Rosé round-up 2015: 30 pinks tasted and rated

rose wine

Each summer I publish my ‘rosé round-up’, collecting together the various rosés that I have tasted or received as samples over the previous couple of months. This annual feature has never claimed to be a comprehensive round-up of global pink wines, but it is a fairly good representation of the range of rosés on UK shelves right now, predominantly French, and with the pale wines of Provence still leading the way with British rosé fans it seems.

wines under £8.00

Cuvée Fleur, Rosé 2014, Vin de France, France
Alc 12.5%. Made from 100% Cinsault, this comes from 50-year-old bush vines. One of the current spate of Provence pink looky-likeys, but with some rather commercial boiled sweet aromas, fresh and simple fruit and, frankly, misses the herby intrigue of Provence by a mile. The final touch of sugar rather confirms the cynicism of the exercise. Quaffable. 82/100. £4.99, Waitrose.

El Guia, Rosado 2014, Utiel-Requena, Spain
Alc 11.5%. 100% Bobal, the grapes sourced from vineyards 600-900m above sea level. Deep cranberry juice colour, a touch of earthiness and glossy red fruits, flavoursome though a touch of boiled sweet character and touch of flattering sugar slightly detracts. 84/100. £5.09, Waitrose.

Torres, Natureo Syrah/Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé 2011, Cataluna, Spain
This is Torres de-alcoholised product, with just 0.5% abv. It has quite a deep cherry colour a bit of proper berry-fruited, vinous character, also a touch of something exotic and lychee-like. On the palate it feels dilute, perhaps not surprisingly, a little raspberry and strawberry flavour and off-dry, finishing with decent crispness. The hard fact is though, that unless requiring a basically non-alcoholic pink, there’s no other reason to buy this. 81/100. £5.99 Waitrose, see all stockists on wine-searcher
Waitrose, Portuguese Rosé 2014, Alentejo, Portugal
Alc 12.5%. A local blend of 45% Aragónez, 40% Castelão, 15% Touriga Nacional from vineyards located in the Tejo region. Fresh and fruity stuff, there is a bit of colour here and a bit of clout to the wine, with hints of tobacco and soft berries, but a lovely summer pudding character that drinks really well. 86/100. £6.39, Waitrose.

Cleefs, Classic Collection Rosé 2014, Coastal Region, South Africa
13% abv. Produced by Kleine Zalze, this is a blend of Shiraz (60%), Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinotage. It has a medium cherry colour and pleasing nose of gentle, lightly creamy summer berries. On the palate it is similarly soft and approachable, with peaches and cream, a touch of orangey acidity, and great commercial appeal. Very well done. 86/100. £6.95, York Wines. See other stockists on wine-searcher

Torres Viña Sol Rosé 2014, Catalunya, Spain
A lovely, fruit filled rosé from the north east of Spain, not far from Barcelona, made by one of the world’s most reliable wine producers, Torres. It’s a pink with plenty of colour depth and loads of sweet summer berry fruit, and good balance and flavour. 86/100. £6.99, Asda, Booths, Majestic, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and more. Haut Vol

Haut Vol, Pays d’Oc Rosé 2014, Languedoc, France
12% abv. Yet another Provence look- and taste-alike, with its pale colour and pretty redcurrant and gentle peach fruit. Good dry acidity, lots of pithiness, a twist of dill or chicory, in actually one of the better pale imitations around. 87/100. £6.99, Majestic on offer 30th June – 3rd August.

Ca’ Lunghetta, Pinot Grigio Rosato 2014, Veneto, Italy
Pale and sleek in a tall, slim bottle, there’s a tiny bit of Merlot in the blend for colour. With some straw and light herb notes, the character is dry, some redcurrant and a touch of red liquorice in there, before a palate that offers more of the same, with a savoury character and dry, appetising finish. 86/100. £7.95, FromVineyardsDirect.com

