Rosé-tinted glasses: the best pink wines for summer
It's a huge trend in drinks at the moment, so add a rose hue to your table with Victoria's recommendations, from refined rosé to cheap and cheerful fizz.
Henry Ford famously said that his customers could buy a motor car in ‘any colour... so long as it is black’. If Ford were running a supermarket wine and spirits department now, he’d be well advised to change his colour preference to pink. It’s impossible to avoid shades of cherry blossom, raspberry and onion skin, which are turning up in unexpected places.
Majestic has just bought its first-ever pink gin, Terres de Mistral Provence. It’s made in the south of France, the traditional home of pale pink wine, and smells of dried herbs and a light sea breeze.
‘Pink is a huge trend,’ says Tesco’s Charlotte Lemoine. ‘Anything – I mean anything – pink that we put in a bottle just flies: pink wine, pink fizz, pink gin, pink tequila rose strawberry liqueur.’ Wowsers. Apparently that last one is selling like hot cakes, but I might just stick to the wine – there’s plenty to choose from. More and more pink wines have been added to the Tesco range, including Finest 1531 Crémant de Limoux Rosé 2015 (£11), a pale pink sparkling wine made in the foothills of the Pyrenees from chardonnay, chenin blanc and pinot noir.
Needless to say, Tesco is not the only store whose buyers are rushing to find more rosé for us. The craze for pink is everywhere, and when the sun comes out, the desire to drink it intensifies. During April’s mini heatwave, Majestic’s rosé sales went up by 108%, and for the first time ever its bestseller was not Provençal, but Portuguese. Although the thirst for pale rosé from sunny Provence has grown enormously in recent years, so too has its price. Thus, customers are searching for alternatives on the shelves.
If you’re after a pale pink wine to enjoy outdoors on a summer evening, you’ll find better value if you look across to the neighbouring Rhône or Languedoc. I am a huge fan of La Vieille Ferme Rosé 2017 France (£7.49-£7.99, available from the Co-op, Booths and Waitrose), which is made from the same grape varieties used in Provence, but grown in the southern Rhône.
If you’re looking for a cheap and cheerful fizz to pour into beakers and drink at a barbecue, try Tesco’s Cava Rosado Brut NV Spain (£5.55). We’ve all become so obsessed with prosecco that we’ve forgotten about cava, but there’s more flavour in here than in any cheap prosecco you’ll find. It is beautiful to look at – a deep, raspberry shade of pink – and has a fruity, red berry taste. You could try it with a campfire smoky bean brekkie (though not recommended if you’re actually eating them for brekkie!) or to wash down a home hog roast with chilli pig sauce. But it will sit happily with pretty much any meat in a spicy sauce you may choose to throw on the barbecue, so enjoy.
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Victoria Moore is an award-winning wine columnist and author. Her most recent book is The Wine Dine Dictionary (£20, Granta).