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Rosé wines for summer 2009

by Tom Cannavan, 07/09

I've gathered the latest crop of pink wines together for a seasonal round-up of some of the most interesting examples on UK shelves.

It's good to see that the ever-expanding rosé category is throwing up plenty of interesting wines, from pink Italian Cabernet Franc, to Douro wines made from indigenous grapes, to classic Provence rosés in the delicate and bone-dry style. July seems to be peak season for discounts on rosé too, so happy hunting.
  

sparkling

Sovio Sparkling White Zinfandel, USA
Before we go any further let's get one thing straight: this is a sweet, carbonated, low-alcohol 'blush' Zinfandel which comes with a plastic screw-top in the approximate form of a Champagne cork and can be yours for £3.33 in Tesco. There would be absolutely nothing clever or daring about me running it into the ground, so instead let's accept that it may well sell by the oil-tanker-full to Lambrini girls and consider what it tastes like. Alcohol is reduced by the 'spinning cone' method to just 5.5% in a wine with a bright crimsony-pink colour and a fairly neutral nose hinting at strawberries and cream. On the palate the gentle effervescence is refreshing, and though the wine doesn't taste of terribly much, there's nothing unpleasant and the finish is close to dry. The current heatwave might just be the perfect platform for a glass or two of this. 79/100. £4.99, Tesco, three for £10 6th - 21st July 2009.

Griffith Park's Sparkling Rosé, Australia
This Champagne method fizz from South Eastern Australia is a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and a dash of Shiraz for colour. It scooped a bronze at this year's International Wine Challenge, which given it was the least expensive wine in its category was quite a coup. It has a peach down and strawberry softness on the nose, with a lively, creamy mousse onto the palate, where a touch of residual sugar flatters the soft, creamy, strawberry and red cherry notes of the fruit. The acidity is balanced into a gentle, easy drinking finish. 86/100. £6.99 at Asda, Morrisons, but £2.00 off in both until mid July 2009.

Bluff Hill Sparkling Rosé, New Zealand
This Chardonnay and Pinot Noir blend comes in a very elegant package and pours the most delicate shade of pink. The nose is fruity and fresh, with summer berry aromas that are quite crisply defined, with just a touch of lemon perhaps. On the palate, the merest hint of sweetness, but a big citrussy core to this wine gives plenty of punch and verve. At its offer price, a real bargain. 87/100. £8.99 at M&S, but £5.99 until 2nd August 2009

still

Kaituna Hills Rosé 2008, New Zealand
There's a soft, strawberry fruited aroma to this Pinot Noir rosé, but then a little grassy, herbal note gives it an edge, and there's a hint of something spicy and truffly too. On the palate it is just off dry, with a certain strawberries and cream character, but then that herbal touch and pithy lemon acidity gives a pleasingly dry and crisp character to the finish. 86/100. £6.99 at M&S, but £4.66 until 2nd August 2009

d:vine Pinot Noir Rosé 2008, Germany
This rosé from the Moselland cooperative's stylish and contemporary "d:vine" label, with the fruit coming from the Pfalz. It has a softly smoky, earthy nose of strawberry fruit. On the palate there's a nice juiciness and plenty of acidity, that despite an off-dry 9g/l of residual sugar, gives the palate a dry, savoury character that is very sippable. 86/100. £5.08, Asda

Vinha da Urze Rosé 2008, Portugal
Made from classic Douro grapes Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca and Tinto Roriz, the colour is a fairly deep, cranberry red, and the fruity, summer berry-scented nose also has a hint of something pleasantly herbal. On the palate, this is a rosé with a fairly serious structure: there's a backbone of tannin here, as well as juicy lemon acidity, though the taut redcurrant and raspberry fruit is clear and concentrated on the mid-palate. Quite a grown-up, dry style. 87/100. £5.99, Marks & Spencer

Terrasota Rosé Rioja 2008, Spain
Mature bush vines of Garnacha and Tempranillo were the source for this wine, which pours with a hint of tawny orange to its pink colour. On the nose a gently earthy, dry redcurrant and cranberry character leads on to a palate with a lovely sweet-fruited poise and balance. There's citrus - lemon and a hint of orange - and freshness too, in an elegant style. Not quite as razor sharp as some, but deliciously drinkable. 87/100. £6.49, Marks & Spencer

