Five of the best rosé wines to take on a picnic

<span>Pretty in pink: is there a more picnic-friendly wine than rosé?</span><span>Photograph: knape/Getty Images/iStockphoto</span>
Pretty in pink: is there a more picnic-friendly wine than rosé?Photograph: knape/Getty Images/iStockphoto

So many people drink rosé year-round these days that it’s easy to forget that it was once regarded as faintly embarrassing. Clearly they’re still at that stage in deepest Umbria, where I recently heard a posh rosé described as “a woman’s wine” – and by a cool-looking young Italian in his 20s, not an unreconstructed 60-year-old with a hairy chest and a medallion, which somehow made it worse. The men in our group indignantly replied that they, too, drank rosé, as indeed most men do. The stuff isn’t even self-consciously referred to as “brosé” these days, either.

That said, modern rosé is almost invariably a pale baby pink, usually from Provence, which has cornered the market in the more-of-a-white-wine-than-a-pink sort of style. The best lookalikes, if you like drier rosés, tend to be from France, too, mostly from the southern Rhône and Languedoc, though they’re even drier up in the Loire than they used to be (Morrisons has a Touraine rosé in its The Best range at £8.50, which is not a bad price, but would be even more attractive on a multi-buy deal).

Rosé can be made with any red wine grapes, and occasionally white ones, but cinsault, which you find in most Provence rosé, is key for me. It gives the wine a crisp, refreshing, almost citrussy bite. Other southern French grapes such as grenache, syrah and mourvèdre are widely used, too. Elsewhere, you’ll find rosé made from pinot noir, which generally tends to be slightly sweeter and fruitier; and tempranillo, which, along with the Spanish preference for a more full-bodied style, makes rosado typically more robust and the sort of wine to knock back with a paella.

The new kid on the block rosé-wise is Greece, which is on a roll generally at the moment. I like Aldi’s Athlon assyrtiko rosé (see my pick), which is blended with syrah. It’s no cheaper than French rosés, it has to be said, but it does make for an interesting change. And it’s nicer than the same store’s straight assyrtiko.

The other thing to note, as I’ve mentioned before, is the vintage, not least because most producers have released their 2023s by now. But even these, especially if they’ve been bottled only recently, can taste a bit bubblegummy, so if you’ve bought a case and that happens to you, hang on to unopened bottles for a month or so. The 2022s should still be OK, though cheaper ones may taste a bit flat, and I wouldn’t advise looking to 2021 unless it’s an expensive cuvée.

Five rosés to take on a picnic

Ca’ del Lago Rosato IGT Trevenezie £6.49 Lidl, 12%. Quite a girly-looking bottle, but a pretty fruity, off-dry 2022 to take on a picnic in the park.

Athlon Assyrtiko Syrah Rosé 2023 £9.99 Aldi, 12.5%. Nicer than most pink sauvignon blancs, with another citrussy hit from the assyrtiko. Would be great with a crab sandwich.

Isula Mea Syrah-Sciaccarellu Rosé 2023 £7.49 (on offer down from £9.99) Waitrose, 12.5%. Corsica produces some great rosés – pale and crisp, like Provence ones, but generally cheaper.

Mythral Rosé 2023 £15.99 (or £11.99 on mix six) Majestic, 12.5%. Typically pale, delicate Provence rosé that’s almost more like a white wine. Snap it up at the multi-buy price, because I’m sure it’ll go up.

By.Ott Côtes de Provence Rosé 2022 £19.99 (on offer down from £24.99) De Burghs, £22.45 ND John, 13%. Really elegant “second” wine from one of Provence’s best producers – their flagship wine is about twice as expensive.