Far from frivolous, dry rosé wines can be as seductive and intriguing as ripe reds and, considering they’re both made with the same grapes, it’s not surprising the flavours can be as rich and varied as lipstick hues.
Rosé wines are the hardest to make and the lure of these fashionable pinks, which can be subtle or fruit driven and have the freshness to show well under azure skies, makes them the perfect partner to stand alongside blockbuster reds for summer entertaining.
Chile likes to turn its hand to most grapes and Cono Sur Sparkling Rosé 2013, Chile (£8.97, www.direct.asda.com) is a strawberry-scented fizz made from pinot noir (the same grape used to make champagne) and so has ample strength and body with a refreshing raspberry note and appealing, tangy finish.
The picturesque countryside of the Languedoc can produce great value vino with easy drinking appeal, such as this fun cherry pink with a hibiscus on the label. The Society’s Rosé Pays D’Oc, France (£5.95, www.thewinesociety.com) has enough ripe cherry and fruity raspberry flavours to make it a top choice with grilled prawns, chicken Caesar salad and even coronation chicken.
For a relaxed lunch or easy supper, Cillar de Silos Rosado 2014, Ribero del Duero, Spain (£12.45, www.bbr.com) has the strength and character to hold its own with dips and spreads, calamari with garlic mayonnaise and spicy chicken drumsticks. A wonderfully drinkable rosado from the north of Spain, the tempranillo fruit has an inviting nose of red fruits with a hint of fennel which leads to mixed summer berries and a hint of cranberry on the lively, fresh finish. A great aperitif too.
Provençal rosés are cited as the best in the world and to imbibe a Cote d’Azure lifestyle, Petale de Rosé Chateau La Tour de l’Eveque Rosé 2014, AOC Cotes de Provence, France (£15.95, www.corneyandbarrow.com) is a must for ice buckets and white tablecloths. A ballet slipper pink with a delicate bouquet of rose petals and blossom, and an exquisitely silky mouth-feel, it has good weight and structure with a hint of creaminess and good acidity on the refreshing finish.
The jury may still be out on ruby red fizz which can be sweet or dry, but, according to Ocado, it’s all the rage and sales of Tenuta di Aljano Settefilari Lambrusco Reggiano, Italy (£11.49, www.ocado.com) are up 143 per cent compared to the same time last year. A flavoursome frizzante (slightly sparkling), it has the bouquet of a red wine and the blend of lambrusco grapes creates a savoury palate of black cherries and plums with very mild tannins on the soft finish.
Another staple Italian red and real crowd pleaser, Il Faggio, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2013, Italy (£9.99 or VIP price £7.49, www.rudewines.co.uk) is a perfect companion for grilled red meats. Soft, smooth and full bodied with nuances of chocolate to keep it interesting, the ripe blackberry and brambly fruit has delicious depth with lovely aromatics.
Carmenere is Chile’s calling card and Root: 1 Carmenere 2013, Colchagua Valley, Chile (£7.99, Morrisons) shows how this Bordeaux variety has flourished in Chile’s near-perfect growing conditions. Violet and blackberry aromas are complemented by cassis and cherry fruit, with a kick of spice on the lingering finish. Generous and joyful to the last sip, serve with barbecue ribs.