Rose-Tinted Glasses – There’s something rather special about rosé wine. I recall that old Vinho Verde advert years ago that said ‘One swallow makes a summer’. Well, the same goes for rosé as far as I’m concerned. Just add a glass to your Friday lunch and, hey presto, it’s a summer weekend! Well, you’ll be pleased to hear, that in the interests of research for this column you understand, I’ve been checking out some rosés for you.
Let’s kick off with Aldi’s range. Even if there isn’t a branch near to you, it’s worth remembering that luckily (unlike Lidl) Aldi offers home delivery for many products including wines. Aldi has an excellent range – 13 varieties no less and starting at under a fiver – of rosé wines on its website at the moment. We tried an Argentinian Malbec Rosé (£6.49), a South African (£6.99) and a Greek (£6.99).
The Malbec was fabulous: packed with flavours of strawberries, cherry and white fruits. It was well rounded and was great on its own, but equally good with food. The Roodeberg was fresh and crisp with good colour. Again, bursts of fruit but with a hint of spice too. It had a good finish and again, superb value for money. I think our favourite, though, of the Aldi ones was the Greek Nautilus rosé. One doesn’t generally associate Greece with rosés, but this was a fine example. Made from Grenache, Syrah and Agiorgitiko grapes, it was delicately pale and beautifully balanced, with hints of flowers, peach and citrus. We loved the minerality and its elegant finish – it took us straight back to our many holidays to Greece in our imagination. (Which reminds me, I must order some more online before it sells out!)
And, of course, everyone associates rosé wines with Provence – which isn’t surprising as the wines are fabulous, and the marketing has always been very slick. We decided to try the Réserve des Templiers, Commanderie de Peyrassol from Majestic, which at £13.99 was more expensive, but a refreshing, fruity, citrus and wine with mineral notes. It was extremely well balanced and light, one could happily quaff a great deal on a nice summer day!
Last, but by no means least, was the Rosie D from Doran Vineyards. This South African Grenache Noir captures the spirit of summer perfectly, with a splash of soft fruits – strawberries and raspberries – and a background note of delicate candyfloss. Around £11 a bottle, it’s available from Ricardo’s Cellar, Premier Wines, online and other good independents.
And still looking at rose-tinted glasses, I’ve discovered a stonkingly good alternative to Aperol. While I quite enjoy an Aperol spritz, I tend to prefer Campari, as it’s less sweet. Now there’s a new one to consider: Pampelle. Available in Waitrose at £20 a bottle (70cl) this is an artisanal, versatile liqueur that perfectly captures the bittersweetness of ruby red grapefruit from Corsica. It is 30 per cent lower in sugar than other leading aperitifs – which is probably why I like it so much. It’s very much my ‘go-to’ choice at the moment when I fancy a pink spritz… before embarking on the rosé!