Don’t judge a rosé by its colour

With English wine week approaching, it’s time we put aside our pale pink prejudices…


Regular readers of this column will know that one of the things I look forward to most as we head towards summer is the annual switch from red to rosé wine. I confess I have a weakness for rosé wine, especially the delicate, pale, almost transparent Provence-style that has become so fashionable in recent years. But, according to the experts, it’s a common misconception that a good rosé is determined by its paleness.

Yes, pale rosés look pretty and the bottles are getting fancier every year (with price tags to match – thanks, Whispering Angel!) but there’s a whole host of deeper-hued rosé wines that we are potentially overlooking because we are so enthralled by the pale beauty of Provence-style wine.


The colour of a rosé wine is determined by a number of factors. For example, the grape varieties used in the wine making, the country of origin, and the amount of skin contact that takes place in the cellar. This can lead to rosé wines that are deeper in colour and more complex in flavour than the pale blushes we assume are superior.

But, if the thought of drinking deep pink rosé brings back memories of 70s-style Portuguese Mateus, you’ll be pleased to know that things have moved on. Today, you’ll find brilliant bold and bouncy rosé wines from Spain, Italy and even the UK, many award-winning and of exceptional quality (even the much maligned Mateus has had a makeover in the last few years and now sells over 20 million bottles annually).


These blushing beauties might not be the extra dry, extra pale versions you have been used to from Provence, but they offer a different experience – a fruity richness and depth of flavour and structure that proves colour is no indicator to quality when it comes to rosé.

So, this June, it’s time to put aside our pale pink prejudices. Why not celebrate English Wine Week with me from 15-23rd June and visit one of our Cotswolds vineyards to experience a different type of rosé wine? The only thing pinker than these wines may well be our blushes at the realisation of what we’ve been missing out on…

Here are some of our favourite locally-produced rosés:


Woodchester Valley Vineyard Rosé

Don’t let the colour intimidate you! Instead, focus on the deep aromas of strawberry, raspberry and cranberry with hints of cherry and rosehip. This is a bright and vibrant rosé from the award-winning boutique vineyard on the outskirts of Stroud. It’s ideal with seafood and can stand up to stronger, spicier foods. But the main selling point for me is that it’s bold enough to be enjoyed throughout the winter months too!

Woodchester Valley Vineyard


Three Choirs Vineyard Rosé

This refreshing rosé is a pleasing shade of pink that assaults the tastebuds like the heat of the sun on a glorious English summer’s day. Think English summer fruits and hints of English hedgerows. Produced at the award-winning Three Choirs Vineyard near Newent, it is complex and not too dry. This wine was made for BBQ season or as an aperitif for any outdoor gathering this summer.

Three Choirs Vineyard


Cotswold Hills English Rosé

To experience this fruity wine is like biting into a shiny red apple. Made from Ortega grapes planted on vines just outside Cirencester, the wine is produced by students from the nearby Royal Agricultural University. Cotswold Hills originally started out as a social enterprise project for students to learn about wine production and key marketing skills to sell their product, and it has obviously worked – today, the award-winning wines have a loyal following and are sold in local outlets throughout the Cotswolds and beyond.

Cotswold Hills