Rosé Roundup 2019

Each year I publish a roundup of rosé wines just in time for summer drinking. The first thing to say is that this selection of over 30 wines from nine different countries is not intended to be comprehensive, and there are many fine rosés that do not feature, and not every rosé producing country is included by any means. It is a time of year when I get to sample so many rosés, and I have simply gathered my notes together for this article.

The Paler the Better

provence leading export marketsI always look for any trends that emerge in my large sample each year, but nothing much has changed since 2018: the pale-coloured, dry Provence style continues to drive this sector – and continues to be mimicked by producers around the world. Even in regions where deeply coloured pink wines would once have been the norm, examples are relatively scarce.

The UK is still the second largest importer of Provence rosé after the USA, but the chart left shows we are no alone: these are the countries importing in excess of 10,000 hectolitres – around 1.4 million bottles – in 2017, compared to 2008.

The Wines

Rose Wine Roundup

Sparkling

(2019) A classic Chiaretto from Bardolino in north-east Italy, the blend is 50% Corvina, 30% Rondinella and 20% Merlot, and though officially Brut, it has a come hither sweetness and frothy easy-drinking style that makes it a perfect summer in the garden sipper. With a modest 11.5% and gentle bubbles, cherry and rose-hip aromas lead on to similar red fruit flavours, nothing at all complicated about the palate, but acdity balances and makes it an easy pleasure for this summer.
(2019) A blend of 50% Cabernet Franc and 50% Grolleau, from vines planted on chalky limestone of the Saumur region, this is both elegant and fun. It's a traditional method sparkling wine majoring on fruit and delicacy, perhaps a halfway-house between Prosecco and a more yeasty, leesy Champagne style. It is crammed with raspberry and reducurrant aromas, just a hint of toastiness in the background, then the palate delivers up a plateful of strawberries and cream cut with a slice of lemon. Not too dry (though it is Brut with 11g/l of dosage), this is an excellent quality Crémant made for Sainsbury's by the well-respected house of Ladubay. £9.00 on offer at time of review.
(2019) A Pinot Noir-dominated blend with Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier, this is aged on the lees for up to three years.Tasmania truly is Australia's darling for sparkling wine production, with one of its coolest climates. This traditional method fizz (or Méthode Tasmanoise as they would have it) has a very pale, delicate colour and nose that balances rosy red apples and a summer pudding berry fruit. On the palate it is straightforward and the fruit drives it, but the acid really is well-balanced and the dry finish where around 10g/l of dosage means it is quite soft and approachable.  
(2019) Adelaide Hills, along with Tasmania, are the two hottest spots for sparkling wines in Australia, most of those will be traditional method wines, whereas this is made by the 'tank', or charmat method, so the secondary fermentation with the lees is done in steel tanks, not individual bottles. The result is a wine that is forward and crowd-pleasing, in a style that straddles Prosecco and Champagne in a way, the pulpy, frothy strawberry and raspberry fruit is naked, not covered by too much yeasty autolysis, and yet there is a little bit of biscuity breadth and the teeniest hint of tannin in there, giving the fresh, elegant finish a bit of bite too. There is sweetness here, though it is labelled Brut, a combination of ripe fruit and a higher dosage I presume.
(2019) Made from a blend of Cabernet Franc and Grolleau from vineyards in the Anjou region, and by the Traditional Method, this is a Brut sparkling pink that must have a healthy dosage as it is creamy, sweet and very approachable in the mouth. Strawberry and soft summer berries on nose and palate, enough acidity, but an essentially come-hither style of good quality.
(2019) Around 50/50 Chardonnay and Pinot for the rosé NV. Quite a deep, bold pink, loads of summery strawberry fruit, creamy and fresh, but all about that pulpy strawberry aroma. The palate becomes much more lemony and apple fruited, good body and a long, crisp finish. 8.5g/l dosage.
(2019) For not a huge amount more than the NV, a big step up in quality. This is 96% Pinot, a co-pressing with the Chardonnay and has four years on the lees. Only 5g/l dosage. Paler than the NV rosé, much more yeast and biscuit than the NV, a little bracken and truffle, but racy red fruits. The palate has beautiful limpid creaminess, a delicate fruit character, but has the creamy weight and sharply-focused acidity.
(2019) The neckband of all of the ‘D’ non-vintage wines states "Aged 5 years," a considerably longer period than most Champagnes, especially rosé wines, that tend to forsake some of the yeasty development in favour of fruitiness. This blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay is also a low dosage Brut, with 8g/l of residual sugar. It retains delicacy, though there is a meaty, earthy character with small red fruit notes, a touch of redcurrant, but a shimmering lemony freshness. The palate is driven by the red fruits, but the time on the lees comes through giving this a more complex layering of flavour, some umami and salts, and a lovely acid freshness. An excellent rosé Champagne. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.

