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Victoria Moore's pick of the 20 best rosé wines for 2018

pouring rose wine
'Provençal rosé has a complexity, a finesse and a subtle savoury quality, like sandalwood, that you simply can’t find elsewhere' Credit: Haarala Hamilton & Valerie Berry for The Telegraph

Farr Vintners is a stylish sort of a set-up, and not just because if you’re standing in its glass-walled Thames-side offices you get a peachy glow for your evening sundowner. The company is the UK’s leading fine wine broker and it embodies a low-key but diligent sense of expertise.

Why am I telling you about Farr Vintners instead of flouncing on about salade niçoise, the smell of jasmine, yachts in St Tropez harbour and all those other perfect accoutrements to rosé? Because I was curious to hear about Farr’s approach to pale pink wine.

The popularity of rosé from Provence has soared over the past decade. And it’s not just Provençal rosé, or even rosé wine, that is in demand. The craze for rosé has been so intense that it has spilled into spirits: “We can put anything pink in a bottle and it sells,” as one supermarket buyer told me, waving towards bottles of pink from all over France, while referencing pink gin and a horrendous-sounding tequila concoction flavoured with strawberries.

The mood at Farr, perhaps a bit surprisingly in this day and age, was that it was not OK to list pink wine just because they could flog it easily. “I’ve got to admit that I was really reluctant,” director Tom Hudson told me. “I didn’t feel it was right that just because others were, then we should follow.”

'One of the reasons we love rosé is that it makes us think of warm summer evenings – weekend barbecues, the smell of jasmine tumbling over a wall on the Côte d’Azur, bare feet and bare shoulders' Credit: Haarala Hamilton & Valerie Berry for The Telegraph

As you’ve probably guessed, Farr Vintners does now sell rosé. The question is – what sort of rosé is sold by a broker that has a minimum order of £500? And the answer – without wanting to sound like one of those internet baits – may surprise you. Farr lists three still pink wines on its website. One – predictably enough – is from the distinguished and famous Domaines Ott in Provence (the Clos Mireille Coeur de Grain, which would normally retail at about £32.50).

The second is Miraval – an extremely good rosé from Provence that became famous when “Brangelina” bought the chateau and which you can buy on the high street for around £20. The third is called Château Puech-Haut, it costs the equivalent of £11.50 a bottle, apparently Farr sells loads of it, and it’s made in the Languedoc. Please note: not Provence. Not the posh side of the Rhône delta for the guys so amazingly pernickety they didn’t even know if they could bring themselves to sell pink wine in the first place, but the humble Languedoc.

Please think of that when you are hovering over the computer screen this summer, hell-bent on buying rosé from Provence. Make no mistake, I still love good Provençal rosé: it has a complexity, a finesse and a subtle savoury quality, like sandalwood, that you simply can’t find elsewhere. But we’re in a bit of a prosecco/picpoul/New Zealand savvy b situation with rosé from Provence. That is, over the past decade it’s become too popular for its own good.

We’re in a bit of a prosecco/picpoul/New Zealand savvy b situation with rosé from Provence. That is, over the past decade it’s become too popular for its own good.

Prices have skyrocketed, so naturally supermarkets have gone out looking for versions you might actually be prepared to pay for and found lots that are cheap enough but not quite good enough. The situation has been exacerbated by a small 2017 harvest: thanks to a nasty spring frost, Provençal rosé production fell by 11 per cent last year.

It’s not all bad news.

1) There are alternatives. As the quality obsessives at Farr have shown, you can find good (inexpensive) pale rosé outside Provence. Diligent buyers have been hunting it for their customers for some time, so there’s plenty of it about.

2) There are alternatives. As a diehard pale rosé enthusiast I never thought I’d say this but I’ve fallen head over heels for darker, richer rosés. They are seductive. And gorgeous with creamy burrata. And the deeper flavour loves barbecued meat.

3) There are still some good wines from Provence – but pick them carefully.

Blush from Provence has become a seasonal staple, says Victoria Moore – but do explore other shades and wine regions, too Credit: Alamy

I want to give you one more reason to try some different rosé styles. One of the reasons we love rosé is that it makes us think of warm summer evenings in idealised form – weekend barbecues, the smell of jasmine tumbling over a wall on the Côte d’Azur, bare feet and bare shoulders… All of these thoughts transform even a quite ordinary pink wine into a liquid that is almost mystically intoxicating.

