Have a nice day of Beaujolais Nouveau! Today, on the third Thursday in November, just a few weeks after the harvest, the French bring new bottles of the popular vintage to the market with a lot of noise and party.
But now comes an overall paler – and much more surprising – winter drink that is serious competition for connoisseurs of great seasonal red wines.
Happy New Rosé Day, anyone?
Not so long ago, drinking rosé at any time other than summer was considered incorrigibly silly. Provencal pink was the stuff of sunny vacation memories, not dark Blighty evenings.
But you will surely have noticed that the supermarket shelves are as full of the pink stuff as ever. Indeed, recently Sainsbury’s sales rose faster in rosé than red or white. Lidl not only holds its stocks, but brings new roses onto the market in mid-November.
British beverage expert Helen McGinn picks a selection of the best rosés to pair with a wide variety of dishes (file image)
Easy to drink but increasingly refined, rosé has almost completely reinvented itself. As for the wine styles, it’s absolutely made for the cooler months.
The reason? It’s incredibly food-friendly and combines the freshness of white wine with some “grip” thanks to the presence of tannins. To get technical for a moment, tannin is one of the ingredients – a polyphenolic compound to give it the right definition – that makes up a grape. It can be found on the pods, stems, and seeds.
When making red wine, the grape skins are left in contact with the juice so that color and tannins can be extracted. Think of a steamed cup of tea, especially the furry feeling that will remain on the tongue if the tea bag has been left in the cup for too long. This is what tannin feels like.
Most rosé wines are made by briefly exposing the juice to the skins of red grapes to give it color and also to absorb some tannin. Not as much as red wine, of course, but often enough to give the resulting wine a little more flavor and grip.
It is this combination of freshness and texture that rosé goes so well with so many different dishes. Something with a little spice in the dish? Rosé is so often the answer. Tomato-based recipes also go well together, as does turkey.
So which pink wines are worth adding to your cart right now?
Here is a selection of roses that are guaranteed to bloom outside despite the drop in temperature …
Specially Selected Alsatian Pinot Gris Blush 2020, £ 9.99, aldi.de
Helen said that Specially Selected Elsass Pinot Gris Blush 2020 (pictured) is great for spicy dishes
WHAT IS IT? One of many new rosé wines that will hit the shelves at Aldi this fall (the days when new ones only came on the market in summer are over). This bottle is made from one of Alsace’s star grapes. And instead of separating the skin and juice after the grapes were crushed, they were left together just long enough for the naturally pinkish-gray skin to add color to the resulting wine.
Fresh and crunchy with plump red fruit flavors.
BEST WITH: It is ideal for spicy dishes. Try katsu curry. 7/10
Studio By Miraval 2020 150cl, £ 25.99, ocado.com
Helen said Studio By Miraval 2020 150cl (pictured) is full of bright red berries that are best paired with roast duck
WHAT IS IT? With Christmas around the corner, now is the time to oversize your rosé.
This stylish magnum from the producers behind Brad Pitt’s (and formerly Angelina Jolie’s) part-owned Chateau Miraval hits shelves this month and is made from a blend of classic Provence grapes such as Cinsault, Grenache, Rolle and Tibouren.
Part of the mixture is made in tulip-shaped concrete tubs. The oval shape allows the wine to move around, with the suspended yeasts (the name for post-fermentation yeast) giving the wine fantastic structure, texture and taste.
BEST WITH: This is full of bright red berries. Try the roast duck. 10/10
Vinho Verde Rosé found, £ 7, marksandspencer.com
Helen said Found Vinho Verde Rosé (pictured) goes best with salty snacks or halloumi cheese sprinkled with chilli
WHAT IS IT? A wine that is usually available in white, but this northern Portuguese gem has been given a bright pink touch by the Quinta das Arcas family winery. Made from two local grape varieties, Espadeiro and Touriga Nacional, this is a truly incredible rosé with buckets of red currant and a hint of fresh lemon on the palate.
Even a light splash makes it the perfect aperitif.
BEST WITH: Salty snacks or halloumi cheese sprinkled with chilli. 8/10
Leftfield Rosé 2020, £ 10.99, waitrose.com
Helen said Leftfield Rosé 2020 (pictured) is refreshingly different and should be paired with pork chops or a burger
WHAT IS IT? Leftfield is the perfect name for this extraordinary mix from New Zealand’s Hawkes Bay region. Made from a slightly crazy blend of the white Arneis grape (originally from the Piedmont region in northern Italy) together with the red grapes Pinotage and Merlot, this is really not your average pink wine. It is filled with crunchy cranberry and stone fruit flavors.
BEST WITH: It’s heavy enough to handle pork chops and even takes a burger with ease. Refreshingly different. 9/10
Lopez de Haro Rosado 2020, £ 10.99, majestic.co.uk
Helen said Lopez de Haro Rosado 2020 (pictured) was fresh, fruity and firm, best with lamb
WHAT IS IT? Spain produces some of the best – and easiest to drink – rosé (or rosado, as they are called here) wines.
The Rioja region has always been best known for its red wines, especially for its oak-aged wines with their seductive black fruits, spices and leather character. In recent years, however, it has been the rosé wines from Rioja that have caused a stir everywhere and transforms the palate.
This one, made from a blend of old vine red Grenache grapes with the crisp white Viura variety, is just fabulous.
BEST WITH: Fresh, fruity and firm, try it with lamb served pink.8/10
MOTHER TASTE HIT
Bird in Hand Rose 2020, £ 13.99, waitrose.com
Helen suggests serving Bird in Hand Rosé 2020 (pictured) with a chicken and chorizo stew
WHAT IS IT? Created by a top family-owned producer in the Adelaide Hills region of South Australia, this powerful rosé is made (mainly) from the Pinot Noir grape.
A relatively cooler location that goes perfectly with the grape and ensures that it retains its naturally light raspberry and cherry fruit aromas. Aromatic on the nose then take a sip and wham! The juicy berry flavors hit the palate with a hint of citrus fruits and keep everything fresh.
BEST WITH: Serve chilled with a chicken and chorizo stew. 8/10
Chateau Barthès Bandol Rosé 2020, £ 13, coop.co.uk
Helen recommends trying Chateau Barthès Bandol Rosé 2020 (pictured) with a plate full of charcuterie
WHAT IS IT? Bandol is a small sub-region in Provence that is known for its great spicy red wines made from the Mourvedre grape.
But now it is the rather bizarre rosé wines of the region like this one that are gaining cult status among wine connoisseurs. Most fetch much higher prices than this co-op bargain, which is made from a blend of Mourvedre, Cinsault, and Grenache grapes.
BEST WITH: Beautifully made with lots of aromas of ripe red fruits on the palate and lots of freshness. Try it with a plate full of charcuterie. 9/10
Trivento Malbec rosé wine, £ 8, Tesco
Helen said Trivento Malbec rosé wine (pictured) goes best with fried salmon fillets or a spicy bowl of pasta
WHAT IS IT? Argentina’s main character is the Malbec grape, but we’re more used to seeing it as a red wine rather than pink.
Here, however, the skins and juice are left together just long enough to give the wine its color, along with a generous dash of currant and grapefruit flavors.
Grown in vineyards in the eastern foothills of the Andes, in the shadow of Mount Aconcagua, this is a fabulously juicy rosé that can take on quite weighty flavors when it comes to food.
BEST WITH: Fried salmon fillets or a spicy bowl of pasta soaked in tomato sauce.7/10