Miguel Torres, Santa Digna Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé 2014, Central Valley, Chile
13.5% abv. This Fair Trade wine from Chile’s Central Valleys is refreshing in these days when 9 out of 10 rosés on the shelves seem to either be from Provence, or are mimicking that very pale, almost white wine style. It is fun to see a vibrantly deep, garnet-coloured wine like this that is much fuller and sturdier, and explodes with unashamed sweet fruit. A riot of crunchy, off-dry cherry and ripe blackcurrant, it has a nip of spicy tannin and plenty acidity, and is a delicious banker for summer barbecues. 86/100. £7.99, Fareham Wine Cellar, but see all stockists on wine-searcher

Marques de la Cruz, Garnacha Rosado 2014, Campo de Borja, Spain
Alc 14%. This is 100% Garnacha from vineyards at 550-650 metres. Fruity, well-tempered, it shows a hint of sweetness and ripeness and is filled to the brim with crowd pleasing fruit, but a core of good, lightening fresh acidity too. 85/100. £7.99, Waitrose.

Champteloup, Rosé d’Anjou 2014, Loire, France
Alc 11%. With 17.2g/l residual sugar this is an off-dry blend of 70% Grolleau and 30% Gamay. Dry redcurrant fruit on the nose, but the palate has a hit of sweetness – both ripe summer berries, but residual sugar too, giving this a summer fruit pudding matching appeal. So if the sun shines and the deck chairs are out… 86/100. £7.99, Waitrose.

wines over £8.00

Waitrose, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2014, Provence, France
Alc 12.5%. A blend of Grenache, Cinsault and a touch of Cabernet Sauvignon. Much more like it, with lemon and herbs, and a dry, succinct nose that promises an equally grown-up palate. Indeed it is dryly fruity, but really quite charming, enough hints of strawberry ripeness but clarity too. Very good indeed at a fair price. 88/100. £8.99, Waitrose

Mirabeau, Classic Côtes de Provence Rosé 2014, Provence, France Mirabeau’s first wine of the tasting is made from Grenache, Syrah and Cinsault, and the colour is pale and delicate. There’s more bubblegummy, cherry candy character here than in the more sophisticate ‘Pure’ reviewed below, and on the palate a cool, watermelon freshness, but a hint of sweetness too and a slightly tart, slightly abrupt finish. A good Provence rosé, but the Pure really is worth the few pounds more. 87/100. £8.99, mirabeauwine.com, Waitrose Cellar.

CVNE, Viña Real Rioja Rosado 2014, Rioja, Spain
12.5% abv. From the top Rioja house of CVNE, a blend of the white Viura with colour coming from Tempranillo. Moderately deep in colour (by today’s fashion) this has a touch of Tempranillo earth and smoke, but more of Viura’s herby and lemony freshness, with pleasing red berry notes. The palate is very easy going, with a softness to this, fairly low key acidity, and charming fruit. A rosé of class, if not hugely distinctive. 87/100. £8.99, Taylor’s Fine Wine. Villa Maria

Villa Maria, Private Bin Rosé 2014, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand
Alc 12.5%. Most retailers appear to still be on the 2013 vintage of this, selling for £7.99 – £8.99 though the RRP is over £10.00. This 2014 is a medium-deep peachy-pink colour with fruity aromas of small berries and a touch of grassy punch. On the palate it has a bit of residual sugar, medium body, and is in the more solid and fruity style. £8.00 does seem to be around the correct price I’d have thought. 85/100. Tesco, Majestic and independents. See wine-searcher

Black Cottage, Marlborough Rosé 2014, Marlborough, New Zealand
12.5% abv. Relatively subtle, dry small red berries, but the palate explodes with flavour after a string of pale and interesting Provence examples, big raspberry burst of tangy fruit, and a nice personality-packed finish – crisp, but juicy and flavourful. Also available in magnum. 86-87/100. £9.74, Majestic on offer.

