Rosé round-up, 26 pink wines assessed

In the course of tasting for my Sunday Express column, and general sampling duties, I have been tasting quite a few rosés of late. It’s a pretty dynamic category whose growth doesn’t seem to be slowing.

One of the questions often asked by rosé fans is why there are so few gold medal rosés and why critic scores seem to be relatively modest when pink wines are concerned.

Does this reflect an innate bias by tasters? Is the wine trade a bit snobby about rosé?

I don’t think so. The wines seem to cluster quite a bit in terms of quality and character. It seems to be easy to make a good, solid generic rosé, and very hard to make rosé as fine wine. I’ve been looking for reasons for this.

One is that because the trend is for ever-lighter-coloured rosé, there’s very little chance to extract flavour from the skins of the grapes. Rosé is mostly made from red varieties, and red wine character comes in large part from compounds and flavour precursors in the skins. Red grapes have been selected for this. So if you pick a red grape early (as you generally do for rosé) at lower ripeness, then there’s less flavour (it’s picked very early) and you are also not getting what this grape was selected for (making red wine).

Here’s a selection of 26 different rosés that I’ve tried with notes and scores.

Lalomba Finca Lalinde Rosé 2020 Rioja, Spain
13% alcohol
Beautifully packaged, with a Vino-Lok glass stopper. Pale in colour, this is delicately spicy with some mandarin and pear notes, as well as a touch of lemon and watermelon. It’s juicy and nicely focused with real harmony and balance. Dry with a stony, savoury mineral streak. So expressive and very fine. 93/100

Cape Coral by Waterkloof Mourvèdre 2020 Stellenbosch, South Africa
13% alcohol
Low-yielding Mourvèdre (5 tons/hectare) pressed very gently whole bunch (juice yield 500 litres/ton). Wild ferment in large format oak. Pale coloured. Fresh, peppery and spicy on the nose, leading to a palate with some cherry and pear fruit, as well as a bit of lemon and some detailed peppery notes. This is really sophisticated with a juicy edge to the finely poised fruit. So expressive and elegant. 92/100

La Fiorita Ninfalia Toscano Rosato 2020 Italy
12.5% alcohol
Pale pink in colour, this is fine and delicate with really beautifully balanced cherry, pear and citrus fruit. Texturally, this is beautiful with fine-grained structure and some mandarin brightness. Very fine and pure, and although it’s primary at the moment, there’s some personality showing through. 92/100

Routas Rosé 2020 Coteaux Varois en Provence, France
13% alcohol
From a large 290 hectare estate. Very pale pink, with delicate flavours of citrus, spice, brown sugar and white peach, with a touch of cherry. Lovely texture and balance in the mouth, with a hint of creaminess. Very stylish. 91/100

Chapoutier Château des Ferrages Roumery Rosé 2019 Côtes de Provence, France
13% alcohol
£15 North and South Wines,
This is very juicy and fruit with bright cherry and redcurrant notes, and a lingering lemony finish. Precise and vital, with good acidity underpinning the vivid fruit. 90/100

Casanova Costa d’Oru 2020 Isle De Beauté, Corsica, France
12% alcohol
£7.50 Co-op
A blend of Sciaccarellu and Niellucciu grapes, local to Corsica. Pale salmon pink in colour. This is really fresh and delicate with subtle cherry, spicy pear and crisp citrus fruit. There’s a fine-grained, almost white-pepper texture and bite that anchors the juicy fruit, and the overall impression is one of delicacy and refinement. Dry, and a real bargain. 90/100

Joseph Mellot Sancerre Rosé Le Rabault 2019 France
13.5% alcohol
£17.20 Fountainhall Wines, Dulwich Vintners
Full pink, this has a nice nose of leafy cherry fruit with a hint of watermelon. It’s fruity with a nice depth, some creamy notes and lively cherries and strawberries. Really nice flavour here: fresh and distinctive but with nice depth. 90/100

Château La Negly La Natice Rosé 2020 Languedoc, France
12.5% alcohol
£12.50 Co-op
This is a blend of Cinsault, Mourvèdre, Grenache and Syrah from clay/limestone soils, and it’s beautifully packaged in a tapered, skittle-style bottle. Pale in colour it has a lovely delicate mandarin, red cherry and pear fruit character, with some fine spiciness on the finish. There’s some fruit sweetness, but also a bit of spice on the finish. A delicate, delicious southern French rosé. 90/100

AIX rosé 2020 Coteaux d’Aix en Provence, France
13% alcohol
Pale coloured. Lively and aromatic on the nose with pear drops, mandarin and lemon. The palate is really fresh, vivid and primary with keen acidity and lemony brightness, as well as a touch of cranberry and cherry. Vivid and appealing. 89/100

Domaine Romy Imperial Rosé 2020 Beaujolais, France
12% alcohol
£11.80 Edencroft, 31 Dover, Vino Wines, Islington Wines
From Les Pierres Dorées. Very pale in colour, this is bright, fruity and tart with juicy, lively citrus fruit with some mandarin and cherry flourishes. Bright, fresh and detailed with nice grapefruit and cranberry notes on the finish. 89/100

