If you want a good summer drink you can't beat a drop of the pink stuff. Here are my dozen top pinks...

‘I really only drink rosé wine,’ said the big burly builder who has been working in in my loft for the last two weeks.  I was surprised, since he looked more like a Malbec-man, but I was delighted too, and not just by the new flooring, cupboards and windows in my loft room. There used to be a time when rosé wine was regarded as a halfway house for those who couldn’t decide whether to drink red or white.  It was often sweetish and a bit lacking in character. And men definitely didn’t drink rosé – but they do now, which is great news.  Sales of rosé wines from both retailers and bars have been growing at an amazing rate and now everyone has a range.  Provence has leapt up the charts from an almost standing start and set the colour and preferred style for many wines.  Other regions have followed suit, taming their robust rosés to become pale and interesting.

There’s a concerted effort to move to glass stoppers too, giving a streamlined look to the bottles and in a way, justifying the higher prices now being charged for top-names.

With a long weekend ahead, and the prospect of several long family lunches, here are my top dozen rosés that will not only taste delicious, they will look good on the table.

Kamocsay Ákos Hilltop Premium Pinot Noir Rosé 2018, Hungary, Lidl £5.99

Slightly deeper in colour than is strictly fashionable but since it is made from 100% Pinot Noir, its gorgeous, rounded, strawberry fruit and dry, harmonious finish balance out any embarrassment you might feel about the shade of pink.

Torres Natureo Dealcoholized Syrah Cabernet Sauvignon 2018, Torres, Waitrose £5.99

Not everyone wants to drink alcohol these days, especially if you are responsible for getting your family back home again, so this is a perfect alternative.  It starts off as genuine wine, and then it is put into a machine that spins it round so fast, a bit like taking the cream off milk, that all the alcohol is removed.  That leaves the remaining liquid, which can’t be called wine anymore, slightly flat, so they add back a little grape sugar to balance it.  The result is perfectly drinkable, and if you chill it down, it is a lot better than sipping orange juice all afternoon.

Carcassonne Rosé 2018, Calvet, Cité de Carcassonne, Co-op £6

A great value rosé that looks and tastes a lot more expensive than it is.  Very pale, just like all those upmarket rosés, with light, fresh strawberry fruit, a touch of bright citrus and a good rounded finish.  Pour this at your bank holiday garden party and no one will guess the price.

Rosé Méditerranée 2018, IGP,  Spar £7

Stylish in its traditional Mediterranean bottle, this is a pale salmon-pink with a light easy-drinking style.  Dry, elegant and perfect to team with prawns, salmon and shellfish.

Cruset Rosé 2018, Vin de France, Sainsbury £7

This travels under the fairly anonymous Vin de France designation but it is essentially a southern French rosé, made from the usual Grenache, Syrah and Cinsault grapes.  Beautifully packaged, with light crushed berry fruit flavours, this is a good wine to accompany a sunshine lunch.

Silver Moki 2018, Marlborough Sauvignon Blush, New Zealand, Sainsbury £8

Ever since over-sweet, pink Zinfandel was described as ‘blush’ I have disliked any wine bearing that descriptor, but the Kiwi’s have decided to use it for this pink Sauvignon Blanc, and to be honest, it tastes fine.  The colour comes from a small per cent of Pinot Noir, and the crisp, zingy Sauvignon Blanc flavour shines through, moderated by just a hint of strawberry fruit.

Moonlight and Rosé 2018, Coteaux d’Aix en Provence, Morrisons £10 down to £8 until 3 September

In a clear dumpy bottle that from a distance looks like the much more expensive Ch. Miraval from Brad and Angelina, this has delicate wild strawberry fruit and a fresh, dry finish. You can’t fit this bottle in a wine rack, so drink it up before autumn arrives.

Château de Berne Provence Rosé 2018, France, Waitrose, down from £12.49 to £8.49 until 10 September

This looks so elegant in its square-cut, almost perfume-like bottle that everyone will want to try the wine.  Full of soft wild strawberry flavours with just a hint of herbs.

Rosa de Azafran 2018, Vino de la Tierra de Castilla, Spain, Sainsbury £9.50

Made from 100% Tempranillo grapes, this comes in a stylish heavy bottle, glass stoppered and painted with blue flowers.  It is full of raspberry fruit with a firm structure, and will accompany all the usual summer lunch dishes but could also carry through to a barbecue, especially if there is lamb on the grill.

Côtes du Rhône Rosé 2018, Guigal, Roberts and Speight, £14

Guigal make terrific wines and this blend of Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah is packed with crunchy, vibrant, crushed raspberry fruit. It is pale enough to pass muster on the most elegant tables but it has power too.  Team this with chicken kebabs, lamb chops or just a salmon salad.

Whispering Angel 2018, Côtes de Provence, Roberts and Speight £17.99

A firm favourite for summer parties, with the taste of dusky, wild strawberry fruit, this is easy to drink on its own or will combine well with summer foods. If you buy by the dozen the price comes down to just £16.19. Waitrose also has it at £17.99.

Hampton Water Rosé 2018, Languedoc, Gérard Bertrand et Jon Bon Jovi, Hic! Ledston, 01977550047 £18.95

This Hampton is not the one under the Heathrow flight path, but is the upmarket summer residence of New York’s wealthy.  Jon Bon Jovi has teamed up with Languedoc winemaker Gérard Bertrand  to produce this stylish Grenache, Cinsault and Mourvèdre blend.  Delicate in colour, but with a robust mid-palate full of crushed raspberry fruit this is one to accompany any lunch where there are olives on the plate. Delicious and definitely a talking point.

About The Author

Christine Austin

Christine is a wine writer, broadcaster and a wine judge for several international wine competitions. She has a technical background and spent five years as a buyer for a major supermarket before moving to wine writing.She writes for The Yorkshire Post Magazine and organises the York Festival of Food and Drink. She has won both the Lanson and the Roederer prizes for wine writing.

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