Except, after a while, the associations wear out. Try too many times to conjure up a balmy summer twilight when it’s pouring with rain and you’ve had a vile day, and you switch the association. So when the sun is shining, and the air is heavy with an early-summer dusk, start a new one. Pour a glass of luscious, deep-coloured pink wine, sit back and enjoy it.

Before you head over to the wines, one quick housekeeping point: Yapp Brothers has been running a “10 per cent off all French rosés” promotion that it has extended across this weekend (finishing at the end of June 3) especially for Telegraph readers.

Yapp is a serious rosé specialist that sells a magnificent array of pink wines. I’ve included a handful of them here and if you want to mix your own case before the discount ends, I also recommend the rustic redcurrant freshness of the sparkling Aubert Cuvée les Tonnelles NV Vin Mousseux de Qualité (normally £14.75) which is made from gamay and gros lot; and the finesse of Clos Sainte Magdeleine Cassis 2017 (normally £22.50) made from mourvèdre, grenache noir and cinsault.

Best pale pinks under £10

From left: Montgravet Cinsault Rosé 2017; Taste the Difference Fronton Negrette Rosé 2017; Domaine Saint Felix grenache-cinsault rosé 2017

Montgravet Cinsault Rosé 2017 Pays d’Oc, France

(12%, Waitrose, £5.99)

An easy, soft, inoffensive pale rosé, just off-dry, made entirely from cinsault close to Carcassonne.

Taste the Difference Fronton Negrette Rosé 2017, France

(12.5%, Sainsbury’s, £6 down from £7 until June 12)

Fronton is the region – it’s in the Midi-Pyrenees just north of Toulouse. Negrette is the grape – it has a slightly savoury taste and makes rosé that smells of violets and red berries.

Domaine Saint Felix grenache-cinsault rosé 2017, Languedoc-Roussillon, France 


(12.5%, Lea & Sandeman, £7.95/£6.95 case of 12)

Look no further for your everyday rosé: this grenache-cinsault blend is the colour of ballet pumps, with a silky feel and gentle taste of wild strawberries. It’s straightforward and extremely well made.

From left: La Vieille Ferme Rosé 2017; Fleur de Prairie Côtes de Provence Rosé 2017; Pasquiers Grenache Cinsault Rosé 2017

La Vieille Ferme Rosé 2017, France


(12.5%, Co-op, £7.49; Booths, £8.25 or £12 for a magnum, which is also included in the three for two event running until June 12; Waitrose, £7.99)

Ah, the good old “chicken wine”. A brand whose success is well-deserved and one you can rely on for good red and white as well as this highly drinkable pale pink wine, made from cinsault, grenache and syrah.

Fleur de Prairie Côtes de Provence Rosé 2017, France 

(13%, Aldi, £7.29, available from July 9)

Aldi’s cheaper pink has always done it for me before, but this year the squeeze is too great and you need to trade up. In its moulded floral bottle, this one’s a beauty, both to look at and to drink.

Pasquiers Grenache Cinsault Rosé 2017, Pays d’Oc, France


(12%, Noel Young Wines in Cambridge, £7.50; Amps Fine Wines in Oundle, £7.95; John Hattersley Wines in Bakewell, £7.50)

Made in the Languedoc, but it’s a very good copy of a Provençal style – pale, and with a savoury, herbaceous quality and a nip and a tuck on the finish.

Best provence over £10

From left: Made in Provence Classic Rosé 2017; M de Minuty Rosé 2017; Mirabeau Pure Provence Rosé 2017; Rimauresq ‘R’ Cru Classe Rose 2016

Made in Provence Classic Rosé 2017, Côtes de Provence, France

(12.5%, Lea & Sandeman, £11.95/13.95 single bottle/mixed case price)

Virginie Fabre and Guillaume Philip made their first rosé in 2005. It was a huge success and the pair now make an entire range of pale pink wines. This one is my favourite and a better buy than all the competition.

M de Minuty Rosé 2017, Côtes de Provence, France

(13%, Majestic, £11.99/£13.99 mix six/single bottle price)

Made on the St Tropez peninsula, close to the Plage de Pampelonne, Minuty is a holiday classic. It’s what a friend would define as “slippy” wine (meaning it slips down dangerously easily).

