Looking for the perfect rosé? The Times wine critic Jane MacQuitty has found the best ones on the shelves now
Everyone wants a serious pink these days, whether it’s to cheer up a staycation or crack open at a summer party. No longer a vile, jammy, carmine-red monstrosity, rosé has become pale, dry and interesting. It has evolved into a captivating wine that will appeal to even the most discerning white and red drinkers.
Over the past few years, the top producers in Provence, led by Sacha Lichine at Chateau d’Esclans, have been trying to outdo each other with increasingly rarefied and costly blends. Nothing is too much trouble for these new-era rosés, including old vines, direct processing instead of the traditional bleed-off method, squeaky-clean stainless steel, oak fermentation and ageing, plus temperature control throughout.
Few of these Rolls-Royce rosés are worth the price tags of £100 a pop or more, but what the top end has done is up the ante for everyone. Sales of nauseating blush roses, led by Gallo, Blossom Hill and the like, are falling, hence the drop in rosé sales over the past five years, but merchants are reporting big increases in the high-end pinks.
Whatever your taste and budget, the good news is that summer 2015’s pink wine crop is the best I have tasted. So take your pick from my 20 top rosés, including a jolly, Spanish, barbecue-friendly pink for £5.25 from Marks & Spencer, to the finest that Provence, the Loire and Champagne have to offer.