In this wonderful heat, no wine says summer like a crisp, cold rosé.
There is so much to love about rosé. The negative image it seems to have attracted is entirely unjustified. Sure, there are plenty of bad examples on the market, all sickly sweet and lacking in flavour and complexity, but that can be said of all wines.
Truly good rosé is a grown-up wine that should bring as much satisfaction to your senses as any other. It will be dry or off-dry and have aromas of strawberries and fruits. Some will be a very pale pink, as is the case for many originating from Provence in France, but they can also be a very dark pink or red colour. This does not affect the wine’s sweetness, however. A dark rosé can be as dry as a pale one.
The classic home of rosé is Provence and some of the most elegant examples come from there, but great examples are made all over the world.
Esprit de Buganay Rosé 2010, Cotes de Provence, South of France (£9.20, Waitrose Wine Direct)
This is a beautiful, pale rosé with plenty of flavour. A mix of cinsault, syrah and grenache, it is restrained, nowhere near sweet in flavour and the perfect drink for a hot day in the garden.
Château de Caraguilhes Rosé 2010 Corbières, South of France (£9.49, Waitrose Wine Direct)
An organic wine that is a blend of syrah and grenache (the grenache grape is the typical rosé ingredient in the South of France), this has strawberry flavours and is clean and crisp. You can drink it on its own or with food, perhaps paella or chicken, maybe even seafood. This is a full-flavoured, medium-dry wine that is likely to impress.
Chapel Down English Rose 2010 Kent, England (£9.11 until 29 May, Waitrose Wine Direct)
With all this jubilee talk, why not give an English rosé a try? This is loaded with strawberries on the nose and red fruits on the palate. Refreshing and dry, it is likely to go well with pastas that use tomato sauces.
Torres Viña Sol Rosé 2011, Catalunya, Spain (£6.99, Majestic)
Spain is another source of great rosé for a nice price without it being sweet and cloying. This example, which is also available at Waitrose and Asda, has strawberries and cream on the nose and a nice fresh, dry finish. You can drink it as an aperitif in the sun or with pastas and seafood.