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Rosé round-up, summer 2011

by Tom Cannavan, 06/11

bottles Each summer I wonder if the UK's new-found love affair with rosé will run out of steam. Well, if the number of rosés being sent to me as samples or appearing in the summer tastings from major UK retailers is anything to go by, the answer is no. All we need now is the recently changeable British weather to play ball, and another bumper summer for pink wine seems to be on the cards.

In this 32-bottle rosé salute to summer I've gathered the latest crop for a seasonal round-up of some of the most interesting examples. July and August always throw up a clutch of promotions and discounts on the pink stuff too, so happy hunting.

sparkling

Coates & Seely, 'Britagne' Brut Rosé NV, England
A blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from the chalk slopes of Hampshire, this new label is a project by Christian Seely, Managing Director of Axa Millésimes and his friend Nicholas Coates, a retired City executive. Soon a blanc de blancs and possibly other cuvées will join the portfolio, but this first release for July 2011 is already causing a stir, not just because of an excellent reception for the quality of the wine, but because the pair have proposed 'Britagne' as a new generic term to describe British sparkling wines, much like the French have 'Champagne'. I have just tasted this wine and thought it was quite beautiful, with a gossamer light construction, pale in colour with scents of rose-hips and strawberry, but a fabulously vibrant palate which teases with sweet fruitiness and its very fine mousse, before ravishing acidity through to the finish. One of the great English sparkling wines in its first release. 92/100. £29.95, Lea & Sandeman.

Champagne Thienot, Brut Rosé NV
An 'assemblage' with 7% red Pinot Noir wine in the blend, this has a delicate, copper-tinged salmon colour and very fine bubbles. For a rosé the nose is nicely biscuity, with soft summer fruit beneath. On the palate this has a charming, lacy lightness to the mousse and flavour, really rather dry and gastronomic, with lovely fruit and a deliciously clean finish. 91/100. Around £35-£40, Bards, Four Walls, Corks Out, Richard Granger, see all UK stockists on wine-searcher

Champagne Louis Barthélémy, Brut Rosé NV
The blend is 70% Chardonnay, 25% Pinot Noir and 5% vin rouge for a wine where three years in bottle has given a nicely toasty, earthy edge to this peachy-pink wine. The fine, crisp mousse is fresh on the palate, and dry red fruits like cranberry and redcurrant abound. Very tasty and easy to drink, though the racy, taut finish shows plenty of class. 90-91/100. £34.99, Premier Vintners, see all stockists on wine-searcher.com

Champagne Moët & Chandon, Brut Imperial Rosé NV
Pinot-dominated, with Pinot Noir and Meunier accounting for around 90% of the blend. Quite a deep coppery-pink, with plenty of streaming, fine bubbles. There's a creaminess and richness on the nose here, a little bit of brioche and sweet earthiness and truffle. On the palate the soft, cushiony mousse delivers delicious, sweet-edged berry fruit across the tongue and into a long, very fresh finish. Lovely. 90-91/100. £36.99, Waitrose, Sainsbury's, Selfridges, see all UK stockists on wine-searcher

Champagne Veuve Clicquot, Rosé NV
Based on the classic 'Yellow Label' blend, with the addition of around 12% red wine. It has a lovely peachy-pink colour and masses of miniscule bubbles. Aromas are lively and fruity, with a keen raspberry edge to the fruit and a little background of herbs and briar. On the palate this has a crisp, lively attack with that very precise, sweet berry fruit and a long, lemony and fresh finish. Another really enjoyable roé Champagne I must say. 91/100. £37.99, Waitrose, Sainsbury's, Selfridges, see all UK stockists on wine-searcher

still wines under £8.00

Cuvée de Richard, Rosé Pays d'Hérlaut 2010, France
The cheapest wine in the line-up this year is a little beauty, made from Cinsault and gently off-dry with 8g/l of residual sugar, but that expresses itself as a fruity, creamy raspberry and strawberry sundae wine that slips down a treat in the sunshine with its pleasing acidity and modest 12.5% alcohol. 85/100. £4.99, Majestic.