Ramón Bilbao, Rioja Rosado 2014, Rioja, Spain
Alc 12.5%. Quite a pale, Provençal-style colour that is not really traditional for a pink Rioja. Made from 100% Garnacha Tinto, it has a cool, peach and yellow plum fruitiness, quite delicate with a blossom lift. It’s not hugely distinctive, but it is well-made and clearly successful in its Provence lookalike pitch, with savoury lemon acidity and a dry red fruit quality into a decent finish. 87/100. £9.95, Noel Young. See other stockists on wine-searcher
Famille Negrel, Rosé Côtes de Provence Sainte Victoire 2014, Provence, France
13.0% abv. A typically pale, peachy pink Provence style, the nose all about beautifully delicate summer seeds and fruits: rose-hips and pomegranate, redcurrant, cranberry and ultimate freshness. On the palate a burst of rosy red apple fruit and crunch, more of that small red berry fruit, but all the time a fine, long, shimmering acidity to balance. It is a delicious rosé. Bring on the sunshine. 88/100. £9.99, Majestic on offer.

Famille Abeille, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2014, Provence, France
13.5% abv. One of the palest and herbiest, most subtle roses of this tasting, just the blush of a peach, and apple skin freshness and fragrance, the palate dry and showing a touch of creamy soft berry fruit and a phalanx of taut, juicy citrus acidity. Sophisticated. 88/100. £9.99 Majestic on offer.

Jean-Luc Colombo, Les Pins Couchés Rosé 2014, IGP Mediterranée, France
12.5% abv. From Rhône-based Jean-Luc Colombo, the appellation of IGP Mediterranée covers Provence and part of the Rhône, so it is difficult to specify the precise origin of this pale to medium, salmon pink wine, a blend of Syrah, Cinsault and Mourvèdre. Very subtle but pert and charming on the nose, with just the lightest floral and cherry aromas. In the mouth it is similarly cool and restrained, the dry, small red berry fruit matched by a cleansing apple and lemon acidity, in a quiet but elegant wine. 87/100. There are several other stockists all showing the 2013 at present, but the 2014 is available at £120.00 per case of 12 from millesima.co.uk. See all stockists on wine-searcher
Chez Rocailleux, Braucol Rosé 2013, Côtes-du-Tarn, France
12% abv. Braucol is the main red wine grape of the Gaillac region of Southwest France, source also of this IGP Côtes-du-Tarn pink. The grape is more widely known as Fer Servadou in neighbouring regions. From vineyards with a bit of altitude. It has a notably different fragrance from many of the Provence wines here, a little ‘sauvage’ note in amongst the delicate berries but also a passion fruit hint of pungency. On the palate there is a juiciness to this orange, a limey, grapefruity zestiness and a mouth-watering finish. 88/100. £11.99, Redsquirrelwine.com Pure

Mirabeau, ‘Pure’ Côtes de Provence Rosé 2014, Provence, France
Alc 13%. 60% Grenache and 40% Syrah. Gorgeous nose – suffused with dry, delicate flowers and berries, but a pungent hint of elderflower too. In the mouth it is dry but decisive, with good concentrated fruit and the merest whisper of tannin to give it some gravitas in the finish – despite its astonishingly light colour. 90/100. £12.99, Waitrose 46 branches, mirabeauwine.com.

Gerard Bertand, La Sauvageonne Rosé 2014, Languedoc, France
13% abv. With a ‘Vinolock’ glass closure, this is a blend of 50% Grenache, 30% Cinsault and 20% Syrah. Dry and subtle, is this too discreet for its own good? Clearly another nod to/cash-in on the Provence popularity, and it does a good job of mimicking the style, but just lacks a bit of élan at the price. 86/100. £12.99, Majestic

Château d’Esclans, Whispering Angel Côtes de Provence Rosé 2014, Provence, France
Château d’Esclans is undoubtedly the hottest property of Provençal, arguably universal, rosé with fans willing to pay over £60 for a bottle of its top cuvée. This offers very good value, even at a hefty £14.95, for a wine with no less than seven varieties in the blend (Carignan, Cinsault, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Syrah, Tibouren, Vermentino) and endless delicacy and perfume. pale and peachy in both colour and flavour, it has pin-point acidity into a long, dry finish, though nuanced and holding interest to the last drop. 91/100. £14.95, FromVineyardsDirect.com

Domaine Lafran-Veyrolles, Bandol Rosé 2014, Provence, France
Alc 13.5%. Predominantly Mourvèdre with some Grenache Noir and Cinsault. Nice deep cherry pink colour. Boiled sweets and cherry, slightly lipsticky lift to this. Loads of summer berries and flavour, and quite delicious with a lick of salty acidity. 89/100. £14.99, Waitrose 93 branches.

