With heatwave warnings predicted across Europe and the weekend looking set fair here, it’s time to reach for some more rosé.
Provence may be at the forefront of all things rosé, and without question has led the trend towards the pale styles of rosé that have become so fashionable, but there are lots of pale imitations out there.
Spain has always been a wine country that I thought produced some really interesting rosé, which may be because up till recently this was a country dominated by red wines.
It also made some fairly dull and uninteresting white wines, hence the need for some summer refreshment.
Spanish white wines may have gone through something of a renaissance in the past decade or so, and Spanish rosé seems to be getting paler.
Ramón Bilbao is one of the more forward-looking producers in Rioja, and I always look forward to their new releases.
According to winemaker Rodolfo Bastida, ‘Rosés should be just as expressive of provenance as reds and whites and this means you must take viticulture, vinification, variety and vintage variation just as seriously.’
Ramón Bilbao Rosado 2018, Rioja (£10.95 greatwesternwine.co.uk) is made from a blend of 85 per cent garnacha and 15 per cent viura and fermented in stainless steel.
It is a very pretty, pale pink colour, with notes of soft red fruits, cherry blossom and maybe even a touch of watermelon on the nose, followed by a really fresh, almost zesty palate before a dry, flavoursome finish.
It is a real thirst-quencher. Serve with some spicy tapas dishes.
I think Mas Janeil Rosé Sans Soufre 2018, Languedoc-Roussillon (£19.95 greatwesternwine.co.uk – although currently 2017 vintage listed) may be one of my favourite wines of the year so far of any colour.
Made from a blend of grenache gris, carignan, syrah and mourvèdre and without the addition of any sulphur during the winemaking process this a rosé tour de force.
Very pale in colour, the bouquet suggests nectarines, melon, wild strawberries and just a twist of spice, there is a little minerality on the palate along with some citrus and red fruits, bright acidity and a fine, fresh finish.
I’d happily sit and drink this as an aperitif with the sun on my back but it would also work really well with a simple chicken salad.
La Vieille Ferme is a label established in the southern Rhone Valley by the Perrin family of Chateau de Beaucastel fame – one of Châteauneuf-du-Pape’s leading estates – and the wines have appeared in this column before as they consistently over deliver for the quality in the bottle.
La Vieille Ferme Rosé 2018, Vin de France (Co-op £6.75 on offer from £7.75 until July 16, Waitrose £6.49 on offer from £8.79 until July 9) is a blend of cinsault, grenache and syrah and I would buy it at the list price so while on offer this is a must-have summer rosé.
It’s really fresh, with red fruits, particularly strawberries, the palate has more juicy red fruits, with nice, lively finish. Simple summer wine for a simple garden lunch, now we just need the weather forecasters to have got it right!