Try rosé in winter it’ll grow on you

Do you tend to stop drinking white wine (or a particular style of white wine) at this time of year? Sauvignon blanc, say, on the grounds that it’s too summery? My hunch is not, and if we drink white wine year round because we enjoy it, why on earth not rosé, too?

Turns out, in fact, that we do: supermarkets report that these days rosé sales hold up throughout the autumn and winter, and indeed why shouldn’t they? If rosé goes with tapas or Thai green curry, there’s no reason not to bring it on at any time of year.

Part of the perception that rosé is predominantly a swimming pool wine is because it is mainly associated with the pale, baby-pink style popularised by Provence. And despite the best efforts of retailers to introduce other styles to their range, that’s still what most people are looking for in a rosé. When I did a tasting at the Dartmouth food festival a couple of weeks ago, the Maia Côtes de Provence Rosé 2020 (£18.95 Red & White, 12%) was among the wines the audience liked the best, another being the similarly pale Château Bauduc Bordeaux Rosé in today’s picks.

But good rosé comes from other countries than France, including Spain, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and even the UK nowadays. In my view, the deeper-coloured styles such as the Muga rosado and the Tavel below (OK, the latter is also French, albeit from the Rhône) are particularly good at this time of year, capable of standing up to quite substantial and even spicy dishes. If you can wean yourself off the paler style, even temporarily, you’ll find rosé a versatile and enjoyable food match.

Sparkling rosé has also given a shot in the arm to the category, as pink prosecco, which was authorised last year, has proved (until then, for some unfathomable reason, it could be referred to only as a rosé spumante). I prefer what South Africa has to offer on this front: Graham Beck, whose brut rosé is currently £11.99 on Majestic’s mix-six deal, and Boschendal, which I wrote about a few months ago, both make really attractive, affordable fizz. And if you want a bit of fun, try a pet nat (AKA pétillant naturel), a joyously frivolous, semi-sparkling wine that in the case of Camillo Donati’s Ribelle Rosato 2019 (£18.85 Les Caves de Pyrène, 13%) tastes like a fresh cherry soda. I don’t know about you, but that really hits the spot for me right now.

Five rosés to enjoy in winter

Château Bauduc Rosé 2020 £12.50 from, 12%. Bordeaux produces rosés, too, and from the same grape varieties as the reds. This one is as prettily pale as Provençal rosé, but fruitier – try it with Thai green curry.

Muga Rosado 2020 £9.50 The Wine Society (Majestic has the 2019 for £10.99 on the mix-six deal), 13.5%. A more full-bodied, savoury style of rosé that can handle hearty food such as pork and beans or a paella.

Bird In Hand Pinot Noir Rosé 2020 £10.50 Sainsbury’s, £13.99 Waitrose, £14 Booths, 12%. If you like Provence rosé, you’ll love this stylish Aussie number made from pinot noir.

Mirabeau Pure Provence Rosé 2020 £29.99 on Majestic’s mix-six deal, £31 Waitrose Cellar, 12.5%. Rosé in magnum automatically feels festive, and perfect for Christmas parties.

Domaine Maby Tavel Cuvée Prima Donna Rosé 2020 £12.50 The Wine Society (Yapp Brothers also stock a tavel from Domaine Maby called La Forcadière for £14.50), 14%. More like a light red, this full-bodied, dark, deliciously fruity rosé should tick your boxes if you’re a beaujolais fan. Tavel is an appellation that produces only rosé, so it’s really quite special. Perfect for the Boxing Day leftovers.