Looking for a perfect pool partner? When the unseasonably warm weather calls for a refreshing, fruity, and elegant drink, one can do no better than a glass of chilled rosé wine.
While France is known for its almost crystal-clear, pale pink hued rosé wines from Provence, the country’s varied wine regions offer a kaleidoscopic range of blush for all palates. Here’s a rundown of the offerings from five regions so you can find your ideal summer drink.
Set along the Mediterranean coast, Provence is synonymous with rosé and since the 1990s has firmly established its signature style of rosé wine—pale pink wines that are dry, mineral, and delicately fruity.
The region gets lots of sunshine and not too much rain, making for warm days and cool evenings— a fantastic climate for grape growing. Generally, rosé from Provence is made from grapes such as Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah, Carignan and Mourvedre. Most are blends, with at least 10% of the wine composed of a second grape variety, giving it layers of flavour complexity.
Within Provence itself, appellations each yield distinct rosés. Of note, Cotes de Provence is the largest Appellation de’Origin Controlee (AOC), accounting for 75% of Provence’s wine production. And from this, 89% is rosé, crisp pink wines full of fruit and white flowers, with a touch of pepper.
Second in size, Coteaux d’Aix en Provence’s rosé is usually a blend of the aforementioned grapes plus Counoise and Cabernet Sauvignon, which lends their pink wines more structure.
In Coteaux Varois en Provence, vineyards are at slightly higher altitudes so grapes benefit from longer, slower ripening, giving the finished wines good acidity, complex flavours and structure. This added roundness and balance make their rosés age-worthy.
Of the rest of the appellations, it is Bandol, the small enclave inland from the seaside resort of the same name, that produces the most complex rosé, thanks to its use of Mourvedre.
Provencal rosé wines to try:
Chateau Miraval Studio By Miraval
Available at The Fullerton Bay Hotel as part of DayAway’s Rosé Rosé package
From Cotes de Provence, this rosé opens with fresh citrus, strawberry, green apple, lime, raspberry, and black currant notes; and has a long, rich finish.
Domaine OTT Ott* Clos Mireille Rosé Coeur de Grain 2020
Housed in a patented bottle shape modelled on the ancient Roman amphora, this Cotes de Provence pale-pink beauty is packed full of berry-fruit, floral and mineral notes.
The Rhone Valley region stretches from the south of Lyon all the way towards the Mediterranean Sea, thus comprising varied appellations. This translates to a plethora of rosé options that range from summertime quaffers to age-worthy cuvees.
Rhone’s fruit-forward and dry rosés are generally produced from the same grapes used in Provence rosés: Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault, and Mourvedre, but feature the addition of native varieties like Clairette and Piquepoul.
The appellation to look out for is Tavel, which in 1936, became the first—and to date the only—AOC for rosé. With longer maceration time on grape skins, typically 12–24 hours, Tavel rosé are darker-hued while also more concentrated in flavour, resembling more a light red than a standard rosé. Bigger body structure not only allows Tavel rosé to be paired with grilled meat and game dishes, but also provides incredible ageing potential.
For more Provencal-like pinks, try the salmon-coloured options from the appellations of Costieres de Nimes or Ventoux. The former is a sun-drenched and maritime region known for juicy rosés bursting with watermelon flavours and a hint of sea spray. High-altitude vines from the latter produces lightly-blushed wines of zesty sour cherry and raspberry notes with cool minerality.
Rhone Valley rosé wines to try:
Domaine Les Bruyeres La Luxure 2020
Opening up with wild strawberries, currants and peony aromas, this Northern Rhone rosé also carries notes of herbs and balances a little fat and length with beautiful acidity.
Geographically opposite of Provence, this Northwestern French region produces some diverse and stellar rosés from different appellations to suit every kind of rosé aficionado.
Rosés from Chinon, like their reds, are typically Cabernet Franc dominant, offering an earthier and spicier alternative to fruity pinks. Known for their aromatic white wines, Sancerre also produces earthy rosés thanks to their usage of Pinot Noir, but these are usually accompanied with rich cherry fruitiness and a lean mineral texture, as well as the potential to age for two to three years.
