As I write this week’s wine column, the British summer is playing its usual tricks, as the wind and rain sweep in.
However, being the eternal optimist, summer will no doubt come back again at some stage and then it will be time for a style of wine that now almost seems as on-trend as other British summer tipples such as Pimm’s.
Yes, that’s right, rosé it seems is now as fashionable as it’s ever been.
Without getting into a sexist debate, rosé is now even drunk by men.
Rosé has gone through something of a reinvention, and it’s Provence rosé that leads while others follow.
Rosé, it appears, now needs to be very pale, almost white in colour, and most definitely dry. Gone are those big, bold almost red rosés of yesteryear and every region, from Rioja to Stellenbosch, is now following suit.
So here’s my guide to some of the best rosés for the summer season.
Ned Rosé 2016 Waihopai River, Marlborough (Majestic £10.99 or £7.99 as part of a mixed six, Ocado £9.99 on offer until June 13) is the sister wine to one of the UK’s most popular Kiwi sauvignon blancs and there is no doubt this is a real crowd-pleaser.
Made from a blend of pinot gris and pinot noir, it has a lovely aromatic nose with red berries and watermelon, followed by a creamy red fruit palate with some crisp acidity.
There is a hint of sweetness
on the finish but that makes it perfect as a summer evening aperitif.
I served this with paella but it would also work nicely with Thai-style dishes.
Rosé Duo des Plages 2016, Vin de France (The Wine Society £6.50) is the sort of wine you have in the fridge ready for a sudden burst of sun! It’s a great value, simple, dry pale rosé with a refreshing finish. Try this with some garlic prawns or even fish and chips.
Provence Rosé has undoubtedly risen in price over the past few years, due in part to its popularity, and there are many cheaper examples that don’t deliver the goods.
But M de Minuty Rosé 2016, Côtes de Provence (Majestic £12.99 or £10.99 as part of a mixed six) is a great place to start.
The second wine of the well-known Chateau Minuty, it’s the archetype of Provence rosé, instantly recognisable in its famous fluted bottle.
Pale pink in colour with red fruits, a touch of citrus and floral aromas on the nose, the palate is really fresh with lively acidity – almost impossible not to like.
Try this with a tomato salad, pate and some crusty bread.
If you want something a little more grown up then Mirabeau ‘Etoile’ Rosé 2016, Côtes de Provence (Sainsbury’s £16) is the top cuvée produced at this well-known English-owned wine estate and it is delicious.
Very pale in colour, almost water white, the bouquet reminds you of summer, with orange peel, lime and subtle red fruits followed by a fresh, almost-creamy palate with more notes of orange and lively acidity – delicious.
n Alistair Gibson is proprietor of Hermitage Cellars, Emsworth. Call (01243) 431002 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org