Six rosé wines for summer 2018 (and the day I was a winetasting noggin)

rosé wines summer 2018

Sometimes I can be such a noggin. I tapped in and out, then in and out, of Twitter to follow a live winetasting organised by the Wine Society and I hunted in vain. Those wine tasting vibes were taking place elsewhere in the ether, on the society’s website community pages. There, people were chatting about two wines with a barbecue theme.

So it was that I was Billy No Mates tasting wine on my own, unaware the communal fun was happening elsewhere.

One of the two wine choices was a pink – spot on for this theme of rosé wines. If I can’t tempt you with some garden-gorgeous pinks in the middle of June, then when can I tempt you?

rosé wines for summer 2018

The rosé wine taste-tested in the digital world was Rosé Duo des Plages 2017 (£6.75, The Wine Society, 12% abv) of which one keen taster said “the strawberries and melon on the nose shape-shift into something more creamy and peachy in the mouth, surprisingly rounded on the finish”. What a perfect description! I’ll simply add that I picked up nectarines and a slice of lemon on the nose, with a dry, fruity finish and a good watering of acidity.

Here’s a selection of rosé wines to look out for:

La Vieille Ferme Rosé (£7.49, The Co-op, 12.5%) is prettily peachy and pink perfection. This rosé  is a pale blush colour and hails from the southern Rhone, with the grapes grenache, syrah and cinsault all playing their part in creating a fresh, enjoyable wine with a hint of redcurrants.

Casillero del Diablo Rosé 2017 (£8,50, Tesco, Asda, 13% abv) You’ll probably be familiar with this brand but this is a new light style of rosé wine from the Chilean team. The blend is mainly syrah, with cinsault and carmenere, and the style is dry and elegant, with red fruits and a peppery edge.

La Terrasse Rosé Pays D’Oc (£10, Sainsbury, 13% abv) I love the classy glass stopper on this southern French pink, which is another blend of three grapes: Grenache, syrah and cinsault. The very best of the grape juices create the wine which then sits on its lees for 40 days. It is deliciously fresh, crisp and vibrant with red fruits and a flash of citrus.

If sparkling rosé wines are your thing (ooo, yes please) then look out for Mirabeau en Provence La Folie Rosé (reduced to £10.49 from £13.99 at Waitrose until August 7) which has gentle and refreshing notes of strawberry, raspberry and blackcurrant.

If you want a day away from alcohol (or maybe you’re a nominated driver)  then McGuigan Wines has created a dealcoholised pink wine McGuigan Delight Rosé (RRP £5, Marks & Spencer) which is pleasantly perfumed, has sweet notes of forest fruits and is ever so lightly spritzy.

Also in my glass …

It’s only fair to mention the second barbecue wine which appeared on the Wine Society’s live winetasting: Nero d’Avola La Ferla, Sicilia 2016 (£6.95, 13.5% abv).  One keen taster described it as having notes of “cherry cola” and another praised its  “black cherries, plum and liquorice”. I’d say it is ripe with black fruits, spice and blackcurrant jam. I bet it would be brilliant with a burnt, barbecued chipolata.Nero d'Avola La Ferla The Wine Society

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Discover joy of some of the best Abruzzo wines from Italy and you won’t regret it

Abruzzo wines One Foot in the Grapes

The other day I was doing what I love best, randomly browsing a wine aisle creating a mid-aisle trolley hazard, when I spotted Morrisons The Best Pecorino and went a bit light-headed.

I was drawn to it because a) it is from the Abruzzo region in Italy which I’ve just visited b) it has a picture of a sheep on the label c) it isn’t pinot grigio.

There is complete logic in my ABC so let me explain.

I bet many of you (hello? I hope there’s more than one of you out there) will have tasted the Italian reds labelled Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. I’ve found they can be hit and miss; but on speaking to the producers in their wineries I discovered that Abruzzo wines bottled outside the region can have little essence and personality due to the bulk processes involved.

To taste the wines which are bottled in situ was fantastic, some were divine. My eyes were opened sipping these reds in the region in which they’re born.

Abruzzo wines review
A simple plate of bread, olive oil, and a white wine from Abruzzo is delicious

Another eye-opener was the white wine. Italian whites can be oh-so so-so but Abruzzo’s pecorino, passerina and trebbiano are fresh, zingy, often tropical, often citrussy, sometimes complex.

Morrisons Best Pecorino abruzzo wines label

Back to my ABC and Morrisons The Best Pecorino (I’d paid £8, prices may vary, 13% abv). I was giddy at the sheep label  on Morrisons’ bottle because in Abruzzo a winemaker had told me the grape is so-called because as sheep (pecoro) are herded over the hillsides they eat the grapes. I’d also been seeking a white wine to encourage friends to try new white wines, instead of always drinking pinot grigio. I thought this pecorino could be a winner. 

Then, success.  “I love it,” one friend said, as the pecorino’s peachy and zesty notes won her heart. Oh – and as an aside, this wine has won a silver trophy at the International Wine Challenge.

Thank you Abruzzo for one lady converted to my “don’t just drink pinot grigio” cause.

Here’s four more Abruzzo wines you can seek out

Contesa Pecorino 2016 (£9.75,, 12.5% abv) A white wine with inviting aromas of summer flowers – freesias maybe – with lemons and a dash of dried honey with a  lively acidity and citrus flavours. There’ll still be some summer left, somewhere in the world, and it’s a perfect sunshine wine.

Abruzzo Cococciola Frentana 2016 (£11, Bat and Bottle –, 12.5% abv) Cococciola is a grape new to me, though I’ll be seeking it out again. Lime and lemons are a zesty tease on the nose, together with spring flowers on a breeze. The citrus flavours are refreshing, the acidity not too demanding a sensation. It’s a wine nicely in balance and calling out for a seafood platter.


Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2015 Masciarelli (£11.99, or £9.99 in a mix six deal at Majestic, 13% abv) Pepper and spice and all plummy things nice. I love this wine, with its aroma notes of dry wood, cherries,  damsons and black pepper. In the mouth black fruit and cherry are centre stage, the tannins aren’t overpowering and the acidity isn’t too racy. I’ll have a steak please.

Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Vigna Corvino, 2015 (£7.95,, 12.5% abv)  The nose speaks freshly-picked hedgerow fruits, ripe and juicy, and a dalliance with spice. The acidity is medium and the tannins are drying but not too much. The fruit is young, fresh and pleasing. A lovely glass to drink with friends as you wait for the pizza to cook.

The four wines I tasted were among the Top 50 Abruzzo wines selected by Masters of Wine Sam Caporn and Peter McCombie, together with Naked Wines Buying Director Ray O’Connor and sommelier expert Matt Day.

To discover more about Abruzzo wines you can follow the #abruzzowines hashtag on Twitter or Instagram – or visit the website


Liverpool Echo – South Wales Echo – Daily Post Wales – Huddersfield Examiner – The Chronicle, Newcastle – Teesside Evening Gazette – Birmingham  Mail – Coventry Telegraph – Paisley Daily Express