Rose wine tips 2020 - summer wine reviews

Peering out of the window from my home-work-office (or, ‘inspiration-station’ as Bob Mortimer calls it in his Train Guy sketch on Instagram) the explosion of colour lit up by streaming sunlight is like the first glance of a long-absent friend. It is also the most enjoyable time to turn our thoughts to rosé.

Still Rosé tasting notes

Social distancing in supermarket queues for the check-out always seems to snake round to the booze aisle in this part of South London. Last week the guy in front of me saved his compulsive buying until he was confronted by the rosé selection, at which point he took liberally from the shelves.

Infected by the notion of pink wine my thoughts drifted back to past expeditions to the Southern French coast, and that Italian stretch between La Spezia and Bordighera, or, Bordeaux, La Coruna or Lisbon. Rosé had slaked across my palate at various moments contributing its own chorus of song to each occasion.

Côtes de Provence, 2018

L’Esprit de Provence - The heat, the sun, the languorous lunch and big splash before a siesta that leads you gently toward evening. Let this lockdown Le Grand Cross rosé do some heavy lifting for you on the imaginative part. 

Gorgeous contrast between the sweetness of the summer fruits and the freshness of the grapefruit notes and acidity. Deliciously evocative.

RRP £15.50 from Berry Bros & Rudd

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Maison Saint Aix, AIX Rosé, Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence, 2018

AIX Rosé wine is a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Cinsault, from Coteaux d’Aix en Provence. Lovely combination of flowers and ripe summer fruit that will pair well with a spiced or aromatic dishes that are on the lockdown menu. We served with a vegan red lentil daal and it was superb.

RRP £19.99 from Selfridges

Sparkling Rosé tasting notes

Château Martinolles – Crémant de Limoux Rosé

60%  Chardonnay, 20% Chenin Blanc, 20% Pinot Noir - 10g dosage 

Lovely strawberry and floral aromas, a textural creaminess with a soft and palatable, nice fresh finish, leaves the mouth pleasantly stimulated for more of whatever comes next. I tasted this over lunch in London with winemaker and estate manager, Bastion Lalauze, who emphasised the amount of work going on in the vineyard to address sustainability issues while converting to more organic practices across the business. 

Overall, there is little here not to love, as this crémant offers fantastic taste/price value.

Chateau Martinolles is part of the larger Domaines Paul Mas who last year was awarded the Mundus Vini Best French Producer Award. 

RRP: £15.99 from Jeroboams

Oastbrook Sparkling Rosé 2015

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Blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier - intense striking pink/magenta colour. Disgorged 18/09/19.

An overt compote of summer fruit aroma including cherry, raspberry and strawberry takes the senses by pleasant surprise. Delicious ripe fruit taste balanced with a good backbone of acidity that protects the freshness.

This rosé sparkler has bags of appeal and great personality. A fabulous example of high-quality English sparkling wine from a fairly new arrival on the local winemaking scene.

RRP: £38 Available online:

Zero alcohol rosé wine

McGuigan Zero Alcohol  Rosé

Zero alcohol is not my style at all no matter how it is pitched but this is worth a mention for those for whom it is a preference or necessity. I tasted it at a lunch given by Neil McGuigan in the Sky garden in the City of London. For what it is setting out to achieve, I have to say that it is impressive but the winemaking process used means that it does have some credence.

The wine made from grapes in the normal way but it is de-alcoholised using a spinning cone. McGuigan stated at the lunch that the mission was to make a zero alcohol wine that they could be proud of. Well…

This has lots of primary fruit and light spritz to give it a bit of a kick. It has the desired freshness and isn’t overly sweet or (my worst fear with bad rosé) wincingly saccharine.

I really think that if you went to party and started pouring glasses among occasional drinkers then they would have no idea at all. Would I drink it? I think I’ll stick to the suggestions above for the moment but horses for courses!

RRP: £4.99 from Morrisons or Ocado 

Enjoy the warm weather and stay safe on the lockdown!

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