Wine - Liam Campbell looks through Rosé-tinted glasses
Rosés are a great summer chilling out wine. France's rosés have a refreshing red fruit character. Most are dry, often with a herbal or a mineral note. They are remarkably versatile with food because they are moderate-to-light in alcohol, with no oak ageing or tannins.
French rosés work especially well with earthy Mediterranean, spicy Asian and aromatic oriental dishes, and are a brilliant choice in the restaurant because they complement so many dishes.
To find the best blush wines for you to enjoy, I blind-tested 20 French rosés from all the major regions. Here are those that scored highest.
1) Rosé 2014, Chateau Riotor, Famille Abeille, Cotes de Provence 13.5pc
Delicious, chalk-dry with a strawberry fruity character. Elegant with a long finish of red berries and mineral highlights. Perfect with paella.
€16.49 and a second bottle for half-price until end of August at O'Brien's wine shops nationwide
2) Chateau Cantelaudette 2014, Bordeaux 13pc
A tasty rosé with the red berry flavours contrasted by a leafy vegetal freshness. A lively sappy and fruity finish. Ideal with smoked salmon.
€12.99 at McHugh's Kilbarrack Road and Artane; Redmond's, Ranelagh; Red Island Wines, Skerries; Baggot Street Wines; Dicey's Ballyshannon and mchughs.ie
3) Domaine de Millet 2014, Cotes de Gascogne 11.5pc
Grassy aromas and bright fresh raspberry and strawberry flavours. Light-bodied with modest alcohol that copes better with a chilli spicy sauce on Thai noodles.
€12.95 discounted down to €11.80 for July at Wines Direct, Mullingar and winesdirect.ie
4) Chateau Bellevue La Foret 2013, Fronton 12.5pc
Fresh ripe, juicy red berries on the palate. An honest and straightforward well-balanced rosé. Marry with a garlicky prawns in pasta.
€14.99 in Dublin at Martin's, Fairview; Deveney's, Rathmines and Morton's, Ranelagh. In Cork: O'Donovan's off licences citywide
5) Laurent B. 2014, Domaine de Brusset, Cotes du Rhone 12.5pc
A floral perfume of roses and red fruits. Ripe flavours of red cherries and juicy strawberries. Savour with baked salmon in a teriyaki glaze.
€15.49 at Mitchell & Son, Customs House Quay, IFSC and Glasthule, Co Dublin
6) Rosé de Pinot Noir 2013, Petit Bourgeois, Henri Bourgeois, Val de Loire 12pc
A herbal and savoury bouquet follows on the palate with assertive redcurrant fruit with refreshing acidity and a crisp cranberry finish. Enjoy with ratatouille.
€15.49 and a second bottle for half-price until end of August at O'Brien's wine shops nationwide
7) Mescladís 2014, Domaine Clavel, Pic Saint Loup, Languedoc 12.5pc
Made with organically grown grapes. Intense flavours of green bell pepper and raspberry fruit. Try with pan-fried mackerel coated in porridge oatlets.
€16.50 at Quintessential Wines, Drogheda and QuintessentialWines.ie; O'Leary's Food Store, Cootehill; Brown's Vineyard, Portlaoise. In Dublin: Michael's, Mount Merrion and The Hole in the Wall, Blackhorse Avenue.
8) Prieuré de Mortezargues 2014, Tavel 13.5pc
Concentrated palate of zesty orange peel and strawberries. Attractively austere and full-bodied, a good companion with a smoked-fish casserole.
€18.99 in Dublin at Wines on the Green, Dawson Street; Jus de Vin, Portmarnock; McCabe's, Mount Merrion and Nolan's, Clontarf