If you’re looking for rosés ahead of the May Day bank holiday then Peter Ranscombe has you covered.
IS IT really a year since our #stayathome review of rosés?
While I’m not counting my sunshine-flapping chickens just yet – especially not for the bank holiday itself – there’s definitely more optimism in the air as we approach this year’s May Day.
Come rain or shine, there are plenty of exciting rosés out there to toast the segue between spring and summer.
Provence is still leading the pack, but there are many credible examples from other parts of the Mediterranean, and slightly further afield.
Below is a mix of sub-£10 bargains, with a sprinkling of more serious contenders too.
And, if you’re looking for something from the new world, check out last August’s bank holiday rosé review too.
Mirabeau Pure Côtes de Provence Rosé (£15, Tesco)
Mirabeau’s Pure rosé is fast becoming the benchmark by which other branded Provence pinks are measured. This is a serious drop, even if the £15 price tag is perhaps testing the envelope. Still, it’s got a great intensity to its strawberry and raspberry aromas, with enough concentrated strawberry fruit to balance its crisp acidity, with a squeeze of lemon thrown in for good measure too. If the pennies won’t stretch to the £15-mark then look out for its playmate, the Mirabeau Belle Année Rosé (£10, Tesco), which boasts more floral aromas and more pronounced acidity. It’s classed as “Vin de France”, so it’s grapes will come from a mixture of regions.
Le Bijou Rosé de Sophie Valrose Cotes du Beziers (£6.99 until 5 May then £9.39, Waitrose)
An outstanding-value rosé from the Languedoc-Roussillon region. A deeper colour than its southern French stablemates along the coast in Provence, with a richer nose too, which blends blackcurrat, intense raspberry, and damp leaf, without straying into green territory. Deliciously-fresh acidity on the palate, which is nicely balanced by rich raspberry, ripe strawberry, redcurrant, and lemon. For a paler Provence-like pink, its Cuvee Jolie Terre de Providence Rosé 2019 (£8.95, Slurp) does the business, with a bright and fresh nose full of lemon sherbet, and then more-expressive raspberry, redcurrant, and lemon on the palate.
Casanova Costa D’Oru (£7.50, Co-op)
Bored with Provence? Try this blend of niellucciu and sciaccarellu from Corsica, made exclusively for the Co-op. There are lovely floral notes in amongst the strawberry and lemon sherbet on the nose, while there’s a spread of lemon, lemon curd, and lemon sherbet to balance the acidity on the palate, with some crunchier cranberry and strawberry thrown in for good measure too.
Basic Bitch Rosé (£11.99, Amazon)
I’m always a litte wary of Spanish rosés – because many can become quite cloying – but this tempranillo example retains its freshness. Attractive strawberry, raspberry, and lemon sherbet on the nose lead into more intense raspberry and lemon on the palate, with a slightly sweeter raspberry jam twist on the finish.
Pierre Jourdan Belle Rosé (£17.99, Hard to Fine Wines)
If you’re looking for pink bubbles then Pierre Jourdan’s South African rosé – which starred in March’s review of Cap Classique sparkling wines – is still a winner for me. It’s great value for money, with enough concentrated strawberry, raspberry, and redcurrant flavours to balance its fresh acidity.
Gusbourne Pinot Noir Rosé 2020 (£25, Gusbourne)
Don’t be put off by its lucid pink colour – this is a serious rosé from winemaker Charlie Holland, who’s proved time after time that he knows how to handle pinot noir. Here, the nose is full of ripe strawberry, raspberry, and apricot, with a dimpled dried apple skin texture on the palate. The acidity is crisp and fresh, but expertly balanced by cranberry, raspberry, and a twist of tangerine. Looks like we have yet another winner from Gusbourne.
Château Le Puy Rosé Marie Vin de France 2016 (£47, Root to Market)
I still can’t stop thinking about the high quality of this pink Bordeaux from Edinburgh restaurant Fhior’s online tasting back in March. There was a haunting intensity to its redcurrant, cranberry, and raspberry aromas, plus the way it combined red apple with the red fruit on the palate to balance its acidity. That low-intervention apple skin texture would make it a stunner with food too.
Read more of Peter’s wine, beer, and spirits reviews on his drinks blog, The Grape & The Grain