Think pink for those hot summer days

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Times’ Drinks editor James Viner picks his best drinks to enjoy during this heatwave…

A glass of chilled dry rosé is just the thing to sip on hot summer days. Rosé is still on the rise and is currently quite possibly the trendiest wine around, with sales increasing every year. In 2021, we sunk a record £717m! And with each summer, even more exciting roses are produced for all of us to enjoy. We Brits are drinking it more and more, but not as much as the French, where it outsells white wine.

think pink, Time’ drink editor James Vigner selects four superb gourmet bottles (including two beautifully crafted Provençal rosés), plus a handy little can, to enjoy during the scorching days following the recent unprecedented heat wave. Live the summer ! Try these…

1. Affordable Rioja rosado that’s easy and accessible to uncork when you fire up the grill…

Baron Amarillo Rioja Rosado 2021, Spain (£6.79, Aldi, 13%)

This summer Aldi has the best bargain rosés but they are running out fast. Grab a bottle of this refreshing herbal rosado at a great price now! A half-and-half blend of Tempranillo and Garnacha, it’s the kind of pale pink wine everyone will love and you can buy with confidence, store in the fridge knowing it’ll put a smile on everyone’s face and you can taste it at any time. Crispy, (just) dry, easy-drinking and bubbly with flavors of stone fruit, red cherry and citrus, it’s perfect with barbecued meats (especially lamb), tapas or aperitif. For customers downsizing their units, you can cut them down with equal parts sparkling water for a simple thirst-quenching rosé spray. Give it a try if you’re bored with everyday French rosés. In store only.

2. Pale pink, dry, fresh and unoaked Portuguese blend of Tinta Roriz and Touriga Nacional

Quinta do Portal Rosé 2021, Douro, Portugal (£9.50, The Wine Society, 12.5%)

Sorry Port lovers, but the Portuguese Douro also produces exquisite still dry rosés! With aromas of red fruits (think pomegranate and strawberries), this wine opens with a delicious burst of herbs, sour cherries, cassis compote, pomelo and a hint of salinity. The fruit is deftly mastered in a savory package of thrilling length and finesse. Part of the wine’s magic comes from its modest alcohol. Serve with BBQ mackerel/swordfish/tuna/sardines, Greek/chicken/tomato caesar salads, fish and chips and lamb chops. Lovely medium-bodied rose from a fifth-generation Mansilha family winery in the Pinhão River Valley. Portal has a fabulous wine hotel, excellent beers, Moscatel, olive oils and ports. A great addition to the company’s range from astute buyer for Portugal, Joanna Locke MW.

Mark your calendar for a very special version of aged Rioja rosado from The Wine Society!

Connoisseurs of old (in this case more than 12 years old) traditional Rioja rosado should mark their diaries for 12e September and the release by The Wine Society of the remarkable Bodega Hacienda López de Haro Gran Reserva Classica Rosado 2009 aged in barrels. This tasty winey gem from Rioja is one of the most bewitching and singular wines I’ve tasted all year (and one of DWWA’s 2022 Top 50 Wines). Wonderful ripe drink that is extravagantly ready now. £33. Get in quick though! You have the scoop.

3. Starry rosé at the foot of the Sainte-Victoire de Cézanne mountain, about 25 km east of Aix-en-Provence

MIP* Classic Rosé, Made in Provence 2021, Côtes de Provence, France (£13.95, Lea & Sandeman, 12.5%)

France still rules the roost of rosé wine. Such is the popularity of its chic Provençal rosés that prices have risen rapidly of late. Whatever your summer plans, head to the sunny Mediterranean with two of the best examples under £20, starting with ‘MIP* Classic Rosé.’ This silky, medium-bodied, delicately dry, rose petal-hued bestseller from famed London wine merchant and importer Lea & Sandeman is well worth splashing out on. “MIP*” – Made in Provence – is an astute collection of brilliant wines created by Guillaume and Virginie Philip. This bestseller is bursting with notes of wild strawberry, raspberry, citrus, white peach, dried Provençal herbs, pink pepper and white flowers and is perfect – one puff will take you straight to the steep hillsides of the deepest Provence. A fantastic barbecue grill that would also go well with simply served seafood, garlic dishes, vitello tonnato, gazpacho and salads. Try it! A magnum will set you back £31.75. The Premium Rosé (more expensive) is also superb. 60% Cinsault, 20% each Syrah and Grenache. Cheerful, manual stuff.

4. And now, for my second essential, organic Provençal rose, dreamy, chic, pale, to go summer dinners…

Château Léoube, Love by Léoube Bio Côtes de Provence 2021, France (£15, Tesco, 13%)

The scorching weather and the sun are finally back so what better way to take your summer days to the next level than with a glass of unparalleled rosé Vins de Provence? Tesco offers a plethora of top quality Provençal roses, elegantly packaged, to help you organize your barbecues and garden parties. Bring forward my second chic rose from Château Léoube, a beauty of an organic Côtes de Provence rosé, brimming with the aromatic and luminous aromas of the Provençal hillsides of rosemary, crisp red apples, red fruits, lavender, tobacco leaf, cherries and pine. Nestled in a coastal bay about 45 km southwest of Saint-Tropez with vineyards almost touching the sea, this organic estate is owned by the Bamford family (of JCB and Daylesford Organic fame) and they do a great job with the help of a very gifted winemaker. Unoaked, food-friendly and based on a fifty-fifty blend of grenache and cinsault, it’s a genius with everything from niçoise/octopus salads and tomato tarts to ratatouille, roast leg of lamb all fresh off the barbecue, the bouillabaisse and the sushi. A delicious, fleshy, organic and vegan pink winey pearl with a long and mineral finish.

5. An elegant and elegant canned rosé wine from the south of France, to go

Maison Mirabeau Ready-to-Wear Cans Rosé to Go, Mediterranean IGP (approx £3.50, Waitrose & ND John, 12.5%, 250ml)

I am very impressed with this pale, flavorful, silky and pleasant canned rosé, made from a blend of Grenache (50%), Syrah (40%) and Cinsault (10%) grapes from Mediterranean France. Sweet on the palate, with notes of peach, red cherry, grapefruit and lemon. It’s an easily portable, tinned and recyclable option and the perfect treat for backpackers, beach trips, long train rides, poolside and picnics. Health in the summer! Maison Mirabeau also has a rather delicious rosé gin (£35, Waitrose).

Follow James on Twitter @QuixoteWine

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