Battle of the Supermarket Rosés
Yesterday (Saturday 8th June) was National Rosé Day, so I took it upon myself to find out who has the best Supermarket Rosé . I set myself a few rules: the wines needed to be from the supermarkets own brand premium range, they couldn’t be more than £12, and they couldn’t be from Provence.
Why not Provence?
Provence is most certainly one of the largest wine producing regions for Rosé wine. It has burst onto the UK wine scene a few years ago and is now the popular wine choice for Rosé lovers. With the beautiful pale salmon appearance and dry, elegant style, these Rosés tend to find themselves at higher prices. You will discover Provence on the Mediterranean coast, down in the South of France.
Although I am partial to a glass of Provencal Rosé, the often overlooked vibrant, darker coloured Rosés from other regions and countries can be equally as delicious and sometimes more flavoursome. Keeping this in mind, I created my Battle of the Supermarket Rosés to let you know which ones are the best and if there are any to avoid.
Before I get to the tasting, have you ever wondered how Rosé is made?
You can learn all about the details of different Rosé winemaking techniques here (or find the video at bottom of the page) and see a tasting review of the super popular Provencal Rosé Miraval (owned by Brangelina).
The typical way to make Rosé is to take crushed Black grapes and macerate them on the skins for a few hours to a few days to add colour and flavour to the wine. It is then pressed off of the skins and left to ferment in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. Rosés do not usually have oak influence, which is why they are fruity and fresh and are best drunk young. Only a few Rosés benefit with ageing.
Rosé wine and food pairing
Rosé is surprisingly versatile with food. On a hot summers day, while they are an excellent aperitif; there is a long list of food pairings to consider. Dry delicate styles are perfect with Sushi and Sashimi, salads and fresh seafood. Medium bodied Rosés are great for Barbeques, Charcuterie, Paella and even Lamb and duck dishes. Slightly off-dry Rosés are great with Curries, especially if there is a little hint of spice in there.
The Battle and Scoring
I blind tasted eight wines from Asda, Morrisons, Tescos, Sainsbury’s, and Aldi. Lidls does not have a premium own brand Rosé. Asda has only one option, whereas Sainsbury’s has seven options. So in honour of their greater selection, I gave them fair representation in the tasting. So find below the results of Battle of the Rosé Supermarkets and learn a little about the regions in which they came from. I have used the typical 100 point marking system where 80-84 points mean wines are above average to good, 85-90 means wines are good to very good and 90-94 wines are superior to exceptional.
The Results for Best Supermarket Rosé
Sancerre comes from the Loire Valley in France. It is a region better known for it’s Sauvignon Blancs. About one-fifth of the area is planted to Pinot Noir, and this is the grape variety that is used for this Rosé. There is a catch-all category for Rosé from the Loire Valley (which runs 500 miles from the west coast into the central north part of France). It is called Rosé de Loire. Sancerre will guarantee you better quality as it comes from a premium region within the Loire Valley and it is known for its particular soils of ‘Caillottes’. This is a stony soil that gives minerality and adds fruitiness.
This Sancerre has a pale salmon colour, with a delicate and slightly savoury nose complimented with peaches and nectarine skins. There is a muskiness, something quite floral and perfumed with hints of orange blossom. It is bone dry with cantaloupe melon, peach and orange peel on the palate. The acidity is high, making the wine exceptionally refreshing. The is a tiny hint of tannins, and this gives some added complexity and texture. I would only have liked a little more concentration of fruit.
Touraine is also part of the Loire Valley. The red grapes permitted here are Gamay. Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grolleau (Noir and Gris) and Pineau d’Aunis. The grapes used in this wine are Gamay (famous from Beaujolais, France) and Cabernet Franc.
The colour is almost medium in depth and a pretty pink. I like the aromas of strawberries, raspberries and red cherries. The wine smells clean, fruity and fresh. It has more than a medium body with lots of fruit intensity. It is still dry but has a little extra fruit sweetness. Watermelon compliments the red fruits. It is quite elegant but could have been a little fresher if the acidity was slightly higher.
Bordeaux is one of the most famous regions in the world known for it’s Cabernet Sauvignon blends from the ‘Left Bank’ of the River and it’s Merlot/Cabernet Franc blends from the ‘Right Bank’ of the river. Bordeaux is located in the South-West of France. This is 100% Merlot.
