“Ah, you need the weather for it,” Irish people have said about rosé ever since it bounced back into fashion internationally a decade ago. I don’t entirely agree. A pretty pink wine on a summer table casts precisely the warm glow that’s needed to counter slate-grey skies. But last summer we certainly did have the weather for it. Rosés ran out of the shops faster than you could say melting point, winning new converts on their way.
Although the styles available match every shade of pink you might see on an Irish beach in scorching sunshine, very pale is still considered the epitome of cool. This is a pity because, while pale beauties may taste delicious on their own, their delicate flavours can easily be overpowered by food. Rosés with a little more stuffing are superb with a summer meal. Try them with salmon, prawns, tuna, cold meats, mild-to-medium-spicy Asian dishes, even grilled chicken or sausages and you’ll see what I mean.
Provence is home to the ritziest rosés, some of them priced to reflect Hollywood associations. Sacha Lichine’s Whispering Angel and Château Miraval, a joint venture between Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie and the Perrin family of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, cost around €30. For the same money, a Bandol from a top estate like Tempier or Pibarnon would be far more exciting. Combining delicacy with real depth of flavour, Bandol rosés taste magnificent with a surprisingly wide range of foods and are also among the few styles to age respectably.
Luckily, lipsmacking pinks with more inviting price tags are arriving from elsewhere. Buy them young (2018 or 2017 vintage), chill them well and I bet some will become your favourite bottles between now and the end of September. With or without sun.
6 Wines to Try
Graham Beck The Rhona Brut Rosé, Western Cape NV. Now at a much reduced price, this flavoursome South African sparkler based on the champagne grapes Chardonnay and Pinot Noir comes from a winery with a reputation for fine fizz. Perfect for a summer party. Alcohol: 12%. From Marks & Spencer, €15.
S de la Sablette Luberon Rosé 2018. While many inexpensive rosés can be on the sickly side, this fruity Southern Rhône number is pleasantly crisp with a nice, clean bite in the finish. Remarkably good value – and the tall bottle is stylish, too. Alcohol: 13%. From Aldi, €8.49.
Laurent Miquel Solas Syrah Rosé, IGP Pays d’Oc 2018. From Franco-Irish couple Laurent and Neasa Miquel, this stylish Languedoc pink is a terrific buy – subtle and invigorating with admirable purity of flavour. A steal at the price. Enjoy it alone or with light food. Alcohol 12.5%. From Dunnes Stores, €11.50.
Delheim Pinotage Rosé, Coastal Region 2018. Intriguing proof that South Africa’s earthy red grape Pinotage can deliver a rosé of distinction – subtle, fresh and good with food. Alcohol 12.5%. From O’Briens outlets, €13.95; buy two and second bottle is half price. Offer applies to all rosés throughout summer.
Monte dei Roari Bardolino Chiaretto DOC 2017. North-east Italy is turning pinker too. Based on the same grapes as red Bardolino, this organic rosé has enough depth of flavour to be a versatile food friend. Alcohol: 12.5%. From Sheridans Cheesemongers; Green Man Wines, Dublin 6W; siyps.com, about €17.50.
Montrubí Gaintus One Night’s Rosé, Penedès 2017. Serve this to your hippest wino friends. Made from the rare old grape Sumoll and briefly matured in concrete eggs, it has terrific freshness and elegance without wimpishness. Plus a trendy glass stopper … Alcohol 11%. From Whelehans, Loughlinstown & whelehanswines.ie, €21.50.
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