But does it matter? The colour of a wine is more fashion than an indication of flavour and, while I love the pale, hardly-there colour of a Provence rosé, I also like the darker, robust shades of a Spanish Garnacha rosé.
Both wines, and all shades in between, have a place on a lunch table in summer sunshine, but just in case the colour matters to you, I have arranged my best rosé choices starting from deep pink to salmon pink and those shades that require a careful look to make sure they really are pink.
And while we are talking about rosé, I am often asked whether it is acceptable to add ice to a glass of rosé? My natural reaction is no – after all the winemaker has spent his life growing the grapes, picking them and making the wine so that it is perfectly balanced in the glass.
But then I have been as guilty as anyone of adding ice to a glass, particularly on a hot day, in blazing sunshine when even a half glass of wine becomes too warm and loses its appeal. In that case, either throw it away and re-pour, or just add a couple of ice cubes and top up the wine. The clink of ice in the glass is a refreshing sound and the whole point of a glass of wine is that you should enjoy it. If that involves a chunk of ice to keep cool in the sunshine then go with it.
While I focused on pink wines just a few weeks ago, it seems that there is a new rosé wine on the shelves each week, so this is a catch-up selection, from a bargain £6 to £11.99.
Pale and delicate pink
Extra Special Pinot Grigio Rosé 2019, Italy, Asda, £6: So pale it is hardly there, with delicate, ripe pear fruit, tinged with strawberries. Gentle, soft and dry. This is perfect to pour as an aperitif.
Viña Esmeralda 2019, Torres, Catalunya, Spain, Roberts & Speight, £7.99: Made from 100 per cent Garnacha grapes, this is a delicate shade of pink, with a surprising amount of flavour. With the aroma of freshly cut pomegranate and fresh zippy redcurrant acidity, there is enough flavour to stand up to a hearty Mediterranean salad.
Trivento Malbec Rosé 2019, Mendoza, Argentina, Tesco, £8: Malbec grapes have so much colour that the fermenting juice must have had just a few minutes on the skins to achieve such a pale shade of pink. It has soft strawberry fruit backed by pink grapefruit and watermelon freshness.
Albia Rosé 2019, Ricasoli, Toscana, Italy, Roberts & Speight, £10.99: The Barons Ricasoli have been making wine for centuries and have had a hand in shaping the success of the Chianti Classico region. This rosé cannot be called Chianti but it is made from Sangiovese, the local grape, with a splash of Merlot for added depth. It comes in an embossed, rounded, shapely bottle and has a soft, floral nose, with strawberry and blackcurrant fruit aromas. The palate is fresh with summer pudding flavours and a structure that can easily accompany a salmon or creamy pasta lunch.
Prophecy Rosé 2019, Vin de France, Tesco, £9.50: New on the shelves at Tesco, this is a blend of southern French grapes, such as Cinsault, Grenache and Syrah, to produce a wine with the taste of freshly crushed raspberries and a soft, gentle finish. Aperitif style, this will happily partner a whole range of nibbles.
Rosa di Santa Tresa 2019, Sicily, Majestic, £10.99 on a mix-six deal: This comes from a small family-owned estate in the beautiful south-east corner of Sicily. Made from local grapes Nero d’Avola and Frappato grown in red sandy soil over chalky rock, it has raspberry and wild strawberry flavours and a silky texture that makes this wine one of the best of this bunch. Sicily has such a perfect climate, it is not surprising that this wine is organic.
Finest Malbec Rosé 2019, Mendoza, Argentina, Tesco, £8: Malbec again, but this time with attitude. There are ripe red fruits, cherry and raspberry and even a touch of plum, which makes this a wine to team with lamb cooked to just the perfect shade of pink.
Gerard Bertrand Côtes des Roses 2019, Languedoc, France, Majestic, £10.99 on mix-six: Gorgeously packaged in its embossed bottle with a pink glass stopper, this has gentle strawberry and redcurrant fruit with a long, fresh finish.
Cono Sur Bicicleta Pinot Noir Rosé 2019, Chile, Asda, £7.50: I rather like the embossed bottles of the Cono Sur range, since they show a bicycle, which is how the workers get around the vineyards in this highly ecologically aware company. It has operated as “sustainable” for decades and now has 300 hectares of vines under organic management. This was the first winery in the world to achieve carbon-neutral status, and it has several conservation projects on the go. The wine has definite cherry fruit on the nose with flavours and a positive style.
CVNE Rioja Rosado 2019, Spain, Co-op, £8.50: This is a almost a light red Rioja made from 100 per cent Tempranillo grapes, and it has the intensity of flavour, concentration and power that you might expect from that region. But then it just holds back, with freshness and fruit, making this one to enjoy as the sun goes down, alongside a meaty barbecue.
Left Field Rosé 2019, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand, Waitrose Cellar, £11.99: A mix of Merlot, Pinotage and white Arneis has blended together to make this delicious raspberry and cranberry-filled wine. Robust in flavour, with a balanced style.
Santa Digna 2019, Cabernet Sauvignon, Torres, Chile, Hoults, £8.75: This is a wine that really does taste of its grape. With intense cassis flavours and enough freshness to balance the finish, this is a summer barbecue wine.
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