Under £10

(2019) Cheap rosé in a 250ml ringpull can, a French wine but packaged in Germany. Should we even bother to taste it? Well, the 'single serve' wine and convenience markets are apparently booming with more and more such wines finding shelf space, so although I find the whole presenation particularly dodgy - a lounging, pubescent-looking girl in short shorts adorns the pink can - I decided this is one to be approached with an open mind. The stuff inside is Grenache I believe, and the aromas are gently summery, with berries and light grassiness. The palate is dry and nicely balanced, and in truth the wine is a good quality quaffing rosé. So, with this concept apparently popular, if it works for you, it can be recommeded. Price for the 250ml can. For more information please watch the video.
(2019) Part of the Lidl 'Wine Tour' special parcels, in stores from May 23rd 2019, who can complain about an organically certified rosé, made in the Castilla–La Mancha region of Spain, but in a thoroughly modern, pale-coloured idiom, at just £4.99. Bubblegum cherries and raspberries on the nose, fruity yet dry on the palate, a nice zesty acidity keeps it fresh in the finish and imbues enough cut to make this salad and saucisson friendly, as well as in-the-garden sippable.
(2019) This is a Vin de France wine (so fruit can come from various regions) and is also non-vintage, and at a lowly £6.00 per bottle did not promise much. It did, however, deliver a pleasant surprise: a pale Provence lookalike, even down to its curvy bottle shape, it is dry and nicely balanced, a blend of 75% Grenache with Syrah, Cinsault and Caladoc. Summer fruity with good acidity, it is the epitome of easy-drinking, but sometimes that's all you need.
(2019) At time of review this was in Lidl stores as a special parcel, and though I am not certain of stock levels, it is one of my best rosé buys for 2019. An uncommon rosé from Dão in Portugal, a blend of 50% Touriga-Nacional and 50% Alfrocheiro, weighing in with 12.5% alcohol.  It has the requisite pale and contemporary colour, but backs that up with a lovely nose of small red berries, delicate spicing and a little rose-hip, floral nuance. In the mouth it balances its juicy redcurrant and raspberry fruitiness and tartness with enough sweetness and acidity to give a harmonious, dry finish. The stylishness here belies the lowly price tag. Watch the video for more information.
(2019) 100% Touriga Nacional, and very nicely perfumed with small red fruits and cherry. A very fresh style with a grapefruit tang of acidity sharpening the picture.
(2019) What hellish thing is this I have before me? A pink Sauvignon Blanc from Malrborough, bottled in Alsace for an Australian drinks brand. I can only guess the colour comes from blending in a little Pinot Noir or other variety local to Marborough. Quite pale and delicate in hue, it's exactly what you might expect: pungently and vivdly Marlborough Sauvignon, but with a little added dimension of red berry fruit. In the mouth plenty of lemon and lime punch, a little grassiness, a little sweetness too, a pulpy strawberry touch just in the finish that is otherwise dry.  If you accept that it is a totally manufactured artefact, cynically fusing together the two crazes for Sauvingnon and rosé, then I cannot deny it is punter-friendly, has unusual personality for a pink, and the total not as dreadful as the sum of its parts.