Created in 1974, the designation Rosé de Loire refers to dry rosés made in the central Loire region, extending across both Anjou and Touraine appellations. These clear flamingo pink wines are mainly from Pineau d’Aunis and Gamay grapes, and made in a dry style with complex notes of berry fruit, fresh flowers, and with a hint of white pepper thanks to the former grape.
For those with a sweet tooth, wines under older designation Rosé d’Anjou (an AOC since 1936) are made in a slightly sweet style, using grapes such as Grolleau, Gamay, Cabernet Franc, and Malbec.
Loire Valley rosé wines to try:
Joseph Mellot Sancerre Rose “Le Rabault” 2020
$39 from Bottles & Bottles
A 100% Pinot Noir rosé with floral and berry notes on the nose, and has a fresh and elegant mouthfeel.
Domaine Breton La Ritournelle AOC Rose 2018
From Chinon, this 100% Cabernet Franc rosé shows flavours of peppery raspberries and strawberries and herbaceous zest; great with grilled food!
Bordeaux might be famed for the big bold reds of its prestigious First Growths but the development of rosé wine is arguably attributed to the region, when in the 1800s, the popularity of Clairet, a lighter style of red Bordeaux, became common. Skin maceration time of three to four days for Clairet gradually decreased to about one to two hours for rosé production.
The region’s more recent rosé production history saw the utilisation of the saignee method: bleeding out juice from grapes during red winemaking. Traditionally, saignee rosé was used to concentrate a weaker red vintage, and at times regarded and sold as an afterthought.
However, fine rosé production in Bordeaux has significantly improved and increased in recent years. Now there are more vineyards designated for rosés, their grapes picked earlier and handled separately from red winemaking. Bordeaux blushes are made with traditional Bordeaux red varietals—Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc— offering the same freshness and berry-driven flavours as their southern counterparts but with slightly fuller, more herbaceous notes. Ageing in oak barriques add an extra layer of creamy, toasty complexity to Bordeaux rosé.
Bordeaux rosé wines to try:
Chateau Suau Bordeaux Rosé 2018
Made with 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from first press, a nose of dark red and black fruit is followed by a rich palate, fresh and crisp aftertaste.
Chateau La Freynelle Rosé Bordeaux Clairet 2019
Bled from Cabernet Sauvignon—the rest of which goes into the Chateau Freynelle Rouge, this strong pink rosé carries berry fruit notes, and a round, fleshy palate with a long aftertaste.
A neighbour to Provence, Languedoc is in fact France’s leading producer of rosé, accounting for around 34% of the country’s pink wine. While the region’s rosés are generally like their Provencal counterparts—light-hued, crisp, and dry, they also exhibit a little more richness and a fuller body, accompanied by a fresh pepperiness. The main grapes used for rosé production in Languedoc are Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault, Mourvèdre, and Carignan.
One of Languedoc’s earliest claims to fame though, are the sparkling wines of Limoux. Long before Champagne, Limoux gave birth to the world’s first sparkling wine in 1531. In recent years, it is the Cremant de Limoux Rosé, or sparkling rosé wines of Limoux, that are gaining popularity. Most often made from Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc, with Mauzac and Pinot Noir to give its pink tinge, this blush bubbly captivates with its pale hue and delicate effervescence.
Languedoc rosé wines to try:
Cote Mas Aurore Rosé 2019
A blend of Cinsault, Grenache, Syrah, this lightly-blushed wine captivates with cherry, strawberry floral, and candied fruit notes; on the palate, it’s rich, smooth and with well-balanced acidity.
Hecht & Bannier Languedoc Rosé 2019
Delightfully savoury with scents of crushed stone and hints of strawberries and cherries; this rosé is medium-bodied, clean and refreshing, with a dry, stony finish.
Craving a refreshing glass of rosé wine on a balmy Singaporean evening? DayAway’s Rosé, Rosé experience (from $78) at The Fullerton Bay Hotel offers free-flow rosé wine and complimentary truffle fries from 5–7pm every Tuesday and Thursday in the hotel’s stunning rooftop Lantern Bar.