Mirabeau Pure Provence Rosé 2017, Côtes de Provence, France


(13%, Waitrose, £13.99)

A pale, salmon-coloured rosé, made in the village of Cotignac in Provence using grenache and syrah. Mirabeau was founded by Stephen Cronk after he was made redundant in 2008. I really like this pink – it’s elegant and herbaceous.

Rimauresq ‘R’ Cru Classe Rose 2016, Côtes de Provence, France


(13.5%, £16, Woodwinters.com and stores in Edinburgh/Inverness/Bridge of Allan)

The best Provençal rosés are delicate and gentle but, like a fine perfume, filled with subtle detail. Rimauresq is one such wine. A beauty.

From left: Château la Canorgue 2017; Château Léoube Rosé de Léoube 2017; Château Miraval Rosé 2017; Domaines Ott Clos Mireille Cru Classé 2017

Château la Canorgue 2017, Luberon, France


(13.5%, Yapp, normally £15.25 but 10 per cent off all French rosés until the end of Sunday 3 June)

The Luberon is where Provence meets the Rhône; a massif with bare limestone cliffs, lavender fields and hilltop villages. This pink smells of wild raspberries and flowering currant leaves. Beautiful.

Château Léoube Rosé de Léoube 2017, Provence, France 


(12.5%, Daylesford £16.99)

This 560-hectare Provençal estate is owned by JCB chairman Lord Bamford and his wife, Daylesford Organic founder, Carole. It takes in two-and-a-half miles of Mediterranean coastline, with 67 hectares of organically farmed vines whose fruit is used to make this delicate wine.

Château Miraval Rosé 2017, Provence, France

(13%, M&S, £19; Sainsbury’s, £16 down from £19 until June 12)

Château Miraval became famous when it was bought by Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie in 2008 but in truth it has always made good wine. Its pale rosé has a powdery feel and smells of wild strawberries. Happy and summery.

Domaines Ott Clos Mireille Cru Classé 2017, Côtes de Provence, France


(14%, Fortnum & Mason, £35; Hedonism £35.80)

Ott is a fabled name in Provence and this pale rosé is spellbinding. Does it really taste different to cheaper versions? Yes. I hadn’t tasted one of Ott’s estate wines for some time – had I been conning myself all these years? No. Dreamy.

Best change of pace pinks

From left: Alovini Le Ralle Rosato 2017; Bee Pink 2017; Domaine Maby La Fermade Lirac 2016

Alovini Le Ralle Rosato 2017, Basilicata, Italy


(The Wine Society, £8.95)

With a deep, rich hue of squashed raspberries, this full-bodied pink is made in southern Italy from aglianico and montepulciano grapes. It blooms in the mouth, sweetly round, all rosehips and cranberry juice.

Bee Pink 2017, Roussillon, France


(12.5%, Domaineofthebee.com, £15 or £12 to club members; villeneuvewines.com)

Domaine of the Bee was set up by former Waitrose head wine buyer Justin Howard-Sneyd. Deep in the south of France, his wines include this delicious strawberry-scented rosé.

Domaine Maby La Fermade Lirac 2016, France


(13.5%, Yapp, £12.15 until Sunday 3 June, then £13.50)

Deep-coloured rosés from the southern Rhône are delicious, with a rich quality that makes me think of tropical rain. This smells like a bowl of ripe raspberries, on an outdoor table close to wild thyme. Try with burrata, barbecued chicken or red meat.

From left: Domaine Teiller Menetou Salon Rosé 2017; Domaine Pieretti Coteaux du Cap Corse 2016; Chivite Las Fincas Rosado 2017

Domaine Teiller Menetou Salon Rosé 2017, France


(13%, Yapp, £13.96 down from £15.95 until Sunday 3 June)

A smooth, bright foodie pink with a tweak of redcurrants, made in the Loire using pinot noir.

Domaine Pieretti Coteaux du Cap Corse 2016, Corsica, France


(12.5%, Yapp, £15.53 down from 17.25 until Sunday 3 June)

A wild rosé, made amid the green hills and little ports on the Cap Corse peninsula. Full of flavour, it smells thickly of red berries, salt and rosemary. The grapes are grenache noir, nielluccio and alicante.

Chivite Las Fincas Rosado 2017 Vino de la Tierra 3 Riberas, Spain


(13.5%, Great Western Wine of Bath, £14.95)

Voted the best rosé in Spain, Las Fincas comes in a curvy bottle reminiscent of those from Provence, and is made in northern Spain from garnacha and tempranillo. A very elegant wine.