Think pink for these hot summer days

Think pink for these hot summer days

A cool glass of dry rosé is just the ticket for sipping on hot summer days. Rosé is still on a roll and is currently very possibly the hippest wine around, with sales rising annually. In 2021 we sank a record £717 million worth of it! And with every summer yet more exciting pinks are produced for us all to relish. We Brits are swigging more and more of it, though not as much as the French where it outsells white wine.

Thinking pink, Times’ Drinks Editor James Viner selects four superb appetite-whetting bottles (including two beautifully crafted Provençal rosés), plus a handy little can, to enjoy during the canicular days following the recent unprecedented heatwave. Cheers to the summer! Try these…


1. Keenly priced, easy and approachable Rioja rosado to uncork when firing up the grill…

Baron Amarillo Rioja Rosado 2021, Spain (£6.79, Aldi, 13%)

This summer, Aldi has the best bargain rosés but they’re running out fast. Grab a bottle of this keenly priced, refreshing, herby rosado right now! A fifty-fifty blend of Tempranillo and Garnacha, it’s the kind of crowd-pleasing, pale pink wine you can buy with confidence, stick in the fridge knowing it will put a smile on everyone’s face and enjoy any time. Crisp, (just) dry, easy to drink and tingling with stone fruit, red cherry and citrus flavours, it’s perfect with BBQ meats (especially lamb), tapas or as an aperitif. For those guests cutting down on their units, you could cut it with equal parts soda water for a simple, quenching rosé spritzer. Try if bored with the everyday French rosés. In-store only.


2. Pale pink, dry, fresh, unoaked Portuguese blend of Tinta Roriz & Touriga Nacional

Quinta do Portal Rosé 2021, Douro, Portugal (£9.50, The Wine Society, 12.5%)

Sorry Port lovers but Portugal’s Douro makes some exquisite dry still rosés too! With aromas of red berries (think pomegranate and strawberries) this wine opens up to a delectable explosion of herbs, sour cherries, cassis compote, pomelo and a soupçon of salinity. The fruit is skilfully harnessed into a savoury package of thrumming length and finesse. Part of the wine’s magic emanates from its modest alcohol. Pour with BBQ mackerel/swordfish/tuna/sardines, Greek/chicken Caesar/tomato salads, fish and chips and lamb chops. Lovely medium-bodied pink from a boutique winery run by the fifth winemaking generation of the Mansilha family in the Pinhão river valley. Portal has a fabulous wine hotel, great beers, Moscatel, olive oils and ports, too. A great addition to the Society’s range from the shrewd buyer for Portugal, Joanna Locke MW.


Mark your diary for a very special aged Rioja rosado release from The Wine Society!

Connoisseurs of aged (in this case over 12 years) traditional Rioja rosado should mark their diaries for 12th September and The Wine Society’s release of the remarkable barrel-aged Bodega Hacienda López de Haro Gran Reserva Classica Rosado 2009. This savoury vinous gem from Rioja is one of the most spellbinding, singular wines I’ve tasted all year (and one of the top 50 wines of DWWA 2022). Marvellous mature drinking that is extravagantly ready now. £33. Get in quick though! You have the scoop.


3. Starry rosé from the foot of Cézanne’s Mont Sainte-Victoire, around 25km to the east of Aix-en-Provence

MIP* Classic Rosé, Made in Provence 2021, Côtes de Provence, France (£13.95, Lea & Sandeman, 12.5%)

France still rules the pink wine roost. Such is the popularity of its chic Provençal rosés that prices have increased quickly lately. Whatever your summer plans, whisk yourself to the sunny Mediterranean with two of the finest sub-£20 examples, starting with ‘MIP* Classic Rosé.’ This silken, medium-bodied, delicately dry rose-petal coloured best-seller from star London wine merchant and importer Lea & Sandeman is well worth splashing out on. ‘MIP*’ – Made in Provence – is a canny collection of bright wines created by Guillaume and Virginie Philip. This top seller teems with notes of wild strawberry, raspberry, citrus, white peach, dried Provençal herbs, pink peppercorn and white flowers and is bang on – one whiff will take you straight to the craggy hillsides of deepest Provence. A fantastic barbecue swiller that would also be a good pairing for simply served seafood, garlicky dishes, vitello tonnato, gazpacho and salads. Try it! A magnum will set you back £31.75. The (higher priced) Premium Rosé is superb too. 60% Cinsault, 20% each Syrah and Grenache. Joyful, textbook stuff.


4. And now for my second must-try, dreamy, posh, pale, organic Provençal pink to take to summer dinner parties…

Château Léoube, Love by Léoube Organic Côtes de Provence 2021, France (£15, Tesco, 13%)

The scorching weather and sunshine are finally back so what better way to take your summer days to the next level than with a glass of sans pareil Vins de Provence rosé? Tesco has a plethora of tasty premium, elegantly packaged Provençal pinks to help you host your evening BBQs and garden parties. Step forward my second posh pink from Château Léoube, a beaut of a Côtes de Provence organic rosé, overflowing with the aromatic, luminous Provençal hillside aromas of rosemary, crunchy red apples, red fruits, lavender, tobacco leaf, cherries and pine. Nestled in a coastal bay some 45km southwest of Saint-Tropez with vineyards nearly touching the sea, this organic estate is owned by the Bamford family (of JCB and Daylesford Organic fame) and they’re doing an excellent job with the help of a very gifted winemaker. Unoaked, food-friendly and based on a fifty-fifty blend of Grenache and Cinsault, it’s a whizz with everything from Niçoise/octopus salads and tomato tarts to ratatouille, roast leg of lamb hot off the BBQ, bouillabaisse and sushi. A delicious, fleshy, organic and vegan-approved pink vinous pearler, with a long, mineral-clad finish.


5. A canny, stylish bone-dry canned southern French pink wine ‘to go’

Maison Mirabeau Prêt-à-Porter Canettes Rosé to Go, IGP Méditérranée (around £3.50, Waitrose & ND John, 12.5%, 250ml)

I’m highly impressed with this tasty, silky, crowd-pleasing, pale canned rosé from a blend of Grenache (50%), Syrah (40%) and Cinsault (10%) grapes in Mediterranean France. Smooth on the palate, with hints of peach, red cherry, grapefruit and lemon. It’s a conveniently portable, tinned, recyclable option and the perfect treat for hikers’ backpacks, beach trips, long train journeys, the poolside and picnics. Santé to summer! Maison Mirabeau also has a rather delicious rosé gin (£35, Waitrose).


Follow James on Twitter @QuixoticWine

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