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Prime Time for Pink: Summer 2021 Rosé Roundup Part 2

As in part one, there's a cross-section of styles, grape varieties, origins and prices here and I'm going from high to low again, so that the more expensive rosés don't get overlooked (scroll down for the £8.25 Spanish rosado). There are some food suggestions along the way, but there isn't a wine here that couldn't be taken to the table, thanks largely to the more interesting textures we're seeing in so many rosés.

Finally, a reminder that if you want a comprehensive review of this year's releases from the south of France, it's worth buying Elizabeth Gabay's Buyer's Guide to the Rosés of Southern France (€20).

Château d'Esclans Garrus 2019, Côtes de Provence, France

Made from vines that are nearly 100 years old and fermented and aged (for 11 months) in large oak barrels, Garrus evolves beautifully over five or more years in cellar conditions but can be drunk with great pleasure on release. The 2019, pale salmon with a perfume of blossom and white peaches and a suggestion of smokiness and minerals, is delicate at first but then fans out in rich-textured layers of peach, apricot and tangerine with enticing herb and grapefruit bitterness, a backbone of seamless acidity, integrated oak and a subtly salty, mineral finish. Dazzling, and a match for many dishes that you might have paired with red wine, especially Pinot Noir, and complex whites such as Burgundy. 14.5%

Château d'Esclans Les Clans 2019, Côtes de Provence, France

Very pale (paler than the 2019 Garrus) with a delicate floral nose drifting over an opulent, creamy palate of toasted cashew-nut oak, intense, sweet apricot fruit, mineral length and a note of bitterness working in harmony with well-knit acidity. It doesn't have quite the complexity and polish of Garrus, but it's powerful and sleek and can only get better as the oak quietens down. 14.5%

£46.69–£56.20, TheDrinkShop,Winebuyers, Hedonism

Elégance du Clos Cantenac 2020, Bordeaux, France

Less expressive than the 2019 last year, but I tasted that four months later in the year, so the 2020 may catch up. Even if a little more reserved, it's impressive: pale, but not ultra-pale, with spice, mirabelle plum, apricot and a subtle smoky note, satin-silk texture and taut, citrusy acidity. It's entirely Merlot, hand-picked and fermented and aged for 6 months in a concrete egg. There are just 1000 bottles. It went very well with saffron risotto and was nearly as good with homemade pesto. 12.5%

£42, Private Cellar; £84 magnum, Private Cellar, Hedonism

La Fiorita Ninfalia Rosato 2020, Toscana, Italy

The second vintage of this all-Sangiovese rosé from the small (9ha) La Fiorita Brunello di Montalcino estate. The fruit comes from earlier-picked, younger vineyards than are used for the reds and vinification and 7 months' ageing take place in 17.5hl concrete eggs that keep the wine in perpetual motion, giving it textural depth. The nose is blossomy with whiffs of vanilla and almond and the palate moves through redcurrant, apricot, delicate almond nuttiness with an attractive, Sangiovese bitter twist. If I have a mild criticism it's that it doesn't last all that long for a wine of this price. 12.5%

£26.40, Hedonism

MAÏA 2020, Côtes de Provence, France

I fell in love with the first vintage of this last year. The 2020 is a blend of two thirds Cinsault with 20% Grenache, 10% Vermentino and a little Cabernet Sauvignon from ancient vineyards in the hills behind St Tropez. It's made by direct pressing and is aged for 3 months on its lees, regularly stirred, which has given a lovely textural quality and creaminess to the precise, pure, spice-dusted peach and tangerine flavours. Beautifully layered and balanced – in fact, as stylish as its packaging. 12%

Folc English Rosé 2020, England

Light-bodied, pale, pretty and softly fruity with crisp red berry, redcurrant and spice flavours. Eye-catchingly presented debut vintage made at a Canterbury winery from Kent and East Sussex grapes (predominantly the three Champagne varieties with a little each of four German crosses). Wine GB Sustainability Scheme accredited.

