The popularity of rosé shows no sign of abating, with sales soaring alongside the temperatures. It seems wine drinkers can’t get enough, and like to share their rosé experience too – there are more than 4.5 million Instagram snaps tagged #rosé.
So what makes the perfect rosé? Firstly, don’t get too hung up on the colour. It’s a fallacy that pale equals better. Yes, most Provence rosé is a paler shade of pink, but that shade is certainly no guarantee of quality – or character.
Which brings us neatly on to the next point. While we may not demand complexity from a wine that we’ll likely be enjoying in the sunshine, we should demand character. Some rosés are just too neutral for their own good. A weight of juicy fruit balanced by crisp acidity: that’s the secret of many a successful rosé.
Freshness is key in any style of rosé, whether it’s meant to be lean and elegant or more robust. If a rosé wine isn’t refreshing, it has lost its raison d’être. For this reason, it’s a good rule of thumb to seek out the youngest vintage possible. The round-up below includes a wine from 2016 which displays great complexity and retains freshness – it’s probably the exception rather than the rule, however.
Most rosés go nowhere near a barrel, vinified in stainless steel to maximise clean, fresh flavours. But you do find the occasional rosé that has spent some time in large, old oak barrels – it can add texture and complexity, and can make for a more gastronomic style. Perfect as an aperitif, rosé in general can also be a great food match – including for tapas, charcuterie, Asian dishes, fish and chicken dishes.
Provence still holds sway in the rosé kingdom, with wines made principally from Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah. Typically you’ll find notes of red berry fruit, (grapefruit) citrus and white flowers in these wines, and a crisp elegance. But take off your Provence rosé blinkers and there’s a world of other exciting rosé waiting to be discovered. Pinot Noir from England, Malbec from Argentina, Sangiovese from Tuscany. And more. We’ve listed 20 rosés below to help you explore.
Look out for the Provence rosé panel tasting in the August issue of Decanter, on sale 1 July.