Minuty, Cuvée Prestige Côtes de Provence Rosé 2014, Provence, France
13% abv. Gorgeous floral nose, real perfume here, though still cool and herby, but lots of character. The palate has masses of juiciness – it’s a lovely balancing act, because the fruit is peachy and ripe, but it has been constrained and bound by the shimmering acid of the finish. Long and showing lovely length, finesse and balance. 90/100. £14.99, Majestic on offer

Calvet, Terre de Brune Sancerre Rosé 2014, Loire, France Alc 12.5%. 100% Pinot Noir. No oak, but kept on lees to add a little richness. Proper Pinot nose, which is delicately floral but hints at the truffle and bracken, whilst also showing plenty of summer berries. Those berries on the palate too, but bags of flavour, bags of fruit sweetness before a clear, dry, tangy lemon zest finish. 88/100. £15.99, Waitrose

Miraval, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2014, Provence, France
13% abv. Brangelina’s latest is pretty as a picture, with delicate small berry fruits and a clarity that few can match – ultra cool, ultra sophisticated, with an elegant Chablis-like clarity. Long and lovely. Also available in magnums. 90/100. £17.99, Majestic, See other stockists on wine-searcher

Domaine Saint André de Figuière, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2014, Provence, France
12.5%. Another striking package here on this upmarket blend of Cinsault, Grenache and Mourvèdre from an organic certified estate. A very pale apricot in colour, it has just delightful fragrance and lift, the lemon sherbet joined by delicate rose-hip and blossom, and a touch of more exotic nectarine in the background. On the palate delightfully grassy tones join that summery fruit and fresh as a daisy acidity, in an exquisite Provençal example from this round of tasting. 91/100. €22.39, worldwineservices.com Graham Beck

Aix, Coteaux d’Aix en Provence Rosé 2014, Provence, France
12.5%. Striking magnum bottle, and a big fairly reduced nose with a sulphury character that soon blows off with swirling. Bold and not so subtle as the Famille Abeille for example, but does have fruity character and a nicely balanced, long and tangy finish. 87/100. £19.99, Majestic for a magnum.

Sparkling

Graham Beck, Sparkling Rosé NV, Robertson, South Africa
12% abv. Pale and peachy stuff, a touch of caramel to the sweet, berry aromas. Delicious, the palate brimming with orange and sour lemon, lost of verve and crunch as well as inherent sweetness of fruit. A great party starter. 89/100. £9.99 until 29th June, and then again from 4h – 31st August, otherwise £14.99, Majestic

Balfour Estate, 1503 Sparkling Rosé NV, England
11.5% abv. A very delicately colour rose, this has apple and lemon and proper notes of nettle and yeastiness. The palate has such a vibrant character, punchy with really juicy apple, like crunching into a ripe Granny Smith, and a nice long finish. 91/100. On offer currently. £19.98, Majestic.

Champagne Perrier-Jouët, Blason Rosé NV, Champagne, France
12% abv. A relatively deep pink, this is all sour lemons, rotted apple (that’s nice by the way!) and a touch of toffee too. The palate is brisk and fruity, some raspberry and small red fruit notes, but plenty of lemony acids too. This is juicy proper wine, and well done, with a long, smart and crisp finish. Delicious. 92/100. On offer when you buy two currently. £29.98, Majestic. See other stockists on wine-searcher

Champagne Thiénot, rosé Limited Edition NV, Champagne, France
This is a new cuvée from Champagne Thiénot, only 10,000 bottles of which have been released, a blend of the three main Champagne grapes. It has a very delicate and pale salmon/peach colour, and tiny streaming bubbles. The nose is all about small red fruit delicacy too, with a gentle, authentic sour apple note and a deliciously fresh palate: savoury and dry, those red berry flavours are wrapped in stylish acidity, touches of lemon and minerals into the finish. Pretty as a picture, yet elegant to the last. 92/100. £40.49, Champagnes and Châteaux, Blanco and Gomez.

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