Rosé for the bank holiday

Rosé wine will brighten up your bank holiday, even if the weather doesn’t play ball, writes Peter Ranscombe.

AFTER this week’s thunder storms brought an end to July’s glorious heatwave, who knows what the weather will do over the bank holiday weekend?

Come rain or shine, rosé will still be the order of the day – either while enjoying the sun or sharing commiserations indoors.

Pink wines fall into two distinct categories for me.

There are the easy-going, undemanding summer’s day pinks that are the backbone of our brief Scottish summer.

And then there are the rosés that stop and make you think; the wines that have food-matching potential beyond a tomato salad.

Following on from our rosé round-up for the early May bank holiday, today’s selection is split into my two very subjective categories.

Don’t forget, as we’ve seen before, a rosé isn’t just for summer, it’s for life, so keep hold of this list of pink starlets for autumn too.

I want an easy-going rosé…

Château Minuty Prestige Côtes de Provence Rosé 2020 (£22.50, L’art du Vin)
One of the Provence rosés by which I judge all others – easy-going, but finely made. Minuty has a lovely, slightly-chewy texture, with the raspberry and lemon on the nose carrying through onto the palate to balance its crisp acidity.

Foncalieu Piquepoul Rosé (£9.95, Wickham Wine)
Having visited the Foncalieu winery back in 2017, it’s fantastic to see how this pink Piquepoul has taken off. Its attractive nose – full of bright lemon, raspberry, and richer lemon curd – sets the tone for the bright lemon and raspberry to balance its crisp acidity. A classic summer’s day rosé.

Ramon Bilbao Rioja Rosado 2020 (£10.95, The Great Wine Co)
I’ve struggle with Ramon Bilbao’s pink Rioja in past years, but there are plenty of attractive lemon and raspberry flavours in the 2020 vintage to balance its acidity. Simple, straightforward and crying out to be paired with some seafood or cured meat tapas.

Bread and Butter Rosé 2020 (£9.99, Majestic)
I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m sometimes a wee bit scared of the vanilla intensity in some of Majestic’s Bread and Butter wines, but this pink incarnation is seriously impressive. After delivering a tropical guava note in amongst the tangy strawberry shoe lace sweets on the nose, it hits you with that vanilla punch on the palate – but it’s far better integrated and lighter on its feet than I was expecting. There’s a decent balance there, with lemon and strawberry jam joining the vanilla. If you like your Coke instead of Diet Coke then this should hit the spot.

I want a rosé to make me think…

Chateau Les Mesclances Cuvee Saint-Honorat Côtes de Provence Rosé 2020 (£15, LVDS)
More proof that Provence in the South of France is making rosés that can make you think. Richer raspberry and raspberry jam on the nose, but still with the tell-tale assertive acidity on the palate. Nicely-rounded, with real depth to the texture. A great foody option.

Hecht & Bannier Côtes de Provence Rosé 2020 (£18.90, Le Social)
Subtler lemon and more savoury lemon rind on the nose, but still with an enticing floral lift. Those savoury notes continue through onto the palate to balance the fresh acidity. There’s a touch of residual sugar, which will lend itself to food matching.

Esprit de Buganay Rosé Côtes de Provence 2020 (£13.49, Waitrose)
A really inviting mix of lemon, richer lemon curd, and a whiff of smoke on the nose. Its high acidity is balanced by lemon and lime flavours, with a real richness on the palate.

Mas de Cadenet Côtes de Provence Sainte Victoire 2020 (£13.50, The Wine Society)
A richer nose, with heavier smoke, raspberry jam, and more uplifting floral touches. Much fresher on the palate than the nose suggests, with organic lemon, raspberry, and redcurrant fruit flavours shining through to balance the acidity. A great chewy texture too to work alongside food.

Éminence de Bijou Coteaux de Béziers Rosé 2020 (£13.95, Vintner London)
Its warmer nose – full of raspberry, strawberry, and floral touches – hints at the richer style on the palate, with concentrated strawberry jam and raspberry jam flavours to balance the fresh acidity, with a twist of lemon on the finish.

Domaine Romy Imperial Beaujolais Rosé (£9.99, Fountainhall Wines)
A cracking price from Aberdeen and Stonehaven’s Fountainhall Wines for this pink Beaujolais, which delivers light and attractive raspberry and blackberry on the nose, but then real depth on the palate, with a chewier texture to help balance its acidity.

Marius by Michel Chapoutier Rosé d’Oc (£8.50, Aitken Wines)
An absolute steal from Dundee’s Aitken Wines at this price. Really enticing and complex aromas of lemon, lemon curd, lime, strawberry, and floral notes. Much darker blackcurrant, blackberry, raspberry, and red plum on the palate, which come together it balance its acidity. Chapoutier is a legend in the Rhone valley, but this demonstrates the winery can still weave its magic further along the coast in the wider Pays d’Oc region.

Joseph Mellot Le Rabault Sancerre Rosé (£16.99, Fountainhall Wines)
Its deep pink hue hints that this Sancerre rosé is going to be closer to a light pinot noir red and it doesn’t disappoint. The intensity of the raspberry and raspberry jam flavours – which a touch of smokiness – really enhance its food-matching potential, elevating it above the salad level to roast chicken or white, meaty fish wrapped in pancetta.

Shypoke Rosé of Charbono 2019 (£17, Ally Wines)
A real find from newcomer US specialist Ally Wines. Light lemon aromas lead into much more expressive strawberry and raspberry on the palate. The very definition of a thinking wine, either with food or on its own as the sun is setting.

Francis Coppola Sofia Rosé (£18.49, Seabrook Wines)
Aye, it’s the same Francis Ford Coppola who made The Godfather and Apocalypse Now. His wines always rise above the level of celebrity novelty though, and his pink is no exception. It’s hard work on its own due to its cloying red plum and red cherry flavours; yet that same off-dry intensity will work extremely well with dishes from Lebanon and Morocco.

Lyme Bay Pinot Noir Rosé 2018 (£15.99, Just Fine Wines)
In a similar vein to Sofia, Devon’s Lyme Bay rosé is ideally suited to Middle Eastern and North African dishes, with its off-dry touch of sweetness helping its red cherry and red plum flavours to balance its acidity. Those herby, wet grass notes on the nose just add to its complexity and attraction too.

Read more of Peter’s wine, beer, and spirits reviews on his blog, The Grape & The Grain