With spring sunshine here, it’s Rosé all day…
By Nicky Rampley-Clarke
From Mykonos to St Tropez, drinking rosé has become synonymous with endless summer days in Europe’s most exclusive destinations, where long lunches are fuelled by only the palest picks from Provence and champagne-spraying is considered positively passé.
Far removed from the dark, fruity depths of Mateus – the original Portuguese variety popular in the 70s served from a (now-iconic) hip flask-inspired bottle – it’s undeniably Whispering Angel that can be credited with our new-found thirst for rosé. As the sexy poster child for premium pinks, and a status symbol that graces any gathering worth going to, it’s hard to fathom how supply keeps up with demand around the world.
Despite its fairly-recent rebrand as a day-drinking staple – a single snap from a social media influencer swirling a glass of the stuff is ‘Gram gold – rosé is one the oldest wines around. Ironic, isn’t it? That’s because its production methods are relatively simple, made from red wine grapes with a reduced time fermenting with the grape skins, while it can be created from any red wine grape in any wine-growing region. This gives it a pinker hue and a lighter flavour than reds.
That’s not to say that all rosé wines are made equal. Those crafted in Provence with their signature pale colour are certainly the most fashionable – and many argue, the most delicious – but getting more to grips with a glass (and really understanding its qualities) has given rise to a new wave of exciting producers and must-try brands.
Here, we’ve done the hard work – well, someone had to – and drank the most delicious rosés out there to compile the ultimate shopping list to steer your summer.
It’s time to clink the pink…
Created in the cellars of Chateau d’Escalans a revered estate in the hills of Provence that set out to create the greatest rosé on the planet – Whispering Angel has become a byword for the pale pinks so beloved of this region.
It’s succeeded, as its dusky colour and dry flavour has become famous, while its evocative name and beautiful bottle add to its cool credentials. While the producer has since brought out other bottles – Rock Angel and The Palm, amongst others – the original remains the best: made from Grenache, Cinasault and Rolle, it’s a shining example of its kind, and still leads the charge in the rosé renaissance.
Buy now £20, Waitrose
Oh, Sacha Lichine, you spoil us! Not content with creating what is the best rosé of recent times in Whispering Angel (above), the producer has now launched The Pale: a deliciously dry rosé that makes all others at this price point, quite frankly, pale in comparison.
With its bottle more akin to a gin or whisky served at a speakeasy, together with artwork inspired by early editions of the New Yorker, it’s hard to miss in a supermarket sweep. Inspired by the fresh sea air of the French Riviera, the wine itself is an aromatic and expressive blend of Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah grapes grown parallel to the Mediterranean coast. It’s these salty, sunny soils that lend the wine its dry yet fruity character. Summer bliss.
Buy now f 13.99, Waitrose