Our wine expert Kate Hawkings gives us advice on the best rosé wines to drink this summer. From chilled English Somerset rosé made with pinot noir grapes, to refreshing French Bordeaux, slightly more acidic than most Provence rosés. If you’re interested in knowing more about rosé, you can check out our expert rosé guide here.
Nothing says summer like a glass of rosé, redolent of the Riviera, of sunny days and long lunches; something to take as an aperitif as the sun goes down or to sip through a summery supper.
The first wine we Brits drank was a rosé of sorts. Known as ‘clairet’ (not to be confused with clairette, a grape variety from the Rhône region), it was made from a mixture of red and white grapes grown and vinified together by the winemakers of Bordeaux in the 12th century.
These days, rosé is made from only red grapes, the juice being left on the skins for anything from a few hours to a day or more, which imparts the colour as well as red berry flavours and a degree of tannic grip, depending on the length of skin contact.
Rosé rather fell out of favour after the sweet-and-fizzy Mateus rosé days of the 1970s, but has made a comeback, with UK consumption rocketing 250% in the past 15 years. Those from Provence are particularly popular, with their pale, often apricot-tinged colour and delicate, strawberry-scented fruit, but there are others – from all over the wine-making world – that deserve sniffing out as well.
Our favourite summer rosé wines, as selected by wine expert Kate Hawkings
Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Bordeaux Rosé 2016 (£7, sainsburys.co.uk)
Clean, clear and very refreshing, this is really good value for a French rosé, made in Bordeaux exclusively for Sainsbury’s. It has more acidity than most rosés from Provence and would be perfect as an aperitif with our verduri fritti.
Contero Brachetto d’Aqui 2016 (£11.50, thesecretcellar.co.uk)
One of an increasing number of sparkling reds coming out of Italy, this slightly sweet, cherry red fizz bursts with raspberry fruit and creamy bubbles. Try it with our Eton mess cheesecake.
Dunleavy Vineyards Rosé 2016 (£11.75, dunleavyvineyards.co.uk)
Made in Somerset from pinot noir grapes, this is a brilliant English rosé. Light as a feather with a whisper of pepper alongside its summer berry fruit, it’s a great match with our red coconut bisque with seafood salsa.
Mirabeau Pure 2016 (£12.99, waitrosecellar.com)
Award-winning rosé from the heart of Provence with a beautiful salmon-pink colour and beguiling notes of strawberries and rose petals, this is the south of France in a glass. Delicious with our Vietnamese scallops with herby green sauce.
Which restaurant to get your rosé from
Franco’s is one of the oldest Italian restaurants in London, founded in 1946, and prides itself on having the largest list of rosés in the country with over 70 to choose from. Open all day, it’s the perfect pit stop on a shopping trip. francoslondon.com