ALISTAIR GIBSON: Pale and interesting is how to drink the new summer rosé

Exquisite Collection Cotes de Provence Rose 2017
Exquisite Collection Cotes de Provence Rose 2017
The Ship Inn at Langstone

FOOD REVIEW: An idyllic setting, a beautiful sunset, and ‘bizarre’ brulée 

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I have no doubt that as I write this I am tempting fate but having just experienced the hottest April day for 70 years it’s probably time to start thinking about rosé.

It was not so long ago that rosé was a wine with an identity crisis, not considered ‘real’ wine by many. 

AIX Rose 2017 Coteaux d'Aixen Provence

AIX Rose 2017 Coteaux d'Aixen Provence

And with some justification, as much of the offerings on the supermarket shelves were overly-sweet with the dreaded word ‘blush’ on the label.

Times have changed and the last few years have seen rosé become almost as much a part of the British summer as Pimms.

Over the Channel of course rosé has long been part of the wine mix, but here it has gone through something a re-invention, and its Provence rosé that leads while others follow. Rosé, it now appears, needs to be very pale, almost white in colour, and most definitely dry.

So, here’s three Provence rosés for early summer drinking.

Exquisite Collection Côtes de Provence Rosé 2017 (Aldi £6.69) is a blend of 45 per cent grenache, 35 per cent cinsault and 20 per cent syrah and a great introduction to this style of wine.

Last year this wine was named as the best value Rosé at the International Wine Challenge and while the price may have

sneaked up a little it’s still great value for money. Presented in the classic Provence style bottle

its pale in colour with soft red fruits and a little spice on the nose before a soft, crisp palate and a

dry finish. It’s going to make a lovely summer garden aperitif but as this sold out last year you

may need to buy some now on the assumption summer does return! Mirabeau Pure Rosé 2017

Côtes de Provence (Waitrose, Ocado £13.99) is part of the Rosé brand founded by British

producers Stephen and Jeany Cronk, who up sticks from the UK in 2009 to fulfil their dream of

setting up a boutique wine business. I love the presentation of this wine and the wine itself is

well named with its delicate colour and great purity of fruit. It’s a blend of Grenache and Syrah

and the nose is wonderful fragrant with strawberry, grapefruit and even a hint of blackberries

followed by more red fruits and citrus on the palate with a wonderfully refreshing finish. Try this

with a seafood salad or some sushi or as the winery suggest it would be perfect with some simply

grilled red mullet. Lastly perhaps my current favourite summer wine AIX Rose 2017 Coteaux d'Aix

en Provence (Hermitage Cellars £13.40, also available in magnums £26.80) made from a blend of

Grenache, Syrah and Cinsault with just a touch of Carignan. It is now perhaps one of the most

recognisable of all Provence Rosés but it really does deliver. Again, very pale with raspberries,

some peach blossom, white stone fruit and a twist of spice, the palate has a touch of minerality,

more red fruits and a lovely silky texture and some complexity on the finish. Pull up a magnum of

this and match with a platter of fresh shellfish and imagine you are in the south of France!