Les Crouzes, Old Vines Cinsault Rosé 2009, France
And the second least expensive pink hits the spot too. From the Languedoc's Pays d'Oc, it has a nice pale peach colour and quite refined redcurrant and raspberry fruit. The palate is dry and balanced, with a little creamy weight too. 85/100. £5.19, The Co-operative.

Yali, Wetland Merlot Rosé 2010, Chile
With only 11.5% ABV this is the lightest still rosé in this year's haul, the canopy of the vines in the Colchagua Valley managed to shade the fruit from the fierce Chilean sun. There's a touch of herby tomato-leaf, but plenty of red fruit too. On the palate this is soft and easy, with some residual sugar playing against the slightly green streak of the fruit. 85/100. £6.99, 2 @ £5.59 until end August 2011, Majestic.

Les Jamelles, Cinsault Rosé 2010, France
This is a new wine for the Co-op, that will be in stores from August 2011. With a fairly deep cherry tinge to the colour and 12.5% ABV it has a very inviting creaminess to the soft, pulpy berry fruit on the nose. The palate is flavoursome too, with lots of mouth-filling fruit, nicely balancing acidity and a robust nip of tannin in the finish. Good value. 86/100. £5.99, The Co-operative.

Domain Houchart Provence Rosé, France
This has a lovely herbal and cherry freshness on the nose, with immediately delicate notes hinting at flowers. The palate is fresh as a daisy, but fruity and with a certain mouth-filling creaminess too. £6.95, The Wine Society.

Château Sainte Eulalie, Minervois Rosé 2010
A Cinsault wine from the French south, this has quite a deep cherry colour and attractively floral, rose-hip and raspberry brightness on the nose. On the palate there is considerable sweetness, and whilst it is full and rich, a little more crunch and less sugar would have earned an extra point. 84-85/100. £6.95, The Wine Society.

Tesco Finest, Navarra Rosé 2010, Spain
100% Garnacha (Grenache) with a very deep, light red wine colour. Creamy berry fruit, with a certain earthiness. The palate has fullness and a hint of sweetness, a jammy richness of fruit that is crowd-pleasing. Balanced acidity, but a big, creamy off-dry style. 85-86/100. £6.99, Tesco.

La Chasse, Syrah Rosé 2010, France
This Pays d'Oc Rosé from vineyards between Montpellier and Narbonne has a bold cerise colour and cherry bubblegum aromas. With 13% ABV and bottled in screwcap it is a modern, up-front style, the fruit on the palate being full and ripe, with juicy sweetness and plenty of zip into the finish which shows a touch of spice. 85/100. £6.99, Waitrose.

Caves Saint-Pierre, Côtes-du-Rhône Rosé 2010, France
Medium, purple-pink colour, a blend of Grenache and Syrah with a slightly pear-droppy, cold-ferment character that is a tad anonymous, though a little cherry and raspberry comes through. On the palate this has a fruity personality, with soft strawberry and raspberry notes, and good balancing acidity. 85/100. £6.99, Tesco.

Tesco Finest, Malbec Rosé 2010, Argentina
Made for Tesco by Catena, this 13.5% ABV rosé has a zingy colour and fresh, vibrant nose, the zingy berry fruit tinged with a green streak, some floral notes and plenty of character. The palate is equally bold, full-flavoured and attractively robust, with a bit of tannin and grip giving this foodie appeal: even match with lighter curries and meat dishes. 87/100. £7.49, Tesco.

Marquesa de la Cruz, Garnacha Rosé 2010, Spain
From Campo de Borja in northeast Spain, and made by Scottish winemaker Norrel Robertson. This has a medium and very pretty pomegranate colour, and a small proportion of barrel fermentation adds a touch of creaminess and softness to the strawberry fruit. The palate has a rounding weight of fruit, with a nicely tart raspberry edge and quite a full, textured and mouth-filling finish. 88/100. £7.49,Waitrose.

