Sunshine and spring blossoms are thankfully becoming a more regular occurrence, heralding that crowd-pleaser, Rosé Season. You could be a fan of the pale pink of Provence or the juicy Garnacha of Spain, but English rosés are increasingly coming to the award-winning fore and right now we are in the middle of Great British Rosé week (2–8 May).
The founders of this patriotic pink celebration are Dr Archie Patel and Dr Allie Woodward, GPs who balance work with wine studies and influential Instagram accounts. “ I thought it would be nice to create an event supporting local businesses,” says Dr Patel, who also launched wineawaytheday.com.
“People are buying English sparkling wine now, but we want to shine a light on still wines too,” says Dr Woodward. “It is a category of its own, and it’s a strong contender. This is an event for everyone, not just wine experts who already know about our amazing wines”. Many UK wine producers do little or no advertising, Dr Patel tells me, gesturing to our glasses of notoriously under-the-radar Coates & Seely sparking rosé, so this is a drive to promote these wines. “We want everyone to feel they can get involved”.
To be part of the conversation all you need to do is drink some English rosé and post about it online with the hashtags #greatbritishroséweek and #gbrw.
“There are various zoom tastings and Instagram Lives happening this week and English specialist Elizabeth Rose Wines has put together a special case for us,” says Dr Patel. “Most English rosés will be Pinot Noir dominant, which make them really food friendly. They can handle a salad or grilled BBQ”.
When pressed for their top picks they recommend the Simpsons Estate Pinot Noir Rosé (£16.99, Waitrose), the Albury Silent Pool Rosé (£21.99, excellar.co.uk), the Artelium Meunier Rosé (£20.99, Grape Britannia) and one of my personal favourites, the Gusbourne Still Rosé (£25, Gusbourne).
“No round up is complete without FOLC,” adds Dr Patel. The most awarded rosé in the UK, which beat stiff competition from the Mirabeau Classic, M de Minuty and Léobe at last year’s International Wine Challenge (£16.99 Laithwaites).
“When I think of myself drinking rosé I’m in the sun, with friends, unaware of time and feeling relaxed,” says Dr Woodward. “It’s a real moment of spring and summer. I am literally rosé-all-day”. Dr Patel agrees: “It’s a feeling rosé invokes. It’s part of a lifestyle and it makes you happy. Whatever style you like, you can find an English rosé for you”.
Wines of the week
Roebuck Rosé de Noirs 2016, £42, Roebuck Estates
Playful and refined, this sings with white peaches, blossom, fresh strawberries and a touch of tangerine peel. Food-friendly in the extreme, this is an excellent bottle of sparkling from an admirable, sustainability-driven English producer.
Babich Family Estate Cowslip Riesling, £17, New Zealand House Of Wine
Partnering with Frank Water to increase water storage and conservation, New Zealand’s Babich works to create their beautiful wines as sustainably as possible. This delightful wine is all waxed lemons and honeysuckle blossom, opening up to juicy stone fruit and electric acidity.
Château Maris La Touge, £18, Armit Wines
One of only 27 wineries worldwide to have B corp status, this delicious red is a juicy blend of Syrah, Grenache and Carignan. Bursting with black fruits, sour cherries, hints of chocolate and a dash of black pepper, this is sleek, spicy and absolutely divine drinking.
Balfour Mary Rose 2020, £40, Balfour Winery
A vibrant rose gold in the glass, this newly launched still rosé is an exciting new development from English winery Balfour. Beautifully nuanced with layers of silky raspberries, fresh peaches, dried cranberries and an emphasis on savoury finesse and textural elegance, it’s a rosé to impress with heaps of complexity.
Joseph Drouhin Beaune 1er Cru Clos des Mouches Blanc 2018, £99, Laithwaites
The iconic Clos des Mouches from renowned Burgundian house Drouhin is a thing of beauty. Fine white blossoms open up to honeyed apricots, pineapple and vanilla. Ripe and rounded but still refined. Excellent.