By Rose Murray Brown MW   Published in The Scotsman 28 May 2022


Now it is rose season, it’s time to try out my pick of the latest range of rose wines on the market – which come from a wide range of European countries from Croatia, Hungary, Corsica and beyond:

£8.50 Co-op
Superb value 100% Cabernet Franc rose made in Bordeaux assisted by winemaker David Hohnen (who founded New Zealand’s Cloudy Bay estate) and his daughter Freya.  Upfront red fruit, juicy zesty palate with good acidity.  A clear winner in our tasting for its beautiful balance between freshness and purity of fruit.

Slavonia, Croatia: KUTJEVO ROSE 2020 (12%)
£8.99 currently on offer in mixed case – normal price £12.49 bt /£14.49 in mixed case Laithwaites
Unusual blend of Pinot Noir (60%) & the Austrian Zweigelt grape (40%) grown at 400m amidst Slavonia’s high forests, made by a venerable old winery founded by Cistercian monks in 1232.  Attractive strawberry fruity, rich intense palate with herby undertones.

Chateau d'Esclans The Pale Rose 2020Provence, France: CHATEAU D’ESCLANS THE PALE ROSE 2020 (12.5%) ***STAR BUY***
£9.99/£15.99 Majestic Wine for 2021 vintage; £13.99 Waitrose for 2020 vintage; £10 currently on offer reduced from £14 in Sainsburys
Another popular pale pink with an enticing label depicting New York’s roaring ‘20s.  Made from fruit from lesser-known Var subzone by rose pioneer Sacha Lichine of Whispering Angel fame.  Zippy dry well-balanced & high quality.

Languedoc, France: SOLIS LUMEN ORGANIC ROSE 2021 (12.5%)
£12 Great Wines Direct
Refreshing pale pink with a palate of crunchy red fruits.  This refreshing textural rose is made from Grenache and Cinsualt by the Coste family of Domaine Montrose near Pezenas who have a strong sustainable ethos.  This is made from organically grown grapes and a carbon neutral winery.

Veneto, Italy: BARDOLINO CHIARETTO 2021 (12%) ***STAR BUY***
£9 Marks & Spencer
Surprisingly peppery, herby and characterful Bardolino with a typically Italian bitter twist to the finish.  From Corvina, Molinara and Rondinella grapes grown on glacial hillside soils near Lake Garda.  I am not a fan of the bulbous bottle shape, but the rose is crisp, grippy and dry with a hint of spritz.

Navarra, Spain: SENORIO DE SARRIA ROSADO 2020 (13.5%)
£7.25 The Wine Society for 2021 vintage
One in three roses in Spain come from Navarra.  This is made from Garnacha bushvines grown in Navarra’s smallest Valdizarbe subzone at 500m altitude – an easy drinking rose with ripe raspberry fruit and fresh vibrant palate.

Villany, Hungary: SAUSKA ROSE 2020 (12.5%)
£12 Great Wines Direct; Fine Wine Musselburgh
From Siklos subzone in Villany, in the warm deep south of Hungary near the Croatian border, where owner Krisztian Sauska’s grew up.  Bright fruits, blend of Kekfrankos with Syrah, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon – such a sleek crisp well-made rose with rich raspberry fruits and minerally hints.

Chateau du Seuil Rose 2021 Bordeaux available at Virgin WinesBordeaux, France: CHATEAU DU SEUIL ROSE 2021 (12.5%)  ***STAR VALUE***
£10.99 Virgin Wines
Another winner at the Virgin Wines fair, made by a Welsh family who moved to Bordeaux in late 1980’s to grow vines on Graves’ river gravel terraces south of Bordeaux.  Now assisted by daughter Nicola Allison and her husband Sean, this is pale blush is remarkably good value, clean fruit expression and vibrant acidity.

Ile de Beaute, Corsica: DOMAINE ALZITELLA ROSE 2021 (11.5%)
£10.99/£12.99 Laithwaites
Winemaker Sophie Gangolphe used to be a ballerina.  When she lost her husband, she turned to grape growing with great success.  Her lightweight Grenache, Sciaccarello and Vermentino dry rose blend has beautifully ripe warm fruits with a stylish delicate touch.

Languedoc, France: DOMAINE MONTROSE ROSE ‘1701’ 2021 (13.5%)  ***STAR BUY***
£20 Justerini & Brooks
By far the most serious high quality rose in our tasting, this shone out with its purity of fruit and minerality.  Made from a rare blend of Grenache grown on volcanic soils and Roussanne grown on rocky soils surrounded by garrigue scrubland.  1701 marks the date the current family’s ancestor Joseph Alazard received Montrose’s three lizard coat-of-arms (pictured above).

Rioja, Spain: RAMON BILBAO ROSADO 2021 (12.5%)
£8 Tesco; Co-op
Winemaker Rodolfo Batisda macerates red Garnacha (85%) and white Viura (15%) grapes for two to four hours to give this pale rose a faint delicate hue, enhanced floral notes and light red fruit character.  Batisda is aiming to revive a classic Rioja Alta style of rose wine which was well-known in Haro in the past.

£13.99 Virgin Wines
Elegant Pinot Noir rose made by winemaker Michel Girard who vinifies fruit separately from across Sancerre appellation’s varied terroir of limestone, chalky limestone and flinty soils – then blends the elements together to create an attractive ripe juicy crisp fresh dry aperitif style.

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