AIX 2020, Coteaux d’Aix en Provence, France

Pale powder-pink. Attractive, gentle, sweet red berry, cherry and Mediterranean herb nose, with freshness captured in mineral and citrus notes. Fluent, dry and elegant. 60% Grenache with 20% each of Syrah and Cinsault.

The Palm by Whispering Angel 2020, Coteaux d'Aix en Provence, France

Pale salmon, perfumed, pretty and fruity – roses, peaches, cherries and fresh orange. A supple, approachable, budget version of Whispering Angel without the latter's airy sophistication. 12.5%

£14.99, Waitrose

Mourchon Sousbois 2020, Séguret Côtes du Rhône Villages, France

I've long been a fan of Domaine de Mourchon's Loubié rosé, but this is very different – created more with food in mind. It's intensely aromatic, opulent and structured, with raspberry and strawberry fruit overlaying a streak of bitter cherry, lightly toasty, smoky, spicy oak, a touch of tannin and laser-cut acidity: a rosé with great presence. It's 100% Syrah from 40-year-old vines on steep slopes of grey sandstone and is fermented and aged for 8 months in oak demi-muids (600 litres). It's not available in the UK currently, but only 1800 bottles were produced, so it may not hang around for long when it does arrive. 13%

£13.50, The Wine Society – arriving mid to end October

Lafage Miraflors 2020, Côtes Catalanes, France

A recent Wine of the Week, so the full review, with background details, food pairing suggestions and a list of stockists, is here, but this gives a flavour: Mediterranean herbs, sweet red berries, orange and apricot aromas, silky texture and lightly briny mineral note. 12.5%

£12.99–£13.95, click for stockists

Bonny Doon Vineyards Gris de Cigare Rosé 2020, California

Crunchy, fresh, dry, Grenache-based blend with raspberry and pomegranate sharpness and softening ripe peach. Not the best vintage I've tasted but still good, either on its own or with fish. 13.5%

£9.99 until 24 August, then £12.99, Waitrose

Domaine La Cendrillon Minuit Rosé 2020, Corbières, France

A southern French blend of Mourvèdre (50%), Syrah and Grenache with a structure that works best accompanied by food. Exuberant, fruity nose with peach and red berries, a pinch of spice and a steely blade of grapefruity acidity. A good candidate for picnics, barbecues, lamb or tuna steaks. 13%

£12.50, Tanners

Rosa di Santa Tresa 2020, Terre Siciliane, Italy

A blend of the dark Nero d'Avola grape variety with the paler, strawberry scented Frappato, giving a pale rosé with appetisingly tangy cherry, wild strawberry and raspberry fruit spiced up with a pinch of white pepper and crisp, citrus acidity. Flexible with food, including salmon, shellfish, summer veg, chicken and charcuterie. A shame that the mix-six price has gone up £1.25 since last year, but still eminently recommendable. 12.5%

£10.99, Majestic

Ramon Bilbao Rosado 2020, Rioja, Spain

Pale pink Riojan riposte to Provence, and a perennial favourite. Delicate, dry, red cherry, cranberry and pomegranate flavours, rounded texture, mouthwatering acidity and mineral finish. Grenache-based. 12.5%

£10.95, Great Wine Co

Rui Madeira Beyra Rosé 2020, Beira Interior, Portugal

Pale pink, with a light floral note, crisp, cherry and raspberry fruit, food-friendly texture and savoury, mineral length. Made from Tinta Roriz (aka Tempranillo) grown at high-altitude (700m asl) inland in eastern Portugal. 13%

Viña Zorzal Garnacha Rosado 2020, Navarra, Spain

Pretty, rhubarb-pink Spanish Grenache/Garnacha with juicy strawberry and currant fruit, peppery bite, a soft texture and bright finish. Good value. 13.5%

Photographs by Joanna Simon


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