Year after year, as spring and summer roll round again, wine drinkers just have to scratch their rosé itch. They can’t help themselves. Luckily the rosé wine category is wide-ranging, with varying styles becoming more accessible, so there’s little chance of getting bored. It is easy to find fresh, fruity, easy-going styles perfect for a picnic, as well as more premium, complex examples that can be enjoyed beyond the perimeter of the swimming pool.
Scroll down for 15 of the best rosé wines under £20
How is rosé wine made?
There are three main methods of making rosé wine: direct pressing, saignée, and blending. With the first option, red grapes are put directly into a press and are crushed gently. The grape skins remain in contact with the juice until the desired level of pink is achieved.
Alternatively, with the saignée method, grapes destined for red wine are crushed and after a short maceration, a proportion of the juice is bled off and made into rosé. The remaining juice and skins will go on to be made into red wine.
Some basic rosés use a small amount of red wine blended into a white wine. However, many appellations do not permit this method, with the exception of rosé Champagne.
Does the colour of rosé matter?
The colour, or shade, of rosé can cause a stir among wine drinkers. Some people fall into the hardly-perceptible-pale-pink camp, and others are happy to seek out darker styles. Often drinkers look for the pale-colored rosés, which are considered the Provence style, because they are perceived to be less sweet than their much-maligned dark pink counterparts.
However, colour is not an indicator of sweetness, and as Pedro Ballesteros points out, nor is it an indicator of quality.
Don’t overlook the darker styles, because with some research a savvy drinker can discover some excellent examples which are bone dry and delicious.
Decanter’s magazine editor Amy Wislocki encourages readers to look beyond Provence to find other exciting styles of rosé, but advises to always look for freshness because that’s what good rosé does best.
In a recent tasting, Decanter’s regional editor James Button discovered the joys of Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo, the deep-hued rosé made from the Montepulciano grape in Abruzzo, Italy, which is an interesting contrast to the fashionable lighter-coloured styles.
The Paride D’Angelo Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo, which is ‘intensely cherry-red in appearance’, made it into this line up with its ‘cherry, raspberry and spice’ flavours punctuated by ‘bright acidity, a full body and a subtle veil of tannin’.
Food-friendly, versatile and vibrant
Darker coloured rosés usually have more tannin and structure than their paler cousins, making it a very gastronomic style of wine. They can be paired with any number of dishes, from vegetable and tomato-based Mediterranean-style sauces, to grilled meats and spice dishes.
Tavel is the Rhône’s sole rosé-only appellation and is renowned for its darker styles of dry rosé. The Château d’Aqueria Tavel makes this list and is a prime example of how this can be a versatile food wine with its ‘lovely vibrancy’ alongside its ‘full- bodied, rich and opulent palate’.
What else made the list?
A selection of other pink picks from France made the line up, with two from the Loire and two from the Languedoc. For those seeking a paler rosé but wanting to branch out from Provence, we’ve got a ‘classy Cabernet Franc rosé from Bourgeuil’, or Domaine Jones’ Me & Monsieur Jones rosé made from Carignan, Syrah and Muscat in the Languedoc.
The list also includes a light coral-tinted rosé from Blackbook winery made with grapes from West Sussex in the UK which, with its ‘gorgeous weight of tangy red fruit’ shows ‘just how great Pinot Meunier can be’.
There’s even a rosé from renowned Château Musar in Lebanon which is ‘like a suave Spanish clarete’, a ‘beautifully poised’ Portuguese rosé from famed Port house Kopke, and a ‘vibrant and moreish’ Nero d’Avola rosé from sunny Sicily.
Compiled by the Decanter editorial team, the recommendations below cover a vast array of styles, meaning you should be able find a rosé for every occasion.