Tom Jones of the Whalley Wine Shop explains why Rosé is taking the nation by storm

Summertime tour around coastal wines of France

Following the glorious sunshine and soaring temperatures my mind drifted to thoughts of drinking wine and enjoying the beauty of the French coast.

While we may miss out on visiting this year we can transport ourselves in a small way by enjoying the great wines often produced in these coastal areas!

The region of Muscadet produces very crisp, light, dry white wines from the west coast, facing the bracing Atlantic and surrounding the mouth of the Loire. The main grape is ‘Melon de Bourgogne’, previously dismissed as producing ‘boring’, ‘neutral’ wines with little flavour. However, recently massive improvements have been made to quality and the area is producing some truly well made and exciting wines at great prices. We often recommend them as a good value alternative to Chablis, as Chablis prices have soared while great quality Muscadet is often available under £10.

Rosé is taking the nation by storm

The Domaine de la Bretonniere Sur Lie, 12%, 2019 at £8.99 delivers that classic style; very dry, clean and fresh with delicate floral and white stone fruit yet mixing in a delicious chalky, stone note. Excellent partner to a light goats cheese salad.

The Cardinal Richard Muscadet Sur Lie, 12%, 2018 at £11.99 is a rather interesting project where local wine makers, restaurateurs, chefs and wine writers are invited to taste wines from the region and select the one good enough to be crowned ‘Cardinal Richard’ for that year.

This ‘selection by committee’ is likely unique in France and has resulted in a superb example of Muscadet. Slightly richer citrus and white peach fruit with a delicious saline quality. Can pair with slightly heavier seafood dishes like Seabass fillets.

Picpoul de Pinet is a wine producing area on the southern coast facing the Mediterranean. The white wines made from the Picpoul grape have gained huge popularity in recent years as tourists visiting the South of France fall to the charms of sipping a crisp, cold glass of Picpoul with lunch while looking over the Mediterranean.

Tom Jones of the Whalley Wine Shop

The Mare Nostrum Picpoul, 13%, 2019 at £9.99 is a great example at a great price. With lovely green/gold hints the wine shows a lovely fresh citrus style with a soft hint of sherbet adding a slightly richer more textured undertone. Notes of lemon and soft hints of wild herb make this a fabulous pairing for a big bowl of ‘moules mariniere’.

Its almost impossible to discuss the French coastal wines without mentioning Provence Rosé. Quietly taking the UK by storm these super pale, delicate and refreshing wines have re-invigorated rosé drinking in the UK. The shop sells all the big names – Minuty, Miraval, Whispering Angel, Chase Rose and Leoube.

However, our job is to find the undiscovered gem offering great quality at fantastic value and the Domaine de Grandpre ‘Cuvee Favorite’, 13%, 2019 fits the bill perfectly. A staff favourite for two summers now, this quality Provence Rosé delivers everything you want. Stylishly pale, fresh and vibrant fruit but restrained and delicate, hints of cranberry, wild raspberry and hibiscus lead to a palate showing racy acidity yet with a soft texture with delicate balance.

Elegant, refreshing and high quality – without the big ‘name’ and marketing budget this goes under the radar and, at £13.99 a bottle, is an absolute steal.

An oft forgotten coastal region is Bordeaux, the grand old port city on the west coast at the mouth of the Gironde, famous for producing some of the most expensive red wines in the world. Only about seven per cent of Bordeaux wine is dry white wine, mainly from Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon grapes and often rich, oak aged, and expensive. Yet the area is changing, now producing some excellent, modern wines which suit the modern UK wine drinker.

The Chateau Bonnet Sauvignon Blanc, 12%, 2019 at £11.99 is a wondrous little take on white Bordeaux and is sure to impress Sauvignon fans. Zippy, zesty and vibrant it shows lovely bright citrus fruit with hints of fresh green nettle and a lovely aromatic, incredibly pretty, floral note from the addition of just a dash of Muscadelle.

Taking the UK by storm these super pale, delicate and refreshing wines have re-invigorated rosé drinking

Volcanic style

As vine growers and wine makers better understand the relationship between the soil type and the resulting flavours in a wine, ‘Volcanic Soils’ has become a bit of a buzz word and one to take note of.

Soils created by the action of volcanoes seem to add an extra layer of interest to wines and are definitely worth searching out and exploring.

Good examples are the Island of Santorini in Greece, the wines from Mount Etna on Sicily, the Azores (we have a fantastic red and white from talented wine maker Antonio Rizza). Interesting, intense and with a little X factor these wines are a little different but growing in popularity.