Cune Rioja Rosé 2020 Spain
12% alcohol
£10.45 Co-op
Pale pink in colour, with a pretty aroma of cherries and redcurrants, leading to a dry fruity palate with mandarin, cherry and a fresh finish, as well as a touch of strawberry. Stylish in a fruity, dry mould. 89/100

Marius by Michel Chapoutier Rosé 2019 Pays d’Oc, France
12.5% alcohol
£9.80 The Wine Reserve, North & South Wines, Simply Wines Direct
This is fresh and really fruity with generous cherry and pear notes, a touch of strawberry and also a hint of rhubarb. It’s dry, juicy and really drinkable with a real ease to it. 89/100

Kylie Minogue Rosé 2020 Côtes de Provence, France
13% alcohol
Pale in colour, this has lovely texture with smooth strawberry and cherry fruit with some pear and ripe apple notes. There’s a fine spiciness here, with lovely harmony. Notes of liquorice and rhubarb in the background add interest. Very nicely balanced. 89/100

Black Chalk Dancer in Pink Rosé 2020 England
12% alcohol
This is a blend of Pinot Noir, Pinot Precoce (Fruhburgunder) and Pinot Gris. Fresh redcurrant and strawberry on the nose, leading to a vivid, fruity palate showing juicy cherry and redcurrant notes, as well as some mandarin, finishing sweet and lemony. This is exuberant and fruity, and there’s also a slight hint of dairy sitting under the fruit. Very appealing in a forward, fruity style. 88/100

L’Escarpe d’Aix-en-Provence Rosé 2020 France
Textural and fresh with cherries, strawberries and pear with nice balance. It’s smooth and balanced with a lovely softness in the mouth. Lovely fruit here. Very easy. 88/100

Masi Rosa dei Masi 2019 Rosata Trevenezie, Italy
12.5% alcohol
A percentage of these grapes are lightly dried. It’s bright, juicy and fruity with a bit of grip under the pear, strawberry and cherry fruit. This has some pithy bitterness on the finish that adds to the feeling of dryness. A satisfying, gastronomic rosé. 88/100

Katie Jones Rosé 2020 Vin de France
12.5% alcohol
Pink in colour, this attractively packaged rosé has brisk cherry and citrus fruit with good acidity and some notes of watermelon and peach. Juicy and tasty. 88/100

Laurent Miquel Vendanges Nocturnes Classic Rosé 2020 Pays d’Oc, France
12.5% alcohol
£7.50 Co-op
Very pale in colour, this night-harvested rosé is zesty with juicy lemon and pear fruit with some bright mandarin notes and a bit of flesh in the mouth, showing melon and peach richness. A really nice fruity style. 88/100

Morrisons The Best Provence Rosé 2020 France
12% alcohol
£9.25 Morrisons
Pale pink in colour, this is crisp and dry with fresh red cherry and cranberry fruit. Very pure with some nice texture. Primary fruit dominates, and this is really nicely balanced. 88/100

Left Field Rosé 2020 Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand
12.5% alcohol
£10.99 Waitrose, New Zealand House of Wine
Pinotage, Merlot and Arneis. Bright pink in colour, this is textured with some creamy notes as well as subtle cherry fruit. Nice volume and texture here with strawberry, cherry and redcurrant. Seductive and pure with nice sweet fruit. 88/100

Torres Viña Sol Rosado 2020 Spain
12.5% alcohol
£7.99 Waitrose, Ocado
Pale pink in colour. This is bright, juicy and fruity with tangerine, cherry and cranberry notes with some orange peel and dried herbs, leading to a juicy, fruity finish. Very bright with good acidity and freshness. 87/100

Villa Maria Sauvignon Blush 2020 New Zealand
13% alcohol
£12 Asda, Morrisons, Tesco, Sainsbury’s
Sauvignon Blanc with a dash of Merlot for colour. It smells like Sauvignon, with grassy green citrus fruit, some passionfruit, and a touch of cranberry. It’s really lively and juicy in the mouth with a touch of sweetness on the finish. Nice purity. 87/100

Marks & Spencer Found Vinho Verde Rosé 2020 Portugal
11% alcohol
£7 Marks & Spencer
This is from Touriga Nacional and Espadeiro. It’s fresh and spritzy with lively peach and cherry fruit and a touch of citrus, finishing creamy and sweet. Very appealing, with the spritz keeping it fresh. 87/100

Pour Le Vin Bonne Mine Grenache Rosé 2020 France
12.5% alcohol
This is fruity and expressive with juicy cherry and redcurrant fruit as well as a faint hint of rhubarb. Very fruity and clean, quite dry, and with a bit of mandarin on the finish. Nice briskness and fruitiness here. 85/100

Sensi Tua Rosa Toscana Rosato 2019 Tuscany, Italy
12.5% alcohol
£8 Co-op
Fruity and bright with a sour cherry edge to the strawberry fruit, with some herby hints. Some exotic melon notes and a touch of mandarin, as well as a hint of cabbage. Fruity and expressive. 84/100

Bread & Butter Rosé 2020 California
12.5% alcohol
£13.99 Majestic
Bright pink in colour. This is bold and fruity with watermelon and raspberry, some subtle green notes, a persistent pithy spiciness and a touch of sweetness. It’s unusual and a little bit strange. 82/100