Summer wine 2019

In the pink? There’s a new wave of barely there; bubbles for those not naturally inclined to rosé; and a de-alcoholised version worth a tipple


It is the time of year when, weather permitting, those who enjoy wine look for something lighter.

Rosé sales have risen significantly. A new wave of barely pink bottles is now prevalent. What to buy? 2018 vintages prevail. At entry level Aldi Côtes de Provence in the quirky shaped bottle is £6.99 and absolutely fine. For a pound more you should find La Vieille Ferme Rosé widely available. We have long recommended both white and red from this respected producer. A final tip is Sainsbury’s sparkling Cremant De Loire Rosé for £11. The bubbles make this a more attractive proposition for those not naturally inclined to imbibe pink.

Smarter bottles cost double. Whispering Angel now goes for £18. Not cheap but classy. Miraval is ubiquitous and fronted by Brad and Angelina although the revered Famille Perrin is the driving force behind this £18 complex pink. Lay and Wheeler supply at £11 a bottle sophisticated Triennes Rosé which was raved about at a recent tasting generously hosted by Allen and Overy.

London merchants Lea and Sandeman had just taken delivery of their well-regarded MIP (Made in Provence) when Prof Regan was last in the Notting Hill shop. At £15 this is seriously good. L&S is the place to go if you want the cleverest choice of wine in London. You can find stellar vintages and the advice is excellent. Should you be awash with funds then Hedonism in Mayfair is an Aladdin’s cave of delights.

For the plutocrat, Bollinger Rosé is the loveliest Champagne. It retails at £50. Those who follow us both on Twitter will have seen a hot tip when Tesco recently discontinued it and slashed the price to £25; all long gone. Several big names produce pink Champagne but only Billecart-Salmon (even pricier) rivals Bollinger.

Beaujolais is the red that fits in with warm weather. It can legitimately be served chilled. It is sadly overlooked and as a result offers real value. Entry level bottles can be found everywhere for perhaps £7. The better bottles come from named Crus such as Morgon and Fleurie. Brouilly is a favourite and Harvey Nichols has stocked the Chateau Des Tours for years at around £16. Georges Duboeuf is a massive producer of Beaujolais across the spectrum and the range is widely available.

Sicilian Frappato is another quaffable red that, slightly chilled, delivers fruity flavours for a tenner. A simple £6 red which gives real pleasure is Duc de Chaleray at Marks and Spencer. The modest label and inconspicuous spot on the bottom shelf hide something lovely. Aldi’s Spanish Toro Loco at £3.99 is made for barbecue food.

Last but not least is good white wine. The Wine Society, which will feature strongly in our forthcoming Christmas list, stocks Kumeu River Chardonnay under the Exhibition label at £15. The legend that is Jancis Robinson MW regards the producer as the equal at least of big Burgundy producers whose prices have soared. Another Burgundy alternative is the ravishing Sicilian Planeta Chardonnay to be found at £22 in many Carluccio delicatessens. A final treat is Tesco Finest Chablis Premier Cru. It is £15.90. Astonishing quality and better than competitors costing double. A real discovery spotted by Will Lyons at The Sunday Times. Complex flavours over and above conventional steeliness.

Turning to non-occasion bottles, Aldi continues to surprise. The luscious Sauvignon Blanc from Chile is just £5.49, a quarter of the cost of Cloudy Bay. Also stocked is a good English wine (some do exist) namely Denbies Zig Zag for £7.99. Waitrose stocks simple but pure French white and red under the Sous Le Soleil label for £5.99. Many suppliers stock the dependable Vina Sol which is regularly on promotion so buy it if you see it at around £5.50.

There is an emerging trend for de-alcoholised wines. Waitrose stocks red, white and rosé by Torres. No one would mistake these for the real thing, but we have heard reasonable praise. Happy holidays.

Seán Jones QC @seanjonesqc, 11 KBW, specialises in employment law and is General Editor of Tolley’s Employment Handbook. He also works in sports law.

Dominic Regan @krug79 is a professor at City Law School and has advised Lord Justice Jackson on his recent reforms. He buys a lot of wine.


The great bargain for anyone after a decent glass of beer is Banks’s Amber Bitter for just 90p (500ml). Spotted at Tesco, Aldi and Morrisons. A proud export from Wolverhampton.

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Dominic Regan

Dominic is a professor at City Law School and has advised Lord Justice Jackson on his recent reforms. He buys a lot of wine. Twitter: @krug79.

Sean Jones QC

Seán, 11 KBW, @seanjonesqc, specialises in employment law and is General Editor of Tolley’s Employment Handbook. He also works in the sports law field.