You’re nowhere as a celeb unless you’ve got your own brand of rosé. Brad and Angelina were in there early with Miraval; then last year Jon Bon Jovi launched his amusingly named (for aficionados of Cockney rhyming slang) Hampton Water and last month it was Kylie’s turn.
What all these wines had in common was that not only were they pink, they were a super pale Provence shade of pink. This is the style that has swept the world in recent years driven by brands like Aix with its bikini and yacht lifestyle. They are technology wines. Until quite recently Provence rosés were much darker, based on picking grapes early so they don’t have too much colour, and at night to preserve freshness, pressing very gently and fermenting with a special yeast strain.
At best they can be delicious, especially on a hot day on your boat, but at worst in taking out the colour, they’ve taken out the flavour. I had a Malbec rosé recently from Argentina that was all green herbaceous notes like a Sauvignon Blanc. And sadly the mania for Provence-style pinks has meant that other areas with noble pink wine traditions like Spain, Greece, and the Rhone have dropped their darker pinks and gone with what is fashionable. The problem is that many consumers associate dark colour with sweetness.
You can’t blame producers for changing; it’s hard to swim against the tide of fashion and yet look a little harder and there’s a whole world of rosé out there from wines that are a whisker away from red, to the palest most fashionable little number from the South of France. Here are 10 of my favourites. What they all have in common is flavour.
Paso-Primero Somontano Rosado 2019 (Tanners £8.90)
Wow, this is great fun, look at that colour! It looks like a strawberry mivi and tastes a bit like one too. This has a full texture with red fruit and tangy orange peel notes. You don’t really notice the 14.% ABV. I can imagine drinking this with pretty much anything, especially at that price.
Kir-Yianni Akakies 2019 (Great Western Wines £12.50)
This is made from Xinomavro which makes some of Greece’s finest reds. In this rosé version it shows all of the floral notes that makes this such a great variety. It’s a full red colour with orange blossom notes. There’s just a little tannin here so don’t serve it too cold and it will really sing.
Aldo Marenco Dogliani Dojan Rosé 2019 (Borough Wines £13)
This is made in Piedmont from Barbera grapes and what I love about it is that it really tastes of the variety. It’s a deep orange colour but the flavour is of dark cherries and then there are woody nutty notes. Very much not yacht rosé but serve with some suitable food and you’ll be happy.
Domaine des Tourelles Rosé 2018 (Borough Wines £14)
Made from a blend of Cinsault, Syrah and Tempranillo in the Bekaa valley in Lebanon. This is one that got better with time open, there’s candied Turkish delight flavours and pungent woody herbal notes followed by refreshing grapefruit and orange. Think Bandol rosé but at half the price.
Garage Wine Co. Old Vine Pale Lot #83 2018 (Vinvim £14.80)
Is this Chilean wine a red or is it a pink? Who cares when it tastes this good. It has a diving into a cold river freshness with raspberries and stone fruit, then there’s delicate woody notes from barrel ageing, a little butterscotch. Incredibly complex and delicious. Another one not to serve too cold.
Cillar de Silos Rosado 2018 (Berry Bros £14.95)
From the fine red wine region of Ribera del Duero, this is 100% Tempranillo. The colour is somewhere between Provence and classic ruby red rosado, and it tastes like that too. Great fruit, candied strawberries and red cherries, with a delicate touch. This would be great well chilled on a summer’s day.
Domaine Maby Tavel La Forcadière 2019 (Yapp Bros £14.95)
Tavel is the only appellation in France that specialises in rosé. And what rosé! It’s deeply-coloured, spicy and nutty with some tannins but at the same time juicy and refreshing. Apparently, producers in Tavel are struggling to sell their traditional wines due to the yacht rosé fashion. Buck the trend, and get a case of this in.
Anna Maria Abbona Vino Rosato 2018 (Secret Cellar £14.99)
Nebbiolo is the grape behind Barolo and Barbaresco, prestigious reds without much colour, so in some ways it’s ideally suited to rosé. In the glass, it looks more green than pink, but it’s packed full of character, red cherries and rosé petals with great acidity. This is delightful. Why don’t we drink more Nebbiolo rosé?
Château De Léoube Love Rosé 2019 (Daylesford Organic £15.99)
From one of the big names in Provence, this is textbook stuff. Super pale colour but plenty of ripe strawberries on the nose and the palate. The texture is really creamy with a faint taste of herbs. Tastes as good in a paddling pool as on a yacht.
Domaine de La Mordoree Tavel La Reine des Bois 2019 (Lea & Sandeman £25.95)
I have a friend who lives on a boat who only buys wine from this producer. And who can blame him? It makes excellent wine all over the Southern Rhone and this, the top of range Tavel, is sensational. So dark and meaty it makes the Domaine Maby above seem like a slip of a thing from Provence. Drink this with steak cooked rare and don’t be afraid of spicy sauces. This wine has it covered.