Rosé round-up: summer 2022

The pale Provençal model is still absolutely dominating the rosé scene, in other areas of France like the Languedoc, but literally around the world, from Romania to Australia.

There were precious few examples of the darker styles – more towards reds than whites – this year, one  honorable exception being the wine from Tavel in the Rhône Valley. Tavel’s pinks have traditionally been of a much deeper colour, often with several days maceration with the skins to extract colour, rather than the few hours that gives the very pale character.

With a couple of exceptions like the expensive prestige wines from Château d’Esclans, scores are bunched for these wines, generally in a narrow range between 87 and 90 points. I suspect that’s a bit more bunched than a similar line-up of white or red wines might be. It is both a compliment and a complaint I suppose: the wines are almost universally well-made, but only a few really stand out from the crowd.

Sparkling Wines

(2022) This is an 'MCC', the designation for South Africa's quality, traditional method sparkling wines. It comes from the fizz-dedicated Graham Beck operation, a blend of mostly Pinot with Chardonnay, where the delicate pink hue comes from short contact of Pinot skins pre-ferment. With 9.8g/l of residual sugar it is certainly not sweet, but it is easy-going and approachable, the red fruits touching pulpy strawberry and raspberry, the mousse not too aggressive and the finish well balance. Better value at £14.99 on a Majestic deal, though there are numerous outher stockists - see the wine-searcher link below. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2022) The hottest and driest growing season for the last 30 years meant a ripe and abundant crop for this blend of 50% Pinot Noir, 35% Chardonnay, 15% Pinot Meunier, made with addition of 7% red Pinot Noir. A third of the base wine was fermented and in aged oak barrels, with 20 months on the lees. Dosage was 7.5g/L. There is a good depth of colour, and fresh, charming nose with a strawberry shortcake creaminess but sharper rasperry aroma too. In the mouth plenty of tension from fine acidity, but the sweet ripeness of pulpy Berry fruits and that persisting hint of creaminess makes for a lovely balance.
(2022) The base vintage here (46% Pinot Noir, 18% Pinot Meunier and 36% Chardonnay) is 2018, with 15% reserve wines. Fermentation was in a combination of stainless-steel and older oak barrels. It is made by assemblage, blending 6% red wine and was on the Lees for 20 months before a dosage of just 3 g/l. There's red fruit and a real meatiness on the nose, gravelly and racy too. The palate is strikingly dry and gastronomic, loads of citrussy acidity slicing through those meatier, tart raspberry fruit characters. Lovely stuff.
(2022) An extremely nice rosé, a sparkling wine from Oxfordshire based on Pinot Noir, it has a pale peachy pink colour and plenty of raspberry fruit but also some biscuity character. In the mouth that tart raspberry combines with a fat lemony fruit core of acidity, for a fresh but not lean mouthful of fizz, some smokiness and stony character too.

