Our Picks: Elegant rosés for summer drinking
Although there is a growing trend for rosé wines to be enjoyed throughout the year, there is no denying that a glass of rosé enjoyed in the sunshine while alfresco dining is many people’s epitome of the summer dream. Today we are spoilt for choice in the variety of rosés available – the category can no longer be considered as one-size-fits-all.
Provence leads the way for many, being the pinnacle of what rosé can offer, thanks to the success of the region’s signature pale, intense, elegant, and refreshing wines. Even within Provence there is a diversity of styles thanks to different winemaking techniques and grape variety blends used, as seen from the four examples below.
Elsewhere in France, along with Spain, Italy and Portugal, there are great alternatives to Provence to be discovered. Below is a selection which showcases the diversity of grape varieties like Touriga Nacional, Corvina, Grenache, Primitivo and Monastrell – often considered grapes which produce big, heavy red wines – but here show how they can also make delicate, floral and mouth-watering rosés.
Further afield, those who want to explore will be rewarded with a selection of fruit-driven and food-friendly rosés from the likes of Australia, South Africa and India.
Alpha Zeta, `R` Rosato 2020
This bright and fresh rosato is made with a blend of Corvina (70%), Merlot (20%) and Rondinella (10%), which are sourced from the hillsides around the historic city of Verona. Fermented in stainless steel at cool temperatures (14-15˚C), the delicate cherry and strawberry perfumes of Corvina are preserved. It is aromatic and floral, with lively acidity and a dry finish.
M/S, Akluj Sangiovese Rosé 2020
The ‘S’ in the M/S wines is thanks to the involvement of the late Steven Spurrier (along with Piero Masi), who together collaborated to make these wines from the Akluj (Mahārāshtra) region in India. Steven founded the Wine Society of India, and his passion for the country, and for the new and undiscovered led to the M/S wines becoming a reality. Made solely from Sangiovese, the rosé is a vibrant, rose-petal hued with aromas reminiscent of summer red berries and a refreshing finish.
Willunga 100, McLaren Vale Grenache Rosé 2020
Beautifully pale pink, with a lovely savoury tannin profile and crisp acidity, this Grenache rosé is sourced from 60-year-old bush vines in Blewitt Springs, McLaren Vale. The combination of warm days and cooler maritime evenings is ideal for ripening the grapes while preserving their freshness. The low yields give concentration of flavour; rose petal and jasmine notes, alongside fresh strawberry, red cherry, melon and mandarin. The finish is dry, long and refreshing.
A Mano, Primitivo Rosato 2020
This moreish Primitivo Rosato is sourced from dry-farmed vines in the Lizzano area of Puglia, specifically selected due to their suitability for making rosato. Winemaker Mark Shannon is meticulous – skin contact after crushing is measured in seconds, not hours, and fermentation is carried out at very low temperatures to maintain freshness. The result is a perfectly balanced rosé with a delicate and youthful strawberry character with a hint of mint, and a zesty, lightly spiced finish.
Casa Ferreirinha, `Vinha Grande` Douro Rosé 2020
Touriga Nacional is a grape commonly associated with full bodied Douro reds and inky Ports. However, with slightly earlier harvesting and gentle handling, it is capable of producing wonderfully elegant rosés. The ‘Vinha Grande’ Rosé is made from 100% Touriga Nacional grown on the Quinta do Sairrão estate at 600 metres above sea level in the Cima Corgo. Unoaked, this wine shows bright aromas of red berries, coupled with hints of violet and bergamot and a lively acidity.
Miraval, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2020
A blend of Grenache, Cinsault, Rolle and Syrah, the Miraval Provence rosé comes from the village of Correns, where organic practices are used in all produce cultivated there. 5% of the blend is fermented in oak barrels, giving an extra dimension to the wine’s texture. It is a beautiful petal-pink rosé with notes of fresh strawberries and spring flowers. The palate is poised and perfectly balanced with bright acidity and a saline finish.
Château Beaulieu, `Cuvée Alexandre` Coteaux d'Aix-en-Provence Rosé 2020
This sunshine-filled rosé comes from vines which are situated in the crater of an ancient volcano, in Coteaux d'Aix-en-Provence. The blend of Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah, and Cabernet Sauvignon, the grapes were harvested in the cool of the night, cold direct pressed, and fermented at low temperatures – the same winemaking as a white wine in fact, to maintain freshness, and minimise extraction of harsh phenolics. The result is a delicate rosé with notes of fresh redcurrant, wild strawberries, alongside juicy white peach and pear notes.
Château du Rouët, `Estérelle` Côtes de Provence 2020
Situated at the foothills of the Estérel mountain range, the Estérelle Rosé is made solely from estate grown fruit. Vines were originally planted here in 1927 to act as a fire break to protect the forest, and not used to make wine until 1945. Since then, the Savatier family (who have owned the estate since 1840) have concentrated on wine production, thanks to the quality of the grapes produced. A blend of Grenache, Tibouren, Cinsault and Syrah, this rosé wine is a great combination of ripe citrus and white blossom, with beautifully balanced acidity and elegant mouthfeel.
Château Fontarèche, Tradition Rosé Corbières 2020
Château Fontarèche has been in the Mignard family since 1642 and is one of the oldest estates in the Languedoc. This rosé from Corbières, in the foothills of the Pyrenees, is an unusual blend of Piquepoul Noir (40%), a very rare variety which originates from the Languedoc, Syrah (30%) and Grenache Noir (30%). It has a delicate and scented character with lively acidity resulting from the limestone, gravel soil.
Clos des Trois Sources, Coteaux d'Aix-en-Provence Organic Rosé 2020
The ‘Clos des Trois Sources’ comes from a single vineyard cultivated organically since 1995, in the Rognes hills, near Aix-en-Provence. It is surrounded by woods and, as its name suggests, three water sources. Fermented in stainless steel at cool temperatures (13-15˚C), the wine has a delicate nose characterised by fragrant fresh redcurrant, strawberries and refreshing watermelon.
Gabriëlskloof, `Rosebud` Bot River 2021
The Gabriëlskloof estate is situated in the Bot River ward, where prevailing southerly winds from the nearby Atlantic Ocean moderate temperatures and produce low yields with balancing acidities. Predominantly Syrah (95%) with a dash of Viognier, this is wonderfully perfumed and aromatic. Delicate spice and crunchy acidity, from the Syrah component, are tempered by hints of rose petal and ripe stone fruits.
Izadi Larrosa, Rioja Rosado 2020
The fruit for this Rioja Rosado is sourced from 50-year-old Garnacha vines planted at 600 to 800 metres above sea level, meaning the fruit harvested has excellent flavour concentration, balanced by fresh acidity and perfumed aromatics. Hand-picked and made exclusively from free-run juice, this is a delicate rosé with aromas of wild strawberry, cherry and white peach.
Familia Castaño, Organic Rosado 2020
Based in the Yecla DO in south-eastern Spain, the Castaño family are Monastrell specialists. Their organic Rosado is 100% Monastrell. Grown at 750 metres above sea level, warm days are tempered by cool nights, enabling the grapes to retain fresh acidity. This wine represents exceptional value for money with aromas of cranberry, red apple skin and watermelon. Juicy acidity underscores the wine’s refreshing finish.