With our gardens, parks and green spaces bursting into life, and the RHS Chelsea Flower Show (May 21-25) just around the corner, there couldn’t be a better time to plant yourself outside and toast the riot of colour with a redolent bouquet.
From floral-inspired labels to heady scents, here’s an exquisite mixed bunch of whites, pinks and reds to toast the fruits of a talented grower…
1. La Dame en Rose 2018, France (£6, Marks & Spencer stores)
The colour’s captivating and with a grand name that suggests a ‘Best in Show’ and the type of rose you’d come across in the famous Great Pavilion at Chelsea, this new release looks inviting from word go.
“The trend for Provence style rosés is greater than ever and we were set on creating a wine that would rival the popular marques,” says Belinda Kleinig, rosé winemaker, Marks & Spencer. “So, it was an obvious choice to blend the best grapes from the Languedoc region, which are ripened under the sun in the south of France, and mirror the notes found in Provence rosés.” Our verdict: At this price, who can resist?
2. Co-op Irresistible Viognier, 2017 Pays D’Oc, France (£8, Co-op stores)
Another open bouquet with much to offer, this sumptuous viognier from the South of France has pretty apricot-scented aromas and a rich, honeyed mouthfeel, supported by vibrant acidity which heightens the freshness. Versatile enough to enjoy with or without food, its distinctive scent brings to mind apricot-yellow blooms and a beautiful country garden.
3. Alain Grignon Carignan Vielles Vignes PGI Pays de l’Hérault 2018, France (£6.99, Majestic)
Carignan sometimes gets a bad rap – it’s a workhorse grape that’s widely planted in the south of France – but old carignan vines such as this little gem (nifty at 50) can really rev up the taste buds, and its alluring floral nose of blackberries entwined with florals makes you think of fulsome blooms. Deliciously juicy, with punchy cherry-fruited flavours topped with vanilla, satisfying sweet spice closes the finish. A red that really grows on you.
4. Tesco Finest Marlborough Pinot Noir 2018, New Zealand (£9, Tesco)
A plush and very pretty pinot, raspberry and florals accord beautifully and the wine is intense, seductive and generous in fruit (but without any heaviness), with swathes of black cherries, raspberries and a tender note of spice. Elegant, fresh and perfectly poised.
5. Yalumba Organic Viognier 2018, South Australia (£9.99, Waitrose stores)
Viognier may have its home in France, but it can excel Down Under too, as this top drop demonstrates. Yalumba are cited as one of the most influential producers of viognier in the world; this is deliciously intense with a powerful perfume of peach, apricot and honeysuckle with juicy, youthful peach and apricot flavours. Unoaked, fresh acidity flows to the finish.
6. Gran Lopez Garnacha Rosado 2017, Campo de Borja DO, Spain (£9.99, Laithwaite’s)
A gorgeous copper pink, scented wild strawberry fruits and freshly squeezed pink grapefruit comes spilling out of this fresh, fun and easy drinking rosé . Softly refreshing with a creamy mouthfeel, ripe berry fruits give a seductive weight to the wine, with some subtle spice on the mouthwatering finish. A modern style of Spanish rosé that’s not a wallflower and easily grows on you.
7. Domaine Lyrarakis, Assyrtiko Crete 2018, Greece (£12.95, Berry Bros & Rudd)
Greek wines are being cited as the next big thing and this intriguing bright white is testament to the improving quality, especially with the focus on indigenous varieties rather than international favourites. Made from Assyrtiko, the country’s A-list white grape that’s mineral-rich with refreshing acidity, an open bouquet of white florals leads to fresh, citrusy fruits and a hint of gingery spice graces the finish. Really lovely and worth seeking out.
8. Hugel & Fils Gewürztraminer 2015, Alsace, France (£19.99, Oxford Wine)
The labels as bright as a buttercup – but think of this wine as showy and exotic, and far more cutting-edge than a spray of wild flowers. Heady and delightfully perfumed with rose petals, lychee and Turkish delight, it’s fruit-forward and similar opulent flavours unfold on the silky palate. Luxurious without being OTT, it’s beautifully balanced and in a class by itself.
- Press Association