Château de Font lade, Aurélia Prima Côtes de Provence Rosé 2010, France
A 50/50 blend of Grenache and Syrah, from an estate that has moved to sustainable agriculture with less reliance on synthetic sprays and chemicals. Pale- to medium and softly peachy in colour, it has a clean, fruity nose with a touch of pear-drop, but the fresh summer fruit coming through. On the palate a nicely dry and herby nuance, with a hint of leafy endive, adds nice bite to the soft, fruity flavours. Well-balanced with the lemony acidity, this has a freshness too. 86-87/100. £7.99, Waitrose.

Tesco Finest Côtes de Provence Rosé 2010, France
Lots of boiled sweet, though attractive fruit in this screw-capped wine, with hints of cherry and lemon sherbet. The palate is dry, with racy acidity, though this perhaps lacks the finesse of the finest Provence examples, but drinks very nicely. 87/100. £7.99, Tesco.

still wines over £8.00

Domaine Saint Andrieu, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2010, France
A 12.5% blend of 40% Grenache, 40% Syrah and 20% Rolle (Vermentino), this has a pale salmon colour and softly-strawberry fruited nose with an earthy background note. The palate is fresh and has a lemony clarity, the softer red fruit flavours balancing nicely and the finish clean but easy to drink. 87/100. 8.50€, WineAndCo.com. See all UK stockists on wine-searcher

Señorio de Sarría, Viñedo Nº 5 Rosado 2010, Spain
Another Rosado from Navarra, this Garnacha (Grenache) comes from a vineyard planted in 1953. It has a deep, very crimsony pink colour, and a nicely cherry-fruited nose with a hint of red liquorice. On the palate it is firm and juicy, the pleasing old-vine concentration very natural and nicely grippy, with a long, balanced finish. 88/100. £8.50-£9.00, Bacchanalia, D. Byrne. See all UK stockists on wine-searcher

Les Quatres Tours, 'Signature' Coteaux d'Aix en Provence Rosé 2009, France
A blend of 60% Syrah and Grenache, this 12.5% ABV wine comes from the foothills of the Montagne Saint Victoire. Pale peachy-pink, the aromas are very gentle and delicate, with a touch of rose-hip lift and soft, clean fruitiness. On the palate this has a fresh, pure character, the acidity well balanced and the delicate structure maintained into a nice long finish. 88/100. £8.75, Stone, Vine & Sun. See all UK stockists on wine-searcher

Mas de Cardeline, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2010, France
Grenache and Cinsault combine in this screwcapped Provence Rosé which has a very delicate, pale colour. Gently mealy and herby, it has some currant and raspberry pit fruit on the nose, and leads onto a palate with plenty of acidity and a nicely clean, savoury character. 13% ABV means it has a bit of authority, with racy, dry flavours in the finish. 87/100. £8.99, The Co-operative. See all UK stockists on wine-searcher

Vinalba, Rosé 2010, Argentina
From Lujan de Cuyo in Mendoza, a blend of 60% Malbec with 40% Merlot that has an attractive, quite deep peachy-pink colour. The nose is quite vinous and serious, not giving terribly much, but with a savoury, earthy character. On the palate a sweet fruit profile emerges, with a touch of strawberry and hint of peach, with the acidity cutting in a touch abruptly perhaps, though that does add to its savoury, food-friendly grip. 85-86/100. £8.99, Sainsbury's.

Mirabeau, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2010, France
This screwcapped wine (12.5% ABV) comes from an estate is owned by Englishman Stephen Cronk and made by English flying winemaker Angela Muir. It is a blend of Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah that is aromatically punchier than many Provence examples, the full fruitiness leaping from the glass, and the palate combining lots of cherry-ripe flavour and red apple juiciness with a fine streak of acidity to freshen the finish. 88/100. £8.99, Waitrose. See all UK stockists on wine-searcher

Domaine Saint Andrieu, Coteaux Varois en Provence Rosé 2010, France
From the Var region, a blend of Grenache, Rolle and Syrah with 13% ABV. Very delicate salmon pink, with lovely fruit: cherry and raspberry, with a delicious orange blossom and spice lift. Lovely palate, the clean, dry flavours and watermelon freshness ending with lovely focus and length. 89/100. £9.15, Haynes Hanson & Clark. See all UK stockists on wine-searcher

