Malbec, pinot grigio and the best rosé in the world? - Alistair Gibson

It’s that time of year when many of the world’s wine tasting competitions – and there are so many of them now – release their results.

Tuesday, 23rd July 2019, 5:57 pm
Updated Thursday, 25th July 2019, 7:41 pm
Fairtrade Organic Malbec
Fairtrade Organic Malbec

One award that caught my eye last week was for the world’s best Fairtrade wine at the International Wine Challenge, which was won by the Co-op for their Irresistible Fairtrade Organic Malbec 2017, Argentina (Co-op £7.50).

Admittedly Fairtrade wine is, by its very nature, a fairly small category but the fact that this is also organic led me to request a sample to review.

Made for the Co-op by the La Riojana Co-operative, I have to say this is one of those wines that really is worth its award.

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Co-op Irresistible Pinot Grigio

It has lots of personality with dark fruits, particularly black cherry, some toasty oak spice and a touch of mocha, leading on to a fairly gutsy palate with more dark fruits and spice and reasonably long finish.

It may be a little chunky but this is pretty perfect barbecue wine for this time of year.

It is also vegan-friendly and more than delivers at this price so it is well worth its accolade.

Staying with the Co-op, they have also been named Convenience Store Chain of the Year at the International Wine Challenge, which I think is another worthy award because although the wine selection is certainly not the largest, there are some bright stars in it at certain price points.

Lalomba Rosado 2018

Irresistible Pinot Grigio 2018, Marlborough (Co-op £7.50) is a perfect summer white and one of the highlights of the current Irresistible range.

There is plenty of ripe fruit on the bouquet with citrus, pear and apple followed by a juicy, mouth-watering palate with some tropical fruits and nicely judged acidity.

Again, this is great value and would work well with summer salad lunches in the garden or some simply cooked fish.

Staying with summer wines, I went to a really interesting wine tasting in London last week, hosted by Rodolfo Bastida, chief winemaker at Rioja producer Ramón Bilbao.

After the tasting we went out into a small garden before lunch and as the sun shone down I tasted the finest Spanish rosé, or rosado, I’ve ever tasted.It is very possibly one of the best rosés I have tasted from anywhere.

Ramón Bilbao Lalomba Rosado 2018, Rioja (greatwesternwine.co.uk £23.50) is made from a blend of 85 per cent garnacha and 15 per cent viura and fermented in stainless steel tanks.

Presented in a beautiful bottle, it is very pale in colour.

The nose is very fresh with citrus fruit, orange peel, floral notes and some herbs in the background, leading to bright acidity on the palate with more of the nuances found on the bouquet, together with a nice hint of minerality, before a super long, bone dry finish.

This is not cheap and you will need to track it down, but it is a rosé winemaking ‘tour de force’. If you are interested in quality rosé this deserves to be in your fridge this summer.

Try this with some large prawns or ‘gambas’ cooked in garlic –it’s brilliant.