"A little bit of this, a little bit of that, but just your plain old summer”, forecasted netweather.tv. Perhaps a little more of that than we bargained for. Scarcely into July and I’ve already I’ve dusted the barbie down three times this year, once in March, once during the sunny pre-Jubilee week and once before flaming June flickered and died. I have the empty rosé bottles to prove it. Since this weekend marks the end of Wimbledon fortnight, the chances are that we may yet be in for a fourth if short-lived summer and that can only mean time to chill down and bring out the rosé again.
If it’s cynical to suggest that rosé wine is blooming, as it were, because the wine industry is cashing in, the overall benefits today are wider choice and better wines. Since grown men can now cry in public with impunity, they can also drink pink wine, but I’m not entirely convinced about attempts to make the style more of an all-year-round drink. Like ice cream and beer, we may not eat and drink them only on hot days but sunshine helps. The proof is in the summer pudding and I’ve been getting plenty of that, proof, not summer pudding, in the various wine tastings I’ve recently attended so you don’t have to.
Starting at the least demanding, most affordable base of the pyramid, I would happily guzzle a bottle of the pretty-in-pink cheap and cheerfully strawberryish 2011 El Guia Rosado, £3.99, Waitrose, made entirely from the bobal grape in Spain’s Utiel Requena region, or, still in Spain, the deliciously berry-packed, refreshingly juicy 2011 Viña Garnacha Rosé, £5.49, Laithwaites (0845 194 7720).The 2011 Alpha Zeta ‘R’ Rosato Veronese, £5.50, The Wine Society, too is a fun cherryish rosé made from Valpolicella’s corvina grape. All are simple enough does-what-it-says-on-the tin rosés but you can do even better.
Back in Spain, Artadi’s2011 Artazuri Rosé, Navarra, Spain, £9.25, Berry Bros & Rudd (0800 280 2440), with its fragrant berry fruit succulence, peppery twist and cranberry bite, is superb. If you loved the MiP Provence Rosé mentioned in my summer wines piece, you’ll adore the 2011 L’Hydropathe Elite, Côtes de Provence, Sainte Victoire, £15.95, Lea & Sandeman (02072440522). The strange name of Domaine Sainte Lucie’s top rosé is matched by the bell-bottom bottle but the wine is a classically pale, floral, and elegant with a raspberryish deliciousness.
From the delicious to the fabulous, the amber-hued 2000 Viña Tondonia Rosado Gran Reserva, Bodegas R. López de Heredia, £20.75, Berry Bros. & Rudd, is unique among rosés, savoury, with faint aromatics of rose and cloves and superb full-bodied berry fruit, this garnacha / tempranillo blend is one of the most deliciously distinctive Rioja rosés you’ll ever come across.
Something For the Weekend 7 July 2012
2007 Tesco Finest* Viña Mara Rioja
It’s well worth taking advantage of Tesco’s special offer on this modern-style rioja from Baron de Ley, a succulently cherryish pure tempranillo with spicy vanilla and coconut undertones from maturation in American oak. £7.99, down from £9.99, Tesco.
2011 The King’s Favour Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough.
Great label but what’s even better is the wine inside, a pungently zesty new vintage Kiwi sauvignon blanc with intense passion fruit flavours tinged with refreshing blackcurrant leaf notes. £12.49, buy 2 NZ wines = £9.99 , Majestic.
2010 Yarra Valley Estate Grown Pinot Noir, De Bortoli, Victoria
An elegant Australian expression of pinot noir’s fragrance and seductive strawberryish fruit with a savoury burgundy-like quality. £15.25 – 19.99. Four Walls Wine (01243535353, Theatre of Wine (02088586363 ), Stainton Wines (01539731886), RS Wines £19.99 (01179636000).