Drink pink: the best rosé wines for summer’s end

THINK PINK (L-R) Leftfield Rosé, Château Thieuley, Château Barthès Bandol Rosé, Domaine du Grand Cros

This week Times wine editor James Viner is here with four wonderful rosé choices for you to enjoy as we usher in the last of the summer wine…

Summer may well be practically over (autumn begins on Friday) but it’s not yet time to definitively say goodbye to a glass of tasty dry rosé wine. Personally I think there is no reason not to drink it all year round but most like to reserve rosé for the summer months. With that in mind here are four cracking rosés that I have recently relished.

Oh and by the way, if you want even darker pink wines head to Tavel, the specialist appellation of dry rosé wines just across the river from Châteauneuf-du-Pape in the southern Rhône. I can’t recommend Château d’Aqueria Tavel’s sapid grenache noir-forward deep-coloured 2021 rosé (always sensibly placed at the start of a flight of red wines) available from ace importer Thorman Hunt enough.


Cheers to the end of summer! Try these…

1. New Zealand bargain

2020 Leftfield Rosé, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand

(£7.99, down from £10.99, until 27 September, Waitrose)

Enjoy this easy-swigging, crisp, red fruit-edged merlot-dominant New Zealand pale pink wine, topped up with pinotage and arneis, as a crunchy aperitif or with seared salmon, fish, shellfish, pork chops and burgers. Works the mouth with racy acidity and an agreeable amount of texture. It has a flying finish and is rounded, delicious, energetic and dry – and also very well-priced. Get it whilst discounted 25% until 27 September. Lots to enjoy, and one for the non-Provence rosé imbibers playing at home this autumn. Great gear, especially at the promotional price.


2. A darker, autumnal, traditional Bordeaux rosé for red wine fans

2021 Château Thieuley, Bordeaux Clairet, France (£9.95, The Wine Society)

From La Sauve Majeure in the Gironde, Château Thieuley’s merlot-forward dark pink rosé (‘clairet’ formerly referred to a light red Bordeaux wine) is a delightful, lip-smacking end-of-summer swig. With fine-grained tannins and delectable flavours such as red berry fruits and a soupçon of liquorice, you might believe you’re drinking a glass of red wine if you close your eyes. There’s a lot of uncomplicated pleasure here. A great food style, it’s the perfect versatile bottle to drink with fish, salads or a vegetable tagine. An end-of-season barbecue is calling.


3. A sophisticated rosé from arguably Provence’s finest appellation

2021 Château Barthès Bandol Rosé, Provence, France (£12 offer, down from £13, until 27 September, Co-op)

From the small Provençal appellation of Bandol, this is a canny, unoaked blend of equal parts mourvèdre, cinsault and grenache. Its delicately fruited, gently herbaceous style is a mesmerising subtle mix of lavender, pine, rosemary and pink peppercorn pizzazz. I’m thinking salads and grilled/BBQ fish and meat (and it would go brilliantly with rare roast lamb). Await the crescendo! Remarkable length and driving persistence. Brilliant, classy value for money. Hard to put the glass down. On offer at Co-op until 27 September.


4. Celebrate the end of summer with Vins de Provence rosé!

2021 Domaine du Grand Cros, L’Esprit de Provence (£18.95, Swig)

With any luck, we still have a few more final days of warm summer weather to look forward to. So why not celebrate summer’s end this week – and the beginning of autumn – with a gorgeous glass of Vins de Provence rosé? This pale-pink vinous gem is textbook stuff and made from grenache, cinsault, syrah and rolle by the Faulkner family in the heart of Provence. It’s silky and dry, with wisps of Mediterranean herbs, grapefruit, white nectarines, sandalwood and tangy, refreshing citrus and hibiscus streaks. A gleamingly good aperitif. Makes me long for sushi, a barbecued leg of lamb, fish carpaccio or a niçoise salad. Delicate but also persistent. A beautifully crafted stylish rosé and marvellous end-of-summer treat. Au revoir, summer…

You can follow James on Twitter @QuixoticWine

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