Still Wines Under £10

(2022) A de-alcoholised blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah from Catalunya, with fewer than 100 calories in the whole bottle, Torres has been producing this for well over a decade now. It has a slightly neutral but wine-like nose, small, dry red berries like redcurrant and cranberry. In the mouth there is some sweetness, quite a slippery texture and what feels more like a saline rather than acidic finish. Once again this is only recommendable in the context of being alcohol-free.
(2022) It's 80 years since the iconic Mateus brand was founded by Portuguese producer, Sogrape. To mark the occasion, the wine has been bottled with three new liveries, each reflecting a style of music: Portugal's own 'Fado', rock and dance music. It's unclear to me why these specific genres were chosen, but the colorful, cartoon-adorned bottles might appeal. The wine inside is the standard Mateus, which means it is gently effervescent, with just a slight spritz, a little bit of sugar making it off-dry, and filled with a summer berries and confectionery, easy-drinking fruitiness. It is a perfectly pleasant, summer in the garden sipper with only 11% alcohol. The musical-themed limited edition is in most major supermarkets.
(2022) From vineyards across the Languedoc, this is mostly Grenache and Syrah, with a little Carignan, Cinsault and Mourvèdre. Pale salmon pink, it's bubblegum fresh with raspberry and cherry, a hint of sweetness on the palate, but the acid does balance into the finish. On offer at £7 until 17th July 2022, and also available in 187.5cl bottles, priced £2.25.
(2022) Cabernet Franc along with some Grolleau and Gamay, from the very traditional Loire appellation of Rosé d'Anjou. It's quite a vibrant and slightly deeper salmon colour, the nose not giving much except a vague citrus and hint of redcurrant. Sweet on the palate - too sweeet for me - with Eton mess flavours and though there is acid, it's a style that might work with - Eton mess - but certainly requires a sweet tooth. If you fancy it, look out for promotions and discounts.
(2022) Coral pink, this Grenache and Cinsault wine is a Vin de France, grapes coming from regions of the South of France. There's a light earthiness to the nose, which is actually quite refreshing among so many cool-ferment fruit bombs. In the mouth a bit of sweetness, red fruits and a fair share of lemon acid towards the finish which does balance. £7.99 mixed-six price.
(2022) Yalumba don't make many mistakes, and this inexpensive Provence-style pink made from Sangiovese proves that point. Quite delicate but pretty and pert red fruit with a sherbetty lift. The palate balances sweet fruit ripeness and a fresh, rippling acidity, leading to a balanced, dry finish. Very sippable.
(2022) This organic rosé comes from the IGP Méditérranée, an area mostly in Provence but which also extends to parts of the Rhône Valley. It's made by a Provence estate, and is a typical Provence blend of Cinsault, Grenache and the local Tibouren grape. A little more depth to the colour here, and a tooty-fruity bonbon nose. Red berries onto the palate, ripe and rounded, but acidity is good. Ripe and sweeter in style, but most enjoyable.
(2022) Ramon Bilbao has cracked the secret of making a commercially attractive Provence-style pink from Tempranillo, clearly including early picking with its 12.5% alcohol. A sweetie, rose-hip and cherry lips character leads on to a fruity and fresh palate, a touch of residual sugar (I think) adding to the easy-drinking, summer in the garden pleasure.
(2022) I wanted to like the stuff in the bottle more than I did sadly. Created in collaboration with LGBTQ+ charity, Queer Britain, and supporting the nation’s first LGBTQ+ museum which opened in May 2022, the cause is worth support, the wine... It's a Grenache/Syrah blend, with confectionery aromas and, for my palate, just too much residual sugar. I rather wish the wine was more ambitious to match the project, but sadly it's a middle of the road offering that could have been so much more interesting.
(2022) Another homage to Provence fro Paul Mas, this is pale salmon pink and pretty, with confectionery and floral-touched ripe red berry aromas. A pleasant hint of sweetness is subtle and helps cement this wine's sippable, crowd-pleasing credentials.
(2022) Pale, peachy-pink, this comes from Cramele Recas, the go-ahead commercial winery that supplies a lot of good quality wine under various brands to UK supermarkets and bigger retailers. Blending Feteasca Neagra with Merlot, Pinot noir and Cabernet sauvignon, it is just about dry, with cold ferment pear drop and tutti-frutti aromas, sweetness and peach fruit on the palate, but you know ow what? It's very well done and as a summer in the garden sipper it does a fine job.
(2022) This relatively pale, peachy-coured wine is from the Chilean outpost of New Zealand's Mud House. It is an unusual blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir, small red berries on the nose not showing too much Sauvignon character, though there is a definite zip to the palate that cuts across the ripe berry fruits.
(2022) From Setúbal and made from its native grape Castelão along with Aragonez (Tempranillo) and Touriga Nacional. A pale salmon/peach colour, the nose is fairly neautral, a touch of stone fruit and maybe a hint of candy floss. The palate has  a burst of zingy fruit, again reminds me a little of Sauvignon Blanc in that respect, with some residual sugar balancing a pithy grapefruit acidity.
(2022) 100% Grenache, this Languedoc pink is Provençal in style, pale and with a delicate peach and blossom aroma. There's a welcome hint of salty minerality too. In the mouth well-balanced and quite substantial: the fruit has a tart edge which is quite gastronomic against some juicier nectarine and the acidity is fine, again hinting at that touch of saline character. £8.99 on a mixed-six deal.

