosé that sells for more than £100 per bottle, but this wine is also anything but 'showy'. Instead, this blend of Grenache and Vermentino is subtle, restrained and intellectual. It seems obvious that the ambition of Sacha Lichine of Château d’Esclans is to create a pink wine with the qualities of a fine white Burgundy: vines are 100 years old, and the wine is fermented and aged 10 months in 100% new oak - though the the barrels are big 600-litre 'demi-muids', so there no overt 'oakiness' on either nose or palate. Instead, intense and concentrated small red berry fruits mingle with firm lemon and ripe apple, a minerality at the core of the aroma giving a strict but inviting character. In the mouth this is so youthful and will surely improve over a decade or more, though for now it is deliciously powerful and yet linear and taut. Those small red berry flavours ease into gentle spice, with the subtlest oak creaminess and plenty of shimmering acidity.