(2019) This has got paler in colour over the years, and I see it is now labelled as zero alcohol, whereas previously it was barely alcoholic with 0.5% abv. Made from Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon it is a wine that goes through an alcohol removal process. Last time I tasted this I said it was "pleasantly fruity in a spritzer style, like a dash of soda has been added to a regular rosé," and that is still basically the gist of it: don't expect a vinous, dry wine - don't expect a wine at all really - but a fruity, soda-water alternative that's basically dry, with prickle of CO². Low in calories.
(2019) Most certainly one for those who like a dollop of sweetness in their Rosé - not just ripeness, but residual sugar that puts this firmly in the 'off-dry' category. A medium pink in colour, it is all about strawberry sundae fruit on nose and palate, ripe and sweet, though the acid balance really is not at all bad, and does stop this from being cloying. Sip in the garden with its 11.5% abv, or maybe match to some strawberries touched with balsamic vinegar in a not too sweet dessert? Part of Lidl's 'Wine Tour' May 2019.
(2019) A blush- coloured Pinot Grigio (though normally vinified as a white wine, the skins of this variety turn a deep pink, even red as it ripens), this fresh and forward rosé has pretty rose-hip and raspberry aromas, a touch of nettle or elderflower in the background, then a palate if crisp, small red berry fruits with a cleansing lift of acidity. Easy drinking and fresh.
(2019) The always-reliable Torres produces this fragrant and fruity, dry rosé that's always an easy-quaffing delight. Made from Grenache, it is pale and fresh with a floral, blossom touch to confectionery and citrus fruitiness. In the mouth there is a hint of sweetness, but it is otherwise dry in the finish, balanced, with good zipping acidity against that lightly peachy and orchard fruit. What's not to like here?
(2019) Fairly deep colour, from minimum skin contact in the press. Sweetie confectionery character, nice floral rose and estery notes. Lots of fruit, cherry and red berries, a hint of sugar set against the very fresh acidity.
(2019) Certified organic, and wearing its Eco credentials proudly with recycled glass for the bottle and cardboard for packaging, this is Nero d’Avola from Sicily. It has a medium salmon colour and fruity aromas, a little bit of bubble-gummy cherry, some rose-hip lift. In the mouth it is fairly generic I suppose, but then the fruit is bold and juicy, the acidity balances that, and it has clarity in the finish. I might have hoped for a little more from a wine that is obviously very carefully conceived, but it does its job well.
(2019) The Sauvignon Gris that lies behind this pale blush wine is immediately apparent on the nose and palate; tasted blind one might have guessed Sauvignon Blanc, with its racy acidity, grapefruity tang and touches of elderflower and passion fruit. Not a remarkable rosé it's true, but distinctive and quite unusual.
(2019) An organic certified wine from Miguel Torres's Chilean operation, this has a nice deep, bold garnet-pink colour that certainly stands out among the pale set of pinks currently so in vogue. The nose has depth too; blackcurrant and a touch blackcurrant syrupy character, some fragrant rose bouquet too. In the mouth a much more textured and mouth-filling wine than the paler examples, by comparison fairly slippery texture and with so much ripe, bold fruit sweetness. It is dry in the finish, with nice cherry and lemon acids, and you've got to love such a confidently unfashionable take on current rosé trends. Could work well with milk chocolate desserts.