Still Wines Over £10

(2022) Of Mirabeau's wines I found this one a touch sweeter - certainly that was my perception, though I don't have the analysis - and yet the crisp, zesty finish was very well balanced. Its a zippy and zingy aromatic style, with vivacious crunch of redcurrant, and it represents good value. Note this is a 'Vin de France' not Provence wine, so presumably some of the fruit is sourced from outside of the region.
(2022) Made in the Languedoc from Sauvignon Gris, and certified organic. I've included this very pale pink even though I can see no stockists of this 2021, and the retailer quoted is for a previous vintage. That's because it was one of my favourite - and most distinctive - wines this year. It has the grassy and vibrant punch of its Sauvignon heritage, then a fine, creamy-textured palate that balances peach and lime to delicious effect, finishing with a burst of juicy citrus acid.
(2022) From the Corent appellation that is only for rosé wines, this comes from a co-op in the Puy-de Dôme département and is a wine I really enjoyed for its bite and 'certainty'. Perhaps the volcanic soils gave the Pinot Noir and Gamay that edge, but the palate has a fat, pure lemony thrust that scythes through the small red berries, into a long, concentrated and decisive finish. Pretty delicious.
(2022) A rather lovely wine, blending old-vine Grenache and Cinsault, with a little Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, grown at 350-metres altitude. Salmon pink with a touch of peach, there's an exotic lychee and fragrant mandarin and peach aroma, leading on to a crisp but textured palate with vivid fruit and a fine lemony acid balance. There's a little grip here that's welcome as a food wine, yet it has charm and easy-drinking pleasure too.
(2022) A really interesting wine, an orangey/salmon colour, made from Gamay del Trasimeno grown at 320 metres. The wine was made in stainless steel and cement tanks. It has a vibrant, sherbetty nose of raspberry and strawberry, the palate too has that blend of pulpy red fruit sweetness and vibrant, citrus acidity giving a very tangy finish.
(2022) For a couple of quid more I'd go for the Etoile I must say; absolutely nothing wrong with this creamy and red berry, raspberry filled wine, but stacked against the Etoile, it is a little harsher in its phenolics and just lacks the delicate prettiness.
(2022) Organically-grown Nero d'Avola from the west of Sicily, there's a firmness on the nose, a hint of something herbal even grassy to red berries. Plenty of bite and grip, a very small hint of 6g/l sugar offsets the acid that comes from higher altitude vineyards.
(2022) From a small estate in Corsica made by a woman winemaker in a family estate. Delicate pale pink, rose-hip and gentle strawberry sherbet, but pure and light. On the palate it is again light and very fresh and nimble, quite dry with its pithy acidity, the red fruit quite subtle.
(2022) Doctor John Forrest has refined a system of natural viticulture that reduces alcohol, including this blend of Pinot Noir and the white wine grapes, Arneis. A strawberry sherbet fruitiness, rhen the palate balancing a tart raspberry fruit with a touch of sweetness. Balanced and perfect for those watching their alcohol intake.
(2022)

Tutti-frutti and pear-drop bright aromas for this Languedoc blend of Grenache and Cinsault. On the palate it is refreshing and citrus-zesty, light bodied and watermelon fresh. Simples, arguably a touch dilute? Enjoyable summer sipping.

