If “premium rosé” is an oxymoron, some of the world’s better makers didn’t get the memo. The wine thought by many oenological historians to be the world’s oldest (it goes back to Ancient Greece, when reds were not left to macerate for as long) is now available, in some cases, with delicate enough bouquets and intriguing enough flavour profiles to be deemed a high-end – although you have to look a lot harder than you do with your whites and clarets.
So which pink-hued tipples are worth checking out this summer? We’ve picked out eight you can bring out at a summer soirée without blushing.
Chateau d’Esclans Garrus Rose
The terroir found in the cool hills of Provence, the old-vine Grenache grapes planted in the early part of the 20th century, the ingenuity of Bordeaux-born, California-educated “King of Rosé” Sacha Lichine and his late consulting oenologist Patrick Léon… All are probably factors in what makes this Provence-produced drop a winner.
Powerful but nuanced, and grown on 100-year-old vines, Garrus Rose has been likened to a Burgundy white on the palate thanks to ageing in oak barrels and the lees being stirred twice weekly.
£100, BUY NOW
Château Galoupet Cru Classé 2021
“Sustainable from ground to glass,” according to the maker, Cru Classé 2021 offers a chorus of white fruit, citrus fruits and bitter almonds as well as delicate floral aromas.
Tibouren – a red French wine grape variety typically grown in Provence – is among the contributors to a taste profile that also sees minerality and creaminess make acquaintances on the palate, before giving way to a fine saline finish.
Around £50, BUY NOW
Rose Delle Casasse 2016
Emanating from a tiny parcel of land in Neive, which was first planted in 1913 with the Rose clone of Nebbiolo (famous for aromatic forcefulness), the 2016 vintage is available from September 2022.
If the 2015 vintage pictured here is anything to go by, expect surprising depth and substance for a rose, with notes of sweet red cherry, blood orange, mint, rose petal and kirsch.
£POA, available from September from Ultravino
Domaine Ott ‘Etoile’ Vin de France 2021
Available since late June, the story of this complex and elegant-on-the-nose wine begins in 1896, and a young agricultural engineer from Alsace, Marcel Ott, settling in Provence and embarking on a mission to make a vineyard infested with phylloxera a functioning producer of fine wines.
Fresh and smooth with a fruity finesse, this fantastic wine suggests begs for a toast to the success of his mission.
£111, BUY NOW
Muse de Miraval Cotes de Provence Rose 2019
Thomas Aquinas, the Prince of Naples and Jacques Loussier are among the notables to have holed up behind the salmon-pink walls of Château Miraval, Provence. It’s also hosted a plethora of dad-rock legends (Pink Floyd’s The Wall was recorded here).
And talking of artistry behind salmon-pink appearances: this rose – from an estate which was purchased by Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt in 2008 – is exquisitely textured, with intense notes of strawberries, citrus fruit and white pepper, all laced with a tinge of acidity.
£260, BUY NOW
Heidi Barrett Napa La Sirena 2021
Made from Primitivo grapes sourced from Amador county in the California foothills, this one offers fresh, fruity aromas of strawberries, flowers and cantaloupe on the nose and offers a clean, fresh balance on the palate matching up to those aromatics.
Babylonstoren Mourvèdre Rosé 2022
It’s the most modestly-priced drop on the list here, but this wine from a Cape Dutch working farm, winery and hotel in the Franschhoek wine valley proved a major hit as the official rosé of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show earlier this year.
The result of a late harvest after a cool South African summer, plus a unique method whereby grape skins are kept on very briefly, its pale orange and pink-tinted hue (reminiscent of a South African sunset, claim the makers) hints at the subtle notes of rose petals and ripe berries within.
Around £20, BUY NOW
Clos du Temple Languedoc Cabrières Rosé
Since retiring from his rugby career, ‘biodynamic’ winemaker and recent recipient of Green Personality Of The Year by the Drinks Business Awards Gérard Bertrand – also author of Nature at Heart: For A Better World – tends 80-year-old vines over an eight-hectare, family-owned spot.
Here, his tendency to obsess over fermentation vessels and oak ageing time-frames has produced a wine with hints of wild strawberry, stone fruit, melon and minerals. Expect a peach and pink grapefruit follow-up on the palate and a touch of salinity on the finish.
Around £175, BUY NOW