Is it worth spending more money on rosé? Not always

John Wilson: I'm not sure I would ever spend €50 for a bottle of rosé

Four rosé wines for under €25

We all have our blind spots – things we don’t get, while the rest of the world does. Mine include Jeremy Clarkson and Gordon Ramsay.

With wine, it is posh rosé. A lot of people adore it. I don’t. Despite my curmudgeonly streak, I occasionally shell out €30-50 for a bottle of good red wine. To me it makes sense of some sort, and I can usually taste the difference. But I’m not sure I would ever pay €50 for a bottle of rosé.

Yet retailers tell me that the expensive stuff, costing anything up to €100 a bottle, flies out, especially when the sun is shining. Consumers who are usually reluctant to spend anything over €20 on a bottle of wine lose all inhibitions.

To me, most seem to be well-made, lightly fruity, dry wines. I am perfectly happy to drink them provided somebody else is footing the bill. But why the hefty price tag? Possibly I am missing something.


An importer, whose opinions I respect, told me they had finesse. There are plenty of critics who eulogise the more expensive rosés. Elizabeth Gaby in her book on rosé wines, argues that it can no longer be dismissed as a refreshing summer drink, and has as much depth and complexity as any other wine. Maybe. It’s not just me though; I conducted blind taste tests (not always a great indicator) with friends over several dinners; mostly they preferred the cheaper versions.

There are plenty of less expensive wines to choose from. If you don’t want to spend more than €10, I featured two decent rosés from Aldi earlier this year; the Mimo Moutinho Vinho Verde Rosé (€7.99) and the Specially Selected Côteaux Varois en Provence (€9.49).

In June I featured a dozen, costing from €11 to €96 (for the excellent Ruinart Rosé Champagne). For less than €20, O’Briens has the Delheim Pinotage Rosé (€10.46), the Les Auzines Alaina Rosé (€12.71) and the Rós Rosé (€12.71). Marks & Spencer has the very tasty Corsican Cintu Rosé for €15.

I have come across a few very good rosés costing between €20-30. The original of the species is very palatable Whispering Angel (€25, widely available), but for something with a little more character try the excellent Rosa dei Frati 2020, Ca dei Frati (€25.99, independents), the Monteraponi Rosato 2020, Colli della Toscana (€27, independents) and the Rosé Volcânico from the Azores (€23 Independents).

I make an exception for sparkling rosé wines including Champagne, which can have wonderful elegance and finesse. I also adore the layered mysterious Viña Tondonia Rioja Gran Reserva Rosado (€50, independents), and have enjoyed the Domaine Tempier Bandol rosé (around €40, independents). Other than that, I would be quite happy with the Figuière below.

Postcards Pinot Grigio delle Venezie 2020
12.5%, €11.96, down from €15.95
A very moreish simple rosé with succulent peach and ripe cantaloupe matched by a cleansing acidity. Summer in a glass. Drink it on its own or with all sorts of summery nibbles and light salads. 
From: O'Briens,

Sipp Mack Rosé d'Alsace 2020
13%, €16.95 down from €19.95
Light and refreshing, filled with subtle, creamy, textured red cherry fruits. Try it with a quiche or onion tart with some leafy salads.
From: Mitchell & Son, D1, Sandycove, and Avoca, Kilmacanogue & Dunboyne,; Wilde & Green, D6,; Myles Doyle, Gorey; Galvins, Bandon Road, Cork,

Figuière 2020, IGP Mediteranée
13%, €17-18
A very moreish fruit-filled dry rosé from Provence that will put a smile on everyone's face. Drink well-chilled on its own or with salty savoury nibbles like olives, tapenade and mixed bruschetta.
From: 64wine, Glasthule,; Baggot Street Wines, D4,; Blackrock Cellar, Blackrock,; Clontarf Wines, D3,; Green Man Wines, D6,; Martin's Off Licence, D3,; Pinto Wines, D9,; Listons, D2,; Sweeneys D3,;  This is It, Ennistymon,; Brindle Coffee & Wine, D8,

Sancerre, Maulin Bèle 2020 André Vatan
13.5%, €24
Pinot Noir makes some of the best rosé, as this elegant wine demonstrates; pale in colour with delicious delicate ripe wild strawberries and redcurrants with a lip-smacking finish. Drink solo or with poached salmon. 
From: Whelehan's Wines, Loughlinstown,