Rosé season is finally here, and pink bottles can be seen glinting in the sun everywhere from rooftop ice buckets to picnic blankets.
Rosé is a crowd-pleaser, perhaps the most accessible of all the wine styles – and it is on the rise. According to Wine Business Monthly, sales in the US are growing by 40 per cent each year. In the UK we consume 12m cases annually. It may have once been seen as a drink for the ladies but sanity has prevailed, and it is increasingly enjoyed by both genders globally. As Bon Jovi said last year when I interviewed him about Hampton Water (£19.99, Selfridges), “real men drink pink”.
Among those welcoming Summer is South Africa’s Babylonstoren Mourvèdre Rosé 2023 (The Newt In Somerset, £16.75), the official partner of the Chelsea Flower Show, which is fitting given its rosewater and rhubarb notes.
England’s most awarded rosé FOLC has just released its new vintage (£19.95, Marlo) to wide-spread acclaim for its refreshing vibrancy, ideal for a warm day.
Those worried about the inevitable all-day drinking aspect of sunshine filled weekends can relax with Thomas & Scott’s dealcoholized wines. Noughty AF is still the best I have found with fantastic still (£10.99, Drydrinker) and sparkling (£8.50, Waitrose) rosé options.
Rosé is also the most versatile of styles to pair with food, able to handle spice, smoke, citrus and even bitter green leaves of a crunchy salad. If in doubt, pair it with rosé.
I recently sampled Chapel Down’s English Rosé (£14.99, Waitrose) at a friend’s BBQ and the texture of the wine held its own against the meatiest of kebabs.
One of the biggest wine myths out there is that the colour of your rosé is linked to its sweetness levels. This is simply untrue. Colour is all about skin contact when the grape juice has been pressed and the bottom line is you get some remarkable dry darker rosés.
Tavel is world famous – try some Arbousset Tavel Rosé (£12, Tesco) or the flavourful Greek Xinomavro, which creates deep, sumptuous rosés such as Kir-Yianni’s Akakies (£14.95, Great Wine Co).
No mention of rosé is going to be complete without the region that put it on the map for the UK: Provence. These refined blushes and elegant shell-pink wines seem to suit both poolside quaffing and long, gastronomic lunches.
Chateau Roseline’s Prestige Rosé (£15.50, Ocado) is fruity, fresh and gets the party started. Alternatively go premium with Chateau Minuty 281 (£71.99, Selfridges) – coming in a stunning bottle, this is one of my favourite wines, a complex, petal-soft rosé that takes you straight to the St Tropez sunshine.
Whatever your favourite region, grape or style, this rosé-tinted bubble isn’t bursting any time soon.
Bottles of the week
Yalumba The Virgilius Viognier 2019, £40, Ocado
Taking it to the next level, this is the flagship of Australia’s most acclaimed Viognier specialists. From their oldest vines and best grapes, this is worthy of a 20 minute decant ahead of drinking. Exceptional.
Taittinger Prélude Grands Crus NV, £56, john Lewis
A richly generous and expressive champagne, Taittinger always seems to get it right when it comes to celebrations. A good price too given all the grapes come from their premium Grand Cru sites.
Trivento Golden Reserve Malbec 2019, £15, Tesco
Awarded a fantastic 96 points at the International Wine Challenge, this silky red offers up waves of intense aromas. A bold, juicy Malbec from the first Argentinian winery to join the United Nations’ Global Compact for sustainability.
Hattingley Valley Entice Dessert Wine, £25, Great Wine Company
A finely crafted English sweet wine reminiscent of a fresh, whistle-clean Icewine but with luscious layers of perfumed tropical blossoms and sugared lemons. A delight served chilled with dessert.