The top 30 rosés to pair with food

One of the most ver­sa­tile wine styles of all, rosé makes a per­fect match for a wide range of dishes. Fiona Beck­ett rec­om­mends the best bot­tles for gas­tron­omy

Decanter - - CON­TENTS -

Rosé flies off the shelves ev­ery sum­mer, but some are more suited to serv­ing as an aper­i­tif. Fiona Beck­ett picks her food-friendly favourites

ThERE’s NoTh­iNg NiCER on a warm, sunny day than eat­ing al­fresco, with a bot­tle (or two) of well-chilled rosé on the ta­ble. Can rosé be any more than a sum­mer wine though?

We still tend to re­gard rosé as a go-to sea­sonal drink, pick­ing the style we like and buy­ing on price. But as i dis­cov­ered from this tast­ing, there’s an ex­tra­or­di­nary range of styles to en­joy – and colours, from the mer­est whis­per of pink to rosés that would do duty for a red.

What takes a rosé into the gas­tro­nomic league? For me it’s not the abil­ity to pair with clas­sic French dishes – though many do – but that it can be one of the best part­ners for a wide range of food and cuisines. some rosés are pale, dry, crisp and re­fresh­ing; oth­ers are darker and more in­tense but typ­i­cally with­out the tan­nic char­ac­ter of red wines that can jar if served with lighter food.

Not many are de­signed to last more than one sea­son, though the best will gain com­plex­ity over two or three years. in this tast­ing, the rosés that im­pressed were the ones that had re­tained their fresh­ness from the pre­vi­ous vin­tage. Though some wines will have moved on to 2016, there are still a fair few 2015s around.

As you’d ex­pect, France – es­pe­cially Provence – fielded some of the most Fiona Beck­ett is a De­can­ter con­tribut­ing editor and chief restau­rant critic, and a wine cor­re­spon­dent for UK broad­sheet The guardian im­pres­sive ex­am­ples; there’s real am­bi­tion and de­ter­mi­na­tion to make great rosé there. But i was also im­pressed by how many good wines are now com­ing out of spain. There was even an out­stand­ing swiss rosé that you shouldn’t miss.

Rosés from New World re­gions tend to be riper and sweeter than their Euro­pean coun­ter­parts – not nec­es­sar­ily an off-putting qual­ity when they are paired with spicy food. There were some par­tic­u­larly in­ter­est­ing wines from Aus­tralia, New Zealand and south Africa. Al­co­hol lev­els, as with red wines, var­ied markedly, but lighter wines, while re­fresh­ing, didn’t nec­es­sar­ily de­liver on per­sis­tence and flavour.

so far as grape va­ri­eties were con­cerned, there was a strik­ing num­ber of Pinot Noir rosés, while Cin­sault, gre­nache/gar­nacha, Mourvè­dre and syrah pro­duced some of the more char­ac­ter­ful ex­am­ples i tasted. Cin­sault, which is used in many south­ern French rosés, i be­lieve to be an un­sung hero of the rosé world, giv­ing the wines that are made from it a mouth­wa­ter­ingly in­ci­sive bite.

The fi­nal mes­sage, as with other wines, is that you will be am­ply re­warded in terms of char­ac­ter and com­plex­ity by pay­ing a lit­tle more for your rosé.

1 Do­maines Ott, Château Ro­mas­san, Coeur de Grain Rosé, Ban­dol, Provence, France 2015 96 £ 23-£ 30 Corks Out, Ma­jes­tic, Mil­lésima, Phil­gass &