(2022) A Provence-esque rosé from the nearby Languedoc, this is made from 60% Grenache and 40% Cinsault. Perhaps the most striking aspect, however, is its elegant, frosted glass bottle. Its delicate and yet flavourful, raspberry and cherry lips fruit aromas lead on to a palate that balances a bit of red berry depth with peachy lusciousness, and then a lemon rind suggestion of firm waxiness to the acidity. Available by the six-bottle case at £12.67 per bottle equivalent, it's a keen price too. Watch the video for more information.
(2022) From the Languedoc, still following the Provence template, if a little deeper in colour, this has raspberry and peach aromas, a little bit of gravelly character too. In the mouth that peach fruit is edged by alcohol and acidity to give this the merest hint of phenolic grip, but it softens in the finish to be quaffable and food friendly.
(2022) As the soaraway success of Whispering Angel continues, it's price is now knocking on the door of £20 per bottle, so it is a smart move by Sacha Lichine to introduce this wine from Var en Provence, listed by Waitrose at £14.99 but £9.99 on offer at time of review. It's a blend of Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah and is in a broadly similar style to the Angel, very dry, quite savoury, focused around small red berry fruit. While it may not quite have the ultimate finesse of Whispering Angel, it is an excellent Provence pink and delivers plenty of style and quality in a very attractive package, and is bound to find lots of fans I suspect.
(2022) A blend of 11 varieties, all permitted in the Sable de Camargue IGP. Pale peach in colour with a lovely creaminess on the nose, a touch of peach and apricot to quite ripe fruit. Substantial palate, a nice souring background of lemon and orange acidity, playing against quite bold and fresh fruit, to finish dry and decisive, a lick of saltiness in the finish.
(2022) I have to say, this wine caused me a bit of head-scratching. First of all, let me be clear that the stuff in the bottle is very good; a vibrant, and intense berry-infused wine from a vineyard in Bandol, with excellent concentration and a mineral edge to the crisply-defining citrus acidity. It's a brand, created by two English entrepreneurs, with a whole diesel/cars/driving schtick behind their website (where the wine can be purchased). They also stress their carbon-neutral ambitions for the wine and its supply-chain. Quite how appealing the name will be and how the story fits together is unclear to me, as is the decision to package the wine in a very non-descript bottle.  That may be part of a light-weight strategy, but with most rosés going all-out for shelf-appeal glamour, it's a bit odd for a wine selling for between £15 and £18. It's an oddity, but a delicious oddity it's true.
(2022) A wine from the Negrel family in Provence Sainte Victoire which I have enjoyed vintage after vintage. It's delicate and summery, with watermelon and rose-hips, a small redcurrant fruit quality. In the mouth a pleasing richness of sweet and ripe strawberry fruit, but then it is driven along by a sweep of citrus and saline acidity, the finish tangy and beautifully dry and savoury.
(2022) An interesting wine this, on one hand yet another Provence lookalike from colour to bottle, on the other a highly unusual blend of Pinot Noir (60%) and Zweigelt, from vineyards in Eastern Croatia. There's some flint and some herbs adding interest on the nose, and the palate balances a hint of peach and more raspberry fruitiness, with a decisive sour plum and lemon thrust of savoury acidity. It is juicy wine, showing salty, taut character that would suit Moroccan tagine perhaps.

