Raising a glass to rosé of all shades
The rise in rosé consumption and reputation over the past decade has been startling. It is no longer a frivolous pink drink to be consumed without thought during summer months. Now we drink it year-round, and the best examples command a high price and are talked of like other premium wines. The result has been an increase in quality across all price brackets.
Whereas producers used to view rosé as by-product of red or as way of disposing of inferior grapes, they are now growing and picking with it in mind. It is almost always made from red grapes, the level of colour being controlled by how long you leave the juice to soak with the grape skins – think of the skins like a teabag. Colour is all-important in the UK, where we love a delicate pink, the paler the better. There is nothing wrong with a pretty salmon colour, but I would also like to stand up for the much-maligned darker rosé. Contrary to popular opinion, these wines are not automatically sweeter, they just have more body. This I fnd useful when I have friends over for a meal, as they are light enough to fll the aperitif slot but also have the depth to cope with the broad range of favours entailed by alfresco dining. Here, though, I have concentrated on two southern-French bottles; the region does pale better than anywhere else. 2015 Côtes du Rhône Reserve Rosé, Les Dauphins, Rhône Valley £6.75, down to £6 until June 2, Asda An uncomplicated, refreshing glass of crushed strawberries with a whisper of spice.
2015 Mirabeau Pure, Côtes de Provence £12.99, Waitrose From a region where you need to choose with care, this is a super-refned, classy glass of pale-pink heaven.