Swig­gott, TryWines, WoodWin­ters En­tic­ingly golden, pink-tinged, Mourvé­dre-based rosé that man­ages to com­bine fresh­ness with depth and com­plex­ity. Savoury, a lovely touch of white peach balanc­ing a gor­geous creamy tex­ture. All you could want from a rosé. Drink with: carpac­cio, beef tartare, lob­ster spaghetti. Drink 2017-2019 Alc 13% 2 Château Brown, Rosé, Bordeaux, France 2013 95 £ 31 El­lis of Rich­mond Se­ri­ous, deeply savoury, bar­rel-fer­mented rosé, a 50/50 blend of Caber­net Sau­vi­gnon and Mer­lot. Rich bronze colour, deep flavours of dried apri­cots and quince. Ma­ture yet sur­pris­ingly fresh and el­e­gant, great acid­ity. Drink with: sweet­breads, rack of lamb. Drink 2017-2021 Alc 13.5% 3 Château Si­mone, Rosé, Pal­ette, Provence, France 2015 95 £40 Mil­lésima, Yapp Bros One of the iconic rosés. A beau­ti­ful, deep pink­ish bronze colour with ex­otic dried cherry and pome­gran­ate fruit. Sur­pris­ingly tan­nic with the tex­ture and mouth­feel of a red wine; it re­paid de­cant­ing. Drink with: rare pi­geon, duck, game ter­rines, cold game pie. Drink 2018-2025 Alc 14% 4 Clos Ci­bonne, Cu­vée Spé­ciale des Vi­gnettes Rosé Cru Classé, Côtes de Provence, France 2014 94 £ 32 Red Squir­rel, The­atre of Wine, Un­wined Rare and special rosé made from the Ti­bouren grape. Vini­fied in large old casks un­der a layer of flor. It’s a beau­ti­ful pink­ish bronze colour with del­i­cate fruit flavours of wild straw­ber­ries and ume plums, and a won­der­fully long fin­ish. Drink with: rare lamb, veal. Drink 2017-2022 Alc 13.5% 5 Do­maine de Mont­mollin, Oeil de Per­drix, Neuchâ­tel, Trois Lacs, Switzer­land 2016 94 £ 26.40 Alpine Wines A stun­ning Pinot Noir rosé which demon­strates the qual­ity of wine Switzer­land can pro­duce. Full, rich, per­fumed and crammed with sum­mer berries, yet with an ap­petis­ingly savoury edge. Drink with: fish, ter­rines; eas­ily ro­bust enough for duck or lamb. Drink 2017-2019 Alc 12%

6 Charles Melton , Rose of Vir­ginia, Barossa Val­ley, Aus­tralia 2015 93 £ 16.19-£ 21.99 Brook & Vine, Eclec­tic Tastes,

Exel, Noel Young With its strik­ing la­bel and ex­otic, per­fumed cherry and pome­gran­ate fruit, this is truly a state­ment rosé. Would be great with the gen­er­ous flavours of an Ot­tolenghi-style feast. Drink with: lamb with pome­gran­ate seeds. Drink 2017-2019 Alc 13.5% ➢

7 Chivite, Las Fin­cas Rosado, 3 Rib­eras, Navarra, Spain 2015 93 £ 13.50-£ 14.95 Booths, Exel, Great Western Ded­i­cated to leg­endary Span­ish chef Juan Mari Arzak, this should be a gas­tro­nomic rosé and it is. Clean, crisp and in­ci­sive with mouth­wa­ter­ing acid­ity, it could al­most be a white. Drink with: prawns, fresh crab, lan­goustines, sashimi. The 2016 vin­tage is also avail­able in mag­nums. Drink 2017-2018 Alc 13.5% 9 Ramón Bil­bao, LaLomba Rosado, Rioja Alta, Spain 2016 92 £ 16.32-£ 20 Exel, Great Western, Som­me­lier’s Choice Pale, Provence-like in ap­pear­ance, this mainly Gar­nacha-based rosado tastes more like an oaked white Rioja than a rosé, though it hasn’t seen oak. Full, savoury, creamy and ap­petis­ing. Drink with: Span­ish fish dishes such as hake, gam­bas and paella. Drink 2017-2019 Alc 13% 8 Mar­qués de Mur­ri­eta, Primer Rosé, Rioja, Spain 2015 93 £ 34.99 Hand­ford, Harvey Ni­chols Su­per-pre­mium, hand­somely bot­tled Rioja rosado from the Ygay estate, made from 100% Mazuelo. Com­plex, el­e­gant, savoury and creamy tex­tured, though sur­pris­ingly with­out any oak in­flu­ence. Drink with: grilled lamb chops, roast veal, par­tridge. Drink 2017-2020 Alc 13% 10 Château Mi­raval, Rosé, Côtes de Provence, France 2016 92 £ 16-£ 19.99 Berry Bros & Rudd, Booths, Exel, Hand­ford, Harvey Ni­chols, He­do­nism, Jer­oboams, Ma­jes­tic, Mil­lésima, Sains­bury’s, WoodWin­ters Still owned by Brad Pitt and An­gelina Jolie, and no doubt about its qual­ity: fresh, el­e­gant, wild straw­berry-scented. Drink with: lob­ster, seabass. Drink 2017-2019 Alc 13% 11 Res Fortes, Rosé, Côtes du Rous­sil­lon, South­west France 2015 92 £ 11.99 Ev­ing­ton’s A strik­ing blend of three dif­fer­ent Gre­naches and Syrah. Pale but fuller than a Provence rosé with sub­tle red plum fruit. Ap­petis­ingly rich, struc­tured and savoury. Could eas­ily han­dle meat dishes. Drink with: gar­licky sausages, cous­cous. Drink 2017-2018 Alc 13.5%

