Good year for the rosés

A glass of rose wine is perfect with lunch in the sun.
A glass of rose wine is perfect with lunch in the sun.
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Rosé wines are back in fashion, but just remember, says Christine Austin, it’s a case of the youngest ones are the best.

Thirst -quenching, full of fruit and definitely back in fashion, rosé wine is the darling of the summer wine shelves, but don’t just grab the first rosé you see. Most rosés are best enjoyed young and fresh while the fruit still tastes like a handful of summer berries, so rattle those bottles to check vintages and buy the youngest on the shelf.

There is a definite scale of quality and style out there so I have done the hard work for you and picked out some of the best rosés I can find. There are several wines from Provence in this list since I am becoming more and more captivated by the gentle fruit and elegant style of these wines, but there are great wines from all around the world as well. Take your pick and set the table for lunch.

Under £5

Winemakers’ Selection Portuguese Rosé NV, Sainsbury’s £4.39

A new take on Portuguese rose, and while this does have a touch of sweetness there is enough crisp acidity to balance it. Team this with a chicken stir fry or any lightly spiced dishes.

Taste the Difference Fairtrade Moscato 2012, South Africa, Sainsbury’s, down from £5.99 to £4.49 until July 2

If you are serving up strawberries 
while you watch Wimbledon this weekend then this is the perfect wine to have in your glass. Frothy, fruity and full of gorgeous summer berry and sunshine-warm grape flavours, this will go down a treat on its own or you can slice the strawberries and float them in the wine. It is definitely sweet but there is enough zippy acidity to balance it out. Low (5.5 per cent) in alcohol so you can drink it all afternoon.

Simply Garnacha Rosé 2012, Aragon, Spain, Tesco, £4.59

This “Simply” range from Tesco does exactly what it says on the label. Fairly delicate in colour it still manages to pack in bags of ripe cherry fruit with a zing of acidity on the finish. It’s straightforward fun and great value for a garden party.

Waitrose Ripe and Juicy Spanish Rosé 2012, Campo de Borja, Spain, £4.99

Another great value, juicy, cherry-fruit packed wine. Big enough flavours to cope with a barbecue, yet cheap enough to pour for a crowd.

Under £8

Marquis de Pennautier Rosé 2009, Cabardès, France, Majestic, £6.99 on multibuy until July 22.

Built in the style of Versailles in the 17th-century, Ch de Pennautier is packed with history, and until recently its wines were rather historic in style too. But things have moved up in quality. Definitely a bargain at this offer price, try this light-textured redcurrant and raspberry style rosé, with a streak of spice which makes it good with fish, salads and Thai-spiced dishes.

Domaine La Chautade 2012, Côteaux Varois en Provence, Majestic, £6.99 on multibuy

This is terrific value for a Provence rosé. Pale in colour, it is a light, dry rosé with crisp watermelon fruit and a juicy palate. Enjoy this mid-afternoon in sunshine.

Monferrato Chiaretto Rosé 2012, Piedmont, Italy, Marks and Spencer, £6.49

This 90 per cent Barbera/10 per cent Pinot Noir blend makes a real change from so many other rosés. Gentle in style with definite strawberry fruit, it has a dusting of herbs and a zingy finish. Drink with charcuterie or grilled sweet peppers.

Laurent Miquel Vendanges Nocturnes Cinsault/Syrah 2012, Pays d’Oc, France, Waitrose, £7.99

Grapes for this wine are picked at night to preserve their fresh flavours and it shows in the strawberry fruit with just a hint of hazelnut. Enough flavour to serve alongside cold roast chicken or an aubergine and goats’ cheese salad.

Under £10

Phaedra Xynomavro Rosé 2012 Florina, Greece, Waitrose, £8.99

Xynomavro is the grape variety, grown in the mountainous region of Macedonia where the cool climate keeps temperatures down and flavours fresh. This is a crisp, dry rosé with wafts of fresh-picked raspberries and just a hint of savoury herbs. Only available in larger stores but well worth a detour.

Côtes de Provence Sainte Victoire 2012, Famille Negrel, Majestic £9.99 down to £8.99 on multibuy until July 22

Full of strawberry freshness and a touch of herbs with a silkiness across the palate that makes Provence rosés so good to drink with food. Quite pale in colour yet full-flavoured, this is dry wine that will accompany a light summer lunch.

Domaine Begude Pinot Rosé 2012, Pays d’Oc, Majestic, £8.99 on multibuy

You only need to buy two bottles of this wine as part of your mixed six-pack of 
wine at Majestic, but why stop at two? This is pure Pinot Noir grown (almost) organically in the hills of Limoux in southern France. Crisp and refreshing with an elegant, delicate style and 
gentle strawberry fruit. Bone dry, it harmonises with food and can be enjoyed as an aperitif, then carried through to lunch – from baked salmon to a cold roast beef salad.

Fleur d’Amelie Rosé 2012, Bordeaux, Marks and Spencer, £9.99

From the well-known Ch de Sours this classic Bordeaux rosé is essentially Merlot with a splash of Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon which give it delicious raspberry fruit and just enough edge of tannin to make it completely food-friendly. A wine for Sunday lunch in the garden.

Muga Rosado 2012 Rioja, Spain, Waitrose, £9.79 
You may be more used to red or 
white Rioja, but the small family firm 
Muga also make a delicious rosé from Garnacha and Tempranillo grapes. 
It has ripe, red apple fruit, underpinned with crisp citrus acidity and rather 
more depth and complexity than many other rosés. Perfect with foods such as tapas, gazpacho and langoustines.