Way back in the 1970s, when I was half of a young married couple, Mateus Rosé was a popular wine to bring to dinner parties. It wasn’t great, but neither was any other wine we could afford . Hosts found it acceptable because it had a funny-shaped bottle they could stick a candle in. No first home was complete without a few of these candle-holders.
I haven’t seen it for years but last week I spotted it in Dunnes and, horror of horrors, they have changed the bottle. It’s still a rather odd shape but it would no longer make a good candle-holder. This, I fear, is a mistake.
I bought a bottle (€10) for old time’s sake and I can confirm that the taste hasn’t improved. This Portuguese wine is too heavy for a rosé, it has an oily texture and no discernible taste. It once had a great bottle but, alas, no more.
Summer is the season for rosés. I like them best from the south of France, with a delicate pink blush, unlike the bright red of Mateus. Chile also produces some fine rosés and recently I tried a very nice one from Spain. Olivares Rosada 2017 (€13.15 from winesdirect.ie) is a blend of Garnacha and Monastrell grapes, light and soft, it tastes of (and goes well with) strawberries and raspberries.
Your won’t go wrong with Gérard Bertrand’s Hedonisme (€15.95 from O’Briens). This Languedoc wine is almost white and with a taste as delicate as its looks.
For the traditional taste of Provence go for Grillons, Domaine La Croix Belle (around €18 from independent traders). It’s too dear to waste at a barbecue but worth every cent for gentle summer sipping.