12 Château d’Es­clans, Rock An­gel, Côtes de Provence, France 2015 91 £ 21.95 Exel, From Vine­yards Di­rect, Har­rods,

He­do­nism, Jer­oboams, Mil­lésima One of four top-end rosés from Sacha Li­chine and I think the most be­guil­ing. Provençal pale but with real char­ac­ter and re­fresh­ingly tart red­cur­rant fruit. Drink with: bouil­l­abaisse, lob­ster lin­guine. Drink 2017-2018 Alc 14%

13 Do­maine Jean Teiller, Rosé, Mene­tou-Sa­lon, Loire, France 2016 91 £ 15.75 Yapp Bros Ex­cep­tion­ally pretty Pinot Noir rosé from the Loire. Deep pink, burst­ing with fresh rasp­berry fruit, but with lovely fresh acid­ity to bal­ance. Per­fect sum­mer aper­i­tif. Drink with: smoked duck salad, fresh crab. Drink 2017-2018 Alc 13% 14 Do­maineRhône, France Maby, 2016La For­cadière,91 Tavel, £ 13.50 Harvey Ni­chols, Yapp Bros Strik­ingly strong and dark, and blended from nine dif­fer­ent grape va­ri­eties: a typ­i­cal Tavel. A deep cherry flavour but dry and pow­er­ful, it would hap­pily do the job of a red. Drink with: gril­lades, but could also han­dle a fair bit of spice. Drink 2017-2019 Alc 14% 15 Emil Bauer & Söhne, Al­ways En­joy Life... Pinot Noir Rosé, Pfalz, Ger­many 2015 91 £ 18 Red Squir­rel , The Good Spir­its Co, Wolf Wine The Emil Bauer estate is noted for its crazy wine names and this he­do­nis­tic, rose-scented, bronze­coloured rosé is no ex­cep­tion. Crammed with plums, mul­ber­ries and wild cher­ries, but still ap­petis­ingly savoury on the palate. Drink with: seared duck breast, pluma Ibérico. Drink 2017-2018 Alc 12.5% 17 90 Buil & Giné, Giné Rosat, Pri­o­rat, Spain 2016 £ 18 High­bury Vint­ners ‘A sexy way to learn about Pri­o­rat,’ says the back la­bel. Fair enough. A dark, dry Gre­nache-and- Mer­lot­based rosé that tastes like eat­ing cher­ries off the tree. Blithe and sum­mery. Drink with: pun­chily sea­soned sal­ads, Chi­nese food. Drink 2017-2019 Alc 14.5% 16 Sono Mon­tenidoli, Canaiuolo Rosato, Tus­cany, Italy 2016 91 £ 17.15-£ 19.90 Exel, Les Caves de Pyrene Deeply vi­nous but ethe­real rosé; pale, fresh and creamy with an in­tense, lin­ger­ing fin­ish and a re­fresh­ing touch of bit­ter­ness. Drink with: an­tipasti, seafood or spring veg­etable risotto, vitello ton­nato. Drink 2017-2019 Alc 13% 18 Château Min­er­vois, Maris, Langue­doc,Rose de France Nym­phe 2016 Emue,90 £ 13.50-£ 13.61 Exel, Just in Cases El­e­gantly bot­tled bio­dy­namic Gre­nache wine from the Min­er­vois re­gion. Quite full, weighty and savoury with a long, per­sis­tent fin­ish. A good top- end pic­nic bot­tle. Drink with: char­cu­terie, paté en croute, cold roast chicken. Drink 2017-2018 Alc 12.5% ➢