Over £10

(2019) Made from old vine Grenache, this is yet another peachy-pink and very pale style, very un-typically Spanish compared to more traditional rosados, and very much about bright fruit aromas and flavours, though dry in the finish. As well as the stone fruits, thre's a touch of passion fruit and elderflower, then the palate is juicy and filled with peach and an apple juice acid freshness. Tasty and has a bit of character.
(2019) A blend of 70% Grenache, 20% Cinsault and 10% Syrah from 25-year-old vines, this is a medium peachy-pink colour and has an overtly fruity nose, pomegranate and redcurrant, small and little peppery berries. In the mouth there is a sense sweetness here, perhaps a touch of residual sugar, and plenty of summery, mixed berries character along with a cool, clean acid balance to finish on a savoury note.
(2019) From the Chardonnay and Pinot stronghold of the Adelaide Hills, a Pinot Noir rosé that is crammed with sweet and summer berry aromas and flavours. Relatively deep in colour, touches of spices and watermelon sit atop crushed strawberry sundae - Eton mess in a glass. In the mouth the sweetness of the fruit is noticeable, perhaps a touch of residual sugar too, but there is a freshening blast of clean acidity and little herbaceous hint that adds to the crispness.
(2019) Pretty, palish colour. A bit of strawberry pulp and raspberry and a touch of slatey mineral. There's plenty of that lightly smoky mineral quality and a long, fresh, tart raspberry finish.
(2019) English MW Justin Howard-Sneyd and his family have run Domaine of the Bee since 2007, farming a small area of vineyards in the Roussillon, with some top regional winemakers consulting and this terrific pink is one of only 1800 bottles produced from Grenache, Grenache Gris and Syrah. It has a pale and pretty colour, and a nose that combines raspberry pink grapefruit with lifted, rose and (delicate) patchouli nuances. In the mouth it is ripe and really very harmonious, the peachy and soft summer berry flavours melding so effortlessly with the acidity, to give a dry, crisp but invitingly soft style of rosé.
(2019) A blend of Syrah, Grenache and Cinsault, this is a rosé pitched as 'feminine', with its elegant frosted pink glass bottle and glass stopper, pale but bright pink hue and touch of sweetness. It has pleasant downy peach and summer fruit aroma, the palate showing that touch of sugar, though there is acid too, and citrus notes. Something about this did not appeal as much as others in the Foncalieu pink range, maybe just too much of a sweet and sour character. No UK stockist at time of review.
(2019) How confusing that Majestic now offers three prices for this wine, ranging from £12.99 down to £8.99, depending on how many you buy and how often you buy it. Life used to be so simple.  A pink made from Pinot Noir, it has a peachy colour and just slightly confected character on the nose. In the mouth there's some sweetness and plenty of summery fruit, to make it easy drinking (if a touch cloying for me). This is crowd-pleasing, but no £12.99's worth.
(2019) All sourced from organic or biodynamic farms, a deep pink colour, more light red. Pressed into 500 litre barrels. Interesting meaty perfume, small dry red berries. There is some sweetness on the palate, and a bite of cherry and some wild garrigue notes, finishing with dry acids slicing through the cherry and pretty fruit. A blend of 72% Syrah and 28% Cinsaut in this vintage.
(2019) Made from 100% Refosco in the Treviso area, this comes from Masi, best known for their Amarone wines, so it is not surprising to hear around 15% of this undergo appassimento (the grapes dried on straw mats) for approximately 50 days. That gives this wine an extra edge of firmness and a bit of tannic bite too, not sweetness: it has cherry and floral aromas, pretty and peachy, then that firmer edge on the palate, crisp fruit but an apple core bite and squeeze of fresh lemon, to give a clean, savoury and food-friendly finish. There's substance here to stand up to a bowl of tomatoey pasta.
(2019) The latest incarnation of a regular favourite and one that, in the opinion of d'Esclans founder, Sacha Lichine, is the best ever made. Sadly, it is also the last made by celebrated winemaker Patrick Léon who died in December (Patrick was winemaker at Mouton Rothschild before creating Whispering Angel in 2006). A blend of Grenache, Rolle and Cinsault, is the colour a touch deeper than usual? It certainly has bags of fruit in the aroma, not only tangy citrus peel but small red berries and a delicate more floral and rose-hip perfume. In the mouth it is bone-dry, with precision to the fruit and a sense of both substance and finesse. Watch the video for more information.
(2019) This rosé from northern Greece is absolutely packed with flavour and personality. Made from 100% Xinomavro, it's a rosé for the Sauvignon Blanc lover perhaps. A little whiff of reduction blows off to reveal zesty and elderflower notes, a flinty quality remaining, and lots of small red berries. Dry and punchily flavoured on the palate too, a swish of tangy graperfuit drives along with the softer berry fruit giving this plenty of vivacious bangs per buck. A lot of web sites selling this are using an old picture with a much darker wine: this is the fashionable, pale Provençal shade of pink.

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