Château Barbanau, 'L'Instant' Côtes de Provence Rosé 2009, France
From the 2009 vintage, this organically certified Provence rosé has 12.5% ABV and is immediately quite different from many here. Mostly Cinsault, there's a ripeness to the creamy red fruits and a vegetal, almost slightly gamey note too that is layered and intriguing. On the palate plenty of dry, savoury red fruit and a touch of tannin, in a very dry and serious style, with no leavening sugar, but a deliciously chewy and moreish food-friendly appeal. 89/100. £9.50, The Wine Society. See all UK stockists on wine-searcher

Famille Negrel, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2010, France
A delicate, but slightly more solid colour than some from Provence, this wine which weighs in with only 12% ABV has lots of creamy, soft berry fruit On the palate this has a flattering touch of creaminess too, and the gently earthy, cherry and blackberry flavours finish with nice balance and acidity. 88/100. £9.99, buy 2 @ £8.99, Majestic. See all UK stockists on wine-searcher

Bodegas Chivite, Gran Feudo 'Edicion' Rosado 2009, Spain
A Navarra Rosé with a chunky 13.5% alcohol and blended from Tempranillo, Garnacha and Merlot. Quite a bold, but soft ruby-pink colour, this has been aged on its lees which has given quite a mealy, serious aspect with an earthy and tobacco note, even a touch of chocolate. On the palate it has really powerful, bold flavour: much more red wine that rosé in many ways, with plenty of spice and rich red fruit - and is that a hint of barrel? Smoky, rich and serious stuff. 88/100, £10, Wine Studio. See all UK stockists on wine-searcher

Spy Valley, Marlborough Rosé 2010, New Zealand
The best news about this Pinot Noir rosé is that it is in Bibendum's sale, which runs July 19th - August 1st, reduced to £7.71. It has an invitingly pale salmon colour, and an appealing nose with a touch of pomegranate and redcurrant, and a glimpse of earthy Pinot quality. On the palate it has a very nice fruitiness and weight, and a bit of tannin and power (this has 14% ABV), with spices and a certain richness playing against good, tangy orange fruit and acidity. 88/100. £11.83, Bibendum.

Domaine des Diables, 'Rosé BonBon' Côtes de Provence Rosé 2010, France
With a synthetic cork and at only 12.5% ABV, this very pale Provence Rosé has contemporary and playful packaging, and the Syrah, Grenache and Cinsault delivers a dry, grassy and mineral aromatic that is herbaceous and distinctive. On the palate that Sauvignon-like green streak continues, with some sweet berries to round it out, but I feel a slight disjointedness about this wine that just stops it ticking all the boxes for me at its price. 86/100. £11.95, Lea & Sandeman. See all UK stockists on wine-searcher

Château Val Joanis, Luberon Rosé 2010, France
From the Rhône Valley appellation of Luberon, this Syrah and Grenache blend has a fairly deep, vibrant pink colour, 12.5% ABV and is bottled under a synthetic cork. It has bright cherry fruit, a touch of Syrah pepper and a punchy appeal. On the palate it is fruity and dry, with good acidity of lemon and tart cherry playing against ripe fruit. A nice wine, but for the life of me I cannot see the price from UK stockist Corks Out being justified? 87/100. £12.25, Corks Out. See all UK stockists on wine-searcher

Château Léoube, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2010, France
An estate owned by the family behind Daylesford Organic Farm in Gloucestershire, this is not organic but is farmed sustainably paying attention to the lunar calendar. A blend of Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah and Mourvèdre, it comes in a very modern and very smart screen-printed bottle. Pouring a pale coral to orange colour, it has a very refined nose, some background seed and herb notes present as well as creamy summer fruits. On the palate this is a firm, juicy, taut style, with very good acidity and a long, very precise finish that shows fruit and a touch of wild spice. 88-89/100. £13.99, Daylesfordorganics.com. See all UK stockists on wine-searcher