Still Wines Over £15

(2022) What a lovely,  refined and joyously delicious rose, based on Grenache, its typically pale colour is attractive, as is the peachy aroma, nuances of sherbet and small, redcurranty and dry berry fruits.  The palate is refined and elegant,  finely etched acidity enlivening the ripe, sweet summer berry fruits, adding edge and extra freshness. Nobody will be disappointed in this.
(2022) From the small area of Cabrières with a long history of rosé production, this has a delicate colour and confectionary nose of rose-hips and delicate cherry and raspberry, then a dry, quite grown-up palate with plenty of zipping acidity and a slight nuttiness of apple to the fruit. Long and well done.
(2022) A pale and rather lovely Provence blend of Grenache,  Cinsault and Syrah, this is all fragrant, light berries, watercolour paint and a touch of watermelon. The palate is bone dry and wonderfully brisk and racy, the small, firm, red berry fruits running into rosy red apple and lemon acidity that is decisive without being at all harsh.
(2022) From Reuilly, not far from Sancerre and using mostly similar grapes, this however is Pinot Gris. Though often made as a white wine, the variety does develop deep pink skins. An interesting coppery gold colour, there's custard and cream over ripe yellow apple fruitiness, but there's reserve too with a stony suggestion of minerality. Rounded and creamy stone fruits on the palate with a hint of spice and lively acid. Different and very good.
(2022) Suggested by Laithwaites as a good mixer for a long drink with tonic and a sprig of rosemary, this is a relatively unusual rosé Port, made by Alvaro van Zeller. Quite delicate rose-touched floral aromatics over berry fruits. There is good sweetness on the palate, a touch of creamy toffee, but the gentle bite of the spirit and very good acidity combine to give a refreshing finish. Would also do well with cheeses I think.
(2022) A biodynamic wine from a family estate of 50 hectares, this is 50% Grenache, 20% Cinsault, 15% Clairette and 15% Syrah. Vines are over 50 years old, and a macertation of 36 hours has produced a typically dark, Negroni-coloured wine with cherry and vine fruit aromas, a little bit of creaminess and a touch of earthy character. In the mouth it is weighty and dry, much more savoury, lemony and with a little tannin structure than a Provence rosé for example. Don't chill this too much, and treat it as a food-, rather than a sipping-wine.
(2022) Mostly Grenache with Syrah, fruit comes from vineyards at 300-400m altitude, planted on clay and limestone soils. Pale and pretty in colour, there's an aromatic quality to this, a hint of passion fruit and small, sweet red berries. Punchy on the palate, plenty of zing and verve between raspberry fruit and its fine line of acidity. At time of review £5.50 discount to £11.99 on one of Majestic's scarcely realistic 'mix six' deals, oy by the bottle in Scotland. That price is good value - £17.49 less so.
(2022) I have to say I absolutey loved this super-pale, crystalline blend of Grenache from volcanic soils, and Roussanne grown in rocky vineyards surrounded by garrigue scrubland. There is some rose-hip and Love Hearts confectionery brightness, but the palate bursts through with a winning combination of sweet, ripe peach fruit, a waxy lemon rind acidity and a long, beautifully balanced finish.
(2022) Fans of Whispering Angel will notice a slightly more gastronomic, mineral and meaty character here, Esclans cuvées from this point up seeing some barrrel fermention, of Grenache, Cinsault and Vermentino. Peachy-pink, this is in some ways a sweet spot on price and quality for the whole, impressive range: intense, concentrated peach fruit, but with a keen raspberry edge of mouth-watering tartness, minerals and a touch of savoury tannin into a long, shimmering finish.
(2022) The 2021 Whispering Angel blends Grenache, Cinsault, Rolle, Syrah and Tibouren. It's always an extremely refined rosé, but this vintage seems to add an extra ounce of firmness and savoury, food-friendly character. It is aromatic, with pomegranate and fine raspberry and floral aspects, but an intriguing mineral salts nuance too. In the mouth it has that delicious freshness, quite vivacious with tart red berries and zippy citrus and, again, a stony, lightly salty and mineral finish. Watch the video for more information.
(2022) The estate wine is partly vinified in larger oak barrels and blends Grenache and Syrah with Vermentino. There's an attractive peachiness on the nose here, but mostly tight, small red berries and a wisp of salt. The palate is firm and has a really decisive, dry, grippy citrus core that is eminently food-friendly. Long, structured, with a saline edge, it's a lively and serious wine.
(2022) Last year's Les Clans was a fabulous wine that I ranked more less equally with the Garrus, and I have to say this 2020 is equally compelling. The blend is Grenache, Syrah and the white Vermentino, the wine fermented and aged 10 months in oak. I detect the creamy, quality but subtle oak across the aromas, but there's a raft of delightful small red berry fruit that still dominates the nose. The palate shows that layered, complex subtlety, delicate but so intense, the frut and mineral, stony acid core combining to extend the finish.
(2022) There is no denying the concentration and serious intent of this 2020 edition of Garrus. A blend of the best parcels of Grenache, Syrah and Vermentino, it was fermented and aged 10 month in French oak 600-litre 'demi-muids'. Taut and mineral on the nose, tasted blindfolded this would be judged a serious, complex white wine I am sure, save for a tell-tale whisper of small, precise red berry fruits and a hint of sweet earth and spice. The palate is quite strict, the tension of the citrus and salts acidity and a little grippy tannin, agains red fruits that are constrained, but one can almost sense a straining at the leash, waiting to blossom more fully. Long, balanced but concentrated, I'd tuck this away for a few years for sure.

6 comments

  1. I’m sure you’re all rose’d out by now Tom, but the Wine Society does a Corsican rose, “Umanu” made from a blend of Cinsault and Sciaccarellu which is absolutely stonking value for £8.95…gastronomic in style at a great price. WOTW material for sure

    1. Cheers Mike – I did have a few from WS in the selection but missed out on this one. I must try to taste it, as I’ve been impressed by a number of more expensive Corsican wines recently.

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