Wine on

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 03 August, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 03 August, 2003, 12:00am

Summer roses

Charles Melton Barossa Valley Rose of Virginia Grenache 2002, $185 There is nothing better on a blazing summer day than a cold glass of rose straight from the fridge as the snapper cooks over the barbecue coals. And few better than this Aussie pink - a lot of people reckon this is the best rose on Earth. It is labelled Rose of Virginia: the romantically inclined Charlie Melton named it after a girlfriend. If she's anything like the wine, she must be a stunner. Melton thought so - he married her. We're lucky to have some of this light, jolly wine for sale in Hong Kong because it is highly popular in Australia. It is crisp, lively and wonderfully refreshing. Fermenting it at cool temperatures in stainless-steel tanks gives it its attractive, natural style. It has been voted best boutique rose in Australia, and you can taste why.

Oliver's (tel: 2810 7710)

Les Jamelles Cinsault 2001, $90 Cinsault is a native of the South of France, a lover of hilly slopes with plenty of sun. Comparatively unknown, the big, plump fruit gives a generous and lovely sweet juice. Like almost all modern roses, this is made in stainless steel. The crushed grapes, from Languedoc, are left in the tanks with the skins for about 24 hours, giving time for the rich colour to seep into the juice. Winemakers aim to get a balance between sweetness and acidity. There's perfume here; think raspberry and kiwi fruit. Stylish and elegant, this is very good value for money.

Espace (tel: 2525 6408)

Mateus Non-Vintage Touriga Franca blend, $75 I really enjoy icy rose with a nice soft brie and fruit such as peaches or nectarines. It's also good with a crisp salad, Portuguese-style. This pale pink wine sells all over the world in gigantic volume. The Portuguese market the distinctive oval bottle with the painting of a baroque rural mansion with genius; certainly, you could float Vasco da Gama's caravelle on the amount of Mateus drunk in Hong Kong. It makes no pretension to being elegant or sophisticated. It's a simple, sweet, refreshing rose made from a half-dozen different red grapes from Northern Portugal. Pour a glass and enjoy yourself.

Jardine Caldbeck (tel: 2635 1183)