M&S Cabernet Franc Rosé 2008, Italy
Intriguing origins for this wine: a rosé made from Cab Franc and grown in the Veneto region of northern Italy. The wine is pale in colour and has a distinctive and delightful nose, with a hint of spearmint and vividly crunchy aromas hinting at elderflower and cherries. On the palate it has that almost Sauvignon Blanc-like crunch and vibrancy, with the leafiness of the variety and keen mineral acidity giving lots of cut and thrust. Rather lovely and unusual stuff this. Well done Markies. 88/100, £6.99, M&S

Château Bauduc Bordeaux Rosé 2008, France
This blend of 50% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc and 25% Cabernet Sauvignon has a dry, cranberry and redcurrant fruitiness, with a little green, leafy character coming through. On the palate there is plenty of sweetness from ripe fruit and perhaps a touch of residual sugar, and quite a full, fruity palate with a dry, substantial finish that fills the mouth and would be good with quite robust, even spicy foods. 87/100. £7.49, www.bauduc.com

La Prendina Estate Rondinella Pinot Grigio Rosé 2008, Italy
From a single estate in Lombardy, this delicately-coloured pink wine has gently herbal aromatics, with raspberry fruit and a touch of something a little smoky. On the palate there is plenty of racy cherry and raspberry fruit and a nicely crisp, mouth-watering acidity. Stylish, dry and food-friendly stuff. 87/100. £7.49, Marks & Spencer

Bonterra Vineyards Organic Rosé 2008, USA
Grapes are not listed on the label for this Mendocino County wine, though in fact it is a blend of many grapes including Sangiovese, Zinfandel and Syrah. The deepest rosé of the bunch, there's a note of cranberry and cherry, a hint of spice and a certain tea-like quality. On the palate it is full of strawberry pulp fruit, underpinned by a citrussy acidity and still showing little herbal and leafy qualities. Layered stuff, and note that if there is still some on the shelves by 9th September, Waitrose will cut the price to £5.99. 87/100. £9.99, Waitrose.

Château de la Galinière Rosé 2008, France
From Provence, a blend of Syrah and Grenache. Pale, salmon pink colour suggests great delicacy. Bright, focused aromas with some pink grapefruit or orange peel, lemon and a raspberry note. Some spices too, even a hint of chocolate in an intriguing profile. Lovely palate, burst with a clean citrus fruitiness, hints of pomegranate and redcurrant, but plenty of lemon rind fatness and bite, sliced through with precise, crisp, mineral acidity and hints of clove and black peppercorns giving layers of interest. Drink with grilled prawns with lots of garlic, any seafood, but also roasted vegetables - aubergine, courgette, red onion. 89/100. £9.99 at Wine Rack but buy 3 at £6.66.

Château Pontet Bagatelle La Rosée de Bagatelle 2008, France
Another Provence Rosé, this one from the Coteaux d'Aix, and a blend of 90% Grenache with 10% Syrah. It has a pale, peachy-pink colour and delightfully fine, delicate aromas suggesting a touch of nettle and some peachy fruit with a just a suggestion of rose-hip. On the palate lovely, dashing acidity drives through the core of this wine, as those dry, curranty, zesty flavours stay crisply defined and deliciously moreish. 88/100, £9.99, Great Northern Wine.

Château Sainte Marguerite Cru Classé Rosé 2008, France
Despite the £10 price, Majestic's buyers tell me they sold 10,000 12-bottle cases of our third Provence wine last summer, and I can see why. It has a fragility and delicacy that few rosés can achieve, with pretty peach blossom and strawberry fruit, and a touch of something mineral. The palate has a little nip of tannin to let you know this is a serious wine, but beautiful fruit and clear, pin-point acidity. 90/100. £9.99, Majestic

J. Vidal-Fleury Côtes du Rhône Rosé 2008, France
Rosé Côtes du Rhône is still relatively rare on the shelves, and this blend of typical Cinsault, Grenache and Mourvèdre pours a deep cherry pink and offers subtle, red wine-like aromas of berry fruit, with strawberry to the fore, and a touch of herby undertone. On the palate it is bone-dry, with a big lemony core of acidity that would cut through mackerel, sardines or other oily fish with aplomb. Quite long and quite stylish. 88/100 £10.99, Hailsham Cellars, General Wine Co, Milford Wine Centre, The Smiling Grape, Handford Wines.

Etienne de Loury Sancerre Rosé 2008, France
This 100% Pinot Noir is very delicate and very pretty, with peach-down and fine red fruit. The palate is focused and refined, with classy length and a blast of herbal character. The highest scoring é of this line-up, but the price is eye-watering. Shouldn't this be £12.99 or so? The mixed dozen price of £14.39 is getting nearer. 91/100. £17.99 at Oddbins.