Coming up rosés: properly tasty pink wines to get summer sizzling

Mateus Rosé, Portugal 2022 (£6.75, Waitrose) When, last month, I wrote about how a lot of my favourite wines at the moment are at the point on the spectrum where light reds, orange wines and darker rosés meet, a friend said he had just the wine for me: Mateus Rosé. He was being sarcastic, of course: for generation X wine drinkers and older, this Portuguese stalwart is considered terminally naff, perhaps only worth buying to craft a nostalgic Abigail’s Party-era lampshade. I hadn’t tried it for a while and, if I thought about it at all, I’d have assumed the wine was of a piece with other gaudy throwbacks to the early days of British mass market wine consumption, such as Blue Nun. Was I being fair? I bought a bottle, and what I found surprised me: a spritzy, subtly sweet, but nicely raspberry-tangy brightly pink wine that I’d happily have with a mild curry.

Arbousset Tavel, France 2022 (£12.50, Tesco) My quest to find rosés with more character, flavour and, in most cases, colour, than the ranges of rather ho-hum pale, bland Provence-alikes that have been filling supermarket shelves over the past couple of years has been hotting up. I’ve had some luck in the Rhône Valley just to the north of the Provence wine region, where, deep in red-wine country, the Tavel appellation is devoted to more robust, deeper, darker pink styles, such as this punchy, spicy but refreshing example at Tesco. In a lighter, racier, but still highly flavoursome and compulsively drinkable style, I also very much enjoyed a wine from the absurdly picturesque British-owned Domaine de Mourchon in the (equally picture-postcard-pretty) Rhône village of Séguret. The domaine’s Loubié Rosé 2023 (£14.99, or £13.99 as part of a mixed case of six bottles, Laithwaites) has flavours reminiscent of a summery salad of watermelon, basil and burrata I’d like to drink it with.

Abel Mendoza Risueño Rosado, Spain 2022 (£30.49, The Fine Wine Company) The mania for all things pallid and pastel has reached Spain where, recently, the lawmakers in the Rioja region changed the rules to allow winemakers to bottle wines with lighter hues. But if many producers have since gone pale, there are still plenty of tasty rosados upholding the country’s deeper-coloured, fuller-flavoured traditions. The great Rioja winemaker Abel Mendoza’s Risueño, with its beguilingly mouthfilling mix of ripe strawberry and rosehippy bittersweetness, for example, is a wonderfully complex, genuinely fine wine. Meanwhile, another very pleasant rosé surprise, Atlantis Rosé Madeirense 2023 (£12.25, farehamwinecellar.co.uk), is the first table wine I can remember trying from Madeira. It’s not a deep colour. But, like the island’s famous fortified wines, it is marked by an electric charge of acidity that, on a hot evening, is pretty much irresistible.

Follow David Williams on X @Daveydaibach

The Guardian