The wine is medium salmon in colour and is super savoury on the nose. The aromas of stonefruits are complimented by orange peels, botanicals, bitter almond and crushed leaves. The body is a little less than full bodied with nice acidity. The length is pretty long. The palate is dry with some black raspberries, apricots, the orange peel and something spicy like angelica root. This was very interesting and very well made, but this is not your typical fruity Rose.
Fronton is in the South West of France, further South than Bordeaux. This region tends to make red wine with a small amount of Rosé and all made from the Negrette grape, a grape that is unique to this area. Wines must have at least 50% Negrette in them, and this Rosé is 100%. Negrette is a wine that is easy drinking, smooth with low tannins and low acidity. It is delicate and perfumed. The Rosés here are often more full-bodied than the other places in France.
The wine is pale salmon with quite a muted nose, but the aromas are of raspberries mixed with vanilla, but this is coming through more as a confected sweet kind of smell. The wine is quite full-bodied. In terms of sweetness, it is somewhere between dry and off-dry, and I’m left with a creaminess in the mouth. It lacks a little bit of acidity, and although there is a lovely flavour of raspberries and spice, it disappears very quickly.
A fun fact about Pinot Grigio is that the skins are pinky-grey. For this reason, although this variety is better known for its white wines, when left in contact with the skins you can make a lovely coloured Rosé. Provincia di Pavia is a region in Lombardy which is in the North-West of Italy.
The wine is super pale baby pink and smells sweet on the nose like watermelon. It smells a little bit like bubblegum with hints of peach. It has a medium body and a slight creaminess. There are not too many distinct flavours. It is one of the richest styles of the eight wines. The finish is a little bit bitter but has some refreshing acidity to make it quite easy drinking.
The Sud de France relates to the region Languedoc-Roussillon in the South of France. I think this is one of the most exciting areas as they very often have a lot more freedom to make wines without following so many rules. These coastal vineyards enjoy a Mediterranean climate. Provence is just to the East of this region. Grenache, Cinsault, Mourvèdre, Syrah or Carignan and the black grapes used to make Rosé wine. Aldis wine is made from Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah.
With a pale salmon colour, the aromas are all strawberries and cream. It’s quite simple on the nose, but I can see this being very commercial. It is off-dry with a round palate. The extra weightiness is probably coming for that extra touch of sweetness. The flavours are the same as the nose. It is not complicated but is smooth and satisfying. There is enough acidity to balance the sweetness. There isn’t much length on this wine – you are left with something sour quite quickly.
Rioja is famous for its Red wines but also makes Rosé and White. You can find Rioja in the North Central part of Spain. The primary red variety is Tempranillo, and the white is Viura. Interestingly this wine is made from both. This is the only Rosé on the list that has some white wine in it.
The colour is pale baby pink and the nose reminds me of chewits and fruit salad sweets. There are raspberries and cherries. The wine is quite fruity with a boiled fruit character coming through, flavours of strawberries and cream. It is missing a little bit of acidity to make it refreshing, but the fruity character makes it easy to drink. It has one of the lowest scores just as it appears a little bit clumsy and has one of the shorter finishes.
Sangiovese is an Italian grape variety that is the grape variety of Chianti and Brunello di Montalcino. The majority of plantings in Australia are with French varieties, however as time has gone on people have wanted to start making different styles and please different palates, and so more and more we are finding Italian varieties cropping up down under. King Valley is an area in Victoria full of Italian Immigrants who have brought with them several Italian grape varieties such as Dolcetto, Prosecco, Pinot Grigio, Arneis and Barbera.
The wine has a pale salmon colour with aromas of nail varnish remover and paint stripper. The fruit on the nose is more melon skins and grapefruit. There are hints of petrol. The palate has some sweetness; it is almost off-dry. It is much prettier on the palate but finishes very quickly, leaving you with a metallic flavour. You can sense some peach is still there screaming to get through, but it fails. My conclusion is that this wine is too old, and if it was a few years younger, the wine might be much better. This is another example of why many Rosés need to be drunk young.
So enjoy your next glass of Rosé, be adventurous with what you choose! Let me know if there is a great region you go to for your glass of Rosé.
Happy National Rose Day!
Fancy having your own Battle of wine? Get some friends or family together and Janina can organize you your very own wine event. Have some fun, learn how to taste wines blind, and come away with some wine knowledge at the same time. Find out more here.