Get the taste of those elusive summer holidays in the Mediterranean with a selection of wild rosés—

Rosé sales are rocketing. I love a glass of the chilled pale stuff when the sun has got his hat on, but I adore the wild stuff even more. Rather than stick with the usual suspects, there’s value to be had by branching into rosé from quirky grape varieties bursting with compelling character, especially from places where rosé might not be the first wine you’re expecting. And best of all, I love a bargain to keep us all in the pink.

This week I’ve found lashings of Mediterranean magic from sunny countries whose shores may be eluding us for the time being, but whose wines offer a wide world of flavour to explore. Portugal rates highly for me for its wines of character and value where rosé is concerned. Modern fruity style leaps from the glass in my pick from Majestic this week.

Spain is often overlooked for its robust rosados – baffling when you consider how delicious they are with a sumptuous seafood paella. Check out my wine of the week for a fiesta of fun from off the beaten track in Somontano, made by a couple of Brits on a wine-making mission. Paso-Primero is a name to watch out for.

But as so often with wine, it’s Greece that steals me away, for the unique and intriguing wine that the Greeks deliver with such charm. In fact, the rosé from Crete I’m recommending this week is much more than a chuggable quaffer and worth every bit as much contemplation as a top notch red.

In fact, the producer in question, Domaine Lyrarakis, is well worth taking note of across the board. Its wines are serious and its skill is impressive. I’ve bought its white Assyrtiko in the past, and for an outfit that’s been in the wine game since 1966, it’s a worthy bridge to the historic wine culture of its region.

Championing lesser-known grape varieties… the bottle I’ve picked out this week is made from Liatiko, a venerable variety that was popular in the Middle Ages and is well worth seeking out the little that remains today. Although Liatiko has quite a dark skin, it often produces pale wine, ideal in this case for scrumptious rosé.

All you need is a bit of chargrilled lamb or a herby salad drenched in spicy dressing and the sun will be doffing his hat to you and hoping to reach down for a glass to sip himself.

OLLY’S PICK OF THE BUNCH

WILD AT HEART: Soft & Fruity Rosé 2019  (11%) £5 Marks and Spencer. I’m a big fan of the new bargain range from M&S and this rosé is great value and spot on for a barbecue. Deeply colourful with a subtle tropical twist, for a fiver it’s the business.

SOMETHING WILD: Marquez de la Cruz Garnacha Rosé 2019 (13.5%) £5.99* Waitrose. Down from £7.99, this is a steal of a rosé – robust and packed with flavour, it’s a total winner to sip with a feast and made by a Master of Wine in Spain’s Campo de Borja. *On offer until 30th June 2020

THE WILD ONE: LB7 Rosé 2019 (12.5%) £7.99* Majestic. Portugal should make more pink wine if this is anything to go by – fragrant as strawberry candyfloss and delightfully simple for a summery session. Mix Six Price

WALK ON THE WILD SIDE: Domaine Lyrarakis, Liatiko Kedros 2019 Rosé (13%) £16.95 Hic! Wine Merchants. A delicious darker rosé from Crete that tastes somewhere like a strawberry spliced with a peach. This is textural and lively with a bit of richness and plenty of moreish bite. Accomplished winemaking and a real treat for wine fans.

WINE OF THE WEEK

Paso Primero Rosé Somontano 2019 (14.5%) £8.90 Tanners. Spanish splendour made by two former tanners employees Tom and Emma Holt in their new life creating bottles of brilliance like this one. Fruity and fabulous, this is all you’ll need to set sail for the shores of Summer Isle.

This column was originally published in the Mail on Sunday, Sunday 7th June 2020

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