19 Château Ol­lieux Ro­ma­nis, Cu­vée Clas­sique Rosé, Cor­bières, Langue­doc, France 2016 90 £9.25-£ 11.99 Exel, Joseph Barnes, Les Caves de Pyrene, The Wine So­ci­ety Strong, clean, full-flavoured rosé at a very good price. Mainly Carig­nan, which gives heft and struc­ture, but there’s some at­trac­tive red berry fruit too. Drink with: seared tuna, grilled cala­mari, bour­ride (fish stew). Drink 2017-2018 Alc 13% 20 De Martino, Gal­lardía Cin­sault Rosé, Itata Val­ley, Chile 2016 90 £ 12.99 Les Caves de Pyrene A bold and char­ac­ter­ful rosé made from dry-farmed, old-vine Cin­sault by one of Chile’s most in­ter­est­ing and in­no­va­tive pro­duc­ers. Drink with: grilled or bar­be­cued chicken or pork. Drink 2017-2018 Alc 13% 21 Do­maine Le Galantin, Rosé, Ban­dol, Provence, France 2016 90 £ 14.50 Tan­ners Pale with glints of gold; creamy and fresh, with a lovely straw­ber­ries-and- cream fruiti­ness, but with the ap­peal­ing savoury notes of Mourvè­dre too. Drink with: grilled fish such as sword­fish or tuna. Drink 2017-2018 Alc 14% 22 Château de Berne, Rosé, Côtes de Provence, France 2015 89 £ 10.49 Waitrose Cel­lar Clas­sic pale, crisp, dry Provençal rosé. Clean and fresh; a good match for fresh seafood. Strik­ingly ex­pen­sive-look­ing bot­tle looks twice the price. Drink with: seafood, fresh crab. Drink 2017 Alc 13% 23 Do­maineRosé, Sartène, Sa­parale, Cor­sica, Cu­vée France Sa­parale 2016 89 £ 16.25 Yapp Bros Shut your eyes and you could be drink­ing a white wine. This blend of Sci­acarello and Ver­mentino with a dash of Niel­luc­cio is as pure and del­i­cate as rosé gets – which makes it per­fect to go with raw seafood. Drink with: carpac­cio, sashimi or lob­ster salad. Drink 2017-2018 Alc 13% 24 Eschen­hofRosé, Wa­gram, Holzer, Aus­tria Wa­gram 2015 Zweigelt 89 £ 14 D Vine Cel­lars, Ham & Friends, Park & Bridge, Red Squir­rel, The Ru­ral Vint­ner, Un­wined, Vagabond, Vino Vero, Wild & Lees A light, flo­ral and scented rosé made from Aus­tria’s na­tive Zweigelt – though it has Pinot-like char­ac­ter. Rather sexy frosted bot­tle. Ideal for warm sum­mer evenings on the lawn. Drink with: seafood sal­ads and bur­rata. Drink 2017 Alc 12%

25 Jean Leon, 3055 Rosé, Penedès, £ Spain14.99 2015 89 Pal­lant of Arun­del, TB Wat­son, The Grape to Glass, The Whal­ley Wine Shop, Woburn Wine Cel­lar Pale but full-flavoured, with pretty red­cur­rant and rasp­berry fruit and an ap­petis­ing, savoury bite. Pinot Noir or­gan­i­cally grown, and good value for money. Drink with: ta­pas, grilled fish, squid, prawns, bar­be­cues. Drink 2017-2018 Alc 13% 26 Mas­saya, Rosé, Bekaa Val­ley, £ Le­banon14.50-£ 16.95 2016 Cav­iste,89 Christo­pher Piper, High­bury Vint­ners, JN Wine, Richard Granger, Tan­ners, WoodWin­ters Ap­peal­ingly pale, clean and crisp rosé made from high­alti­tude Cin­sault and Syrah vines. Del­i­cate straw­berry flavours with a nice touch of creami­ness. Drink with Le­banese or other mezze, or grilled meat. Drink 2017-2018 Alc 13.5% 27 Tri­ennes, Rosé, Provence, France 2016 89 £ 12.50-£ 14.50 Fine & Rare, Hon­est Grapes, Mas­ter of Malt, The Wright Wine Co, OW Loeb , WoodWin­ters Al­most cer­tainly the hippest rosé in Lon­don right now, on tap in many of the most talked-about res­tau­rants. Cin­sault­dom­i­nated, re­fresh­ingly quaff able, freshly picked straw­berry fruit with a nice touch of cit­rus. Drink with: fresh radishes, ‘grand aioli’ feast. Drink 2017 Alc 12.5% 28 Xavier Goodridge, Shirley Rose, Yarra Val­ley, Vic­to­ria, Aus­tralia 2016 89 £ 20.37-£ 23.99 Exel, Les Caves de Pyrene, Noble Fine Liquor Al­most more an or­ange wine than a pink. Quite tan­nic, but per­fumed with roses and quince. Lovely lifted le­mony acid­ity. Un­fil­tered and un­fined, no added sulphur. Drink with: spiced quail, grilled aubergines. Drink 2017-2019 Alc 13.5% 29 Black Cot­tage, Rosé, Marl­bor­ough, New Zealand 2016 88 £ 12.99 Ma­jes­tic De­spite its pale colour, this Pinot GrisPinot Noir has all the vivid red berry fruit you’d ex­pect from New Zealand: crushed, freshly picked straw­ber­ries and rasp­ber­ries. Sim­ple but de­li­ciously sum­mery; a per­fect wed­ding rosé. Drink with: canapés. Drink 2017 Alc 12.5% 30 Lem­berg, Blanc de Noir, Tul­bagh, South Africa 2016 88 £ 10.35 Fron­tier Fine Wines, Great Grog, The Leam­ing­ton Wine Co Com­ing from a hot re­gion, this is a sur­pris­ingly del­i­cate, pale and el­e­gant rosé; to taste, it could eas­ily have come from Provence. Syrah- Gre­nache blend; im­pres­sively light in al­co­hol for the depth of flavour. Drink with: fresh seafood, es­pe­cially crab. Drink 2017 Alc 12%

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