Good year for the rosé: The new vintage is hitting the shops now. So pop these Provençal stunners on ice.
Sipping rosé makes summer feel eternal.
It conjures images of outdoor lunches, lavender-fringed coastal pathways, open top cars and David Niven raising his glass with a wink from his yacht.
The good news is that those of use who can’t quite afford moving to Provence for a life of luxury can taste the good life right here at home by picking the perfect bottle of the area’s pink.
Rosé from Provence is pale, delicately scented, gently spicy and pairs brilliantly with dishes laced with southern French herbs, local olive oil and fragrant sweet garlic.
These wines are generally blends from grapes that sprout from the picturesque vineyards such as Cinsault, Syrah, Mourvedre and Grenache.
The Côtes de Provence is a whopping appellation stretching from beyond Marseilles almost as far as Cannes so the choice is pretty wide – and it’s well worth being choosy.
The rosé wines of coastal Bandol are quite serious and, unlike most Provençal pinks, can be aged for a several years to show off their more savoury side.
Palette is another distinctive appellation just to the southeast of lovely Aix-En-Provence and creates characterful wines that I love.
Try Château Simone palette Rosé 2013 (14 per cent) from Yapp if you’re feeling flush; it’s £37 with a compelling texture that grips your palate and tastes like a cranberry with all the lift and muscles of a mighty mountaineer. Perfect as a centrepiece for a treat if you’re dining outdoors.
There are some good examples of classically pale Provencal rosé in supermarkets such as the Co-Op’s Coeur de Cardeline 2013 (12.5 per cent) for £8.99 which although last year’s vintage, is still on song thanks to its screwcap seal.
But generally I’d advise picking the most recent vintage and with the 2014 wines hitting our shelves right now it’s a top moment to grab the latest bottles from reliable producers such as Mirabeau 2014 (13 per cent) in Waitrose for £9.29 (or 25 per cent off until 9th June when you buy 6 bottles or more).
With its darker pinky hue, it’s my top supermarket choice from Provence for this year if you’re planning a picnic. But beyond the supermarkets you can find gleaming stunners such as my star buy from Lea & Sandeman below. If you buy one pink wine this year, Le Petit Diable should be it.