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Offering A Gentle Twist: Captivating Rosé and Skilfully Crafted Shiraz

Since we arrive at the start of May this week, it is time to think about summertime drinking.

“Summer” and “wine” usually lead to thoughts of rosé – even although pale pink wines are rapidly becoming all-year round drinking.

Nevertheless, let’s be traditional and open the summer season with one of those rosés.

Here is the twist, though, it is not from areas famed for that style (Provence, the Loire and, now, Languedoc).

Furthermore, it is not from a variety you would expect – so read on for the details.

Hedging my weather-related bets, though, consider this post’s other featured wine.

It is an Aussie shiraz just in case winter does have one more inclement bite in our tails left.

As attention increases on less well-known parts of South Australia, so areas like the Limestone Coast will move towards centre stage.

 Mount Benson (home to this shiraz) is part of that region.

The images and hyperlinks provided should help you to find the wines in crowded displays.

But, first, that rosé

“Fronton” is a region in SW France and “Negrette” is its primary grape.

That variety is noted for aromatic, medium bodied, lightish fruit-driven, red wines – but here provides a charming and captivating rosé.

Soft with sweetish aromas, it brings us ripe cranberry and red cherry flavours.

These are supplemented by good acidity and the savoury herbal touches that also form part of its gentle, slightly minty, texture.

…And the red

2022 Wave Crest Shiraz Mount Benson (from £8.99 at Majestic, and 14%):  

Happily, however, that locality’s coastal coolness prevents grapes getting too flamboyantly ripe.

So here is a great value example (at £9) that neatly illustrates the quality of the resulting wines.

Smooth with damson, sloe and black olive flavours, it also offers meaty, black pepper and dried herb elements.

Tasty finishing touches complete the picture – all built into the smoke and sea-shell background the wine also contains.

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Eddie Walker

Morning Brian …

Up with the lark today and heading out to Sainsbury’s after I type this in. Can easily concur on the Fronton Negrette rosé, never without a bottle on the shelf here. Well priced it is so often on a double-dip as it is right now with a shelf drop and part of a 25% off buy 6 currently we can have it for £5.25 and it was already on my list for buying again today.

Can I say while in Sainsbury’s folks might like try another couple of excellent and value rosés from there, the Vin de France Cruset at £5.25 and the Roche de Provence at £6 as part of a similar deal. Both are a touch lighter in style than the Negrette but all in all it makes for a trio of terrific French bottles for lazy-day drinking.

And just to mention something else just spotted at Sainsbury’s in the shape of a rather nondescript, label-wise, Maison Du Vin Rouge. Starting at £8 it will be £4.50 today when buying as part of a six! Looks to be an outfit working out of Carcassonne and offering a Carignan-Grenache blend. There’s a blanc Colombard-Trebbiano too at the same money. Gotta be worth some investigation. Cheers Brian .. best as ever …

Brian Elliott

Thanks for the Sainsbury’s tips, Eddie., I am sure that will launch dozens of shopping trips among MidWeekers. Interested in that red Maison du Vin as their Gascogne white will be a Top Tip shortly – that one is sold in the Co-op.

Eddie Walker

Yes, the Fronton, Roches and Cruset are great value roses. At £8 the red Maison du Vin doesn’t make it Brian. Too much else around at that money that’s way more interesting. Drinkable, yes ok, and at £4.50 it could satisfy the demands of folks that want something smooth and fruity, short on tannic components but not very demanding. Not a lot to write home about unfortunately when it had peaked my interest for its provenence. When it comes to Sainsbury’s and double-dipping the TTD Vino Nobile di Montepulciano from £12.50 down to £8.25 is as good a deal for a cracking bottle as they offer. I shall await with interest your take on the Occitane blanc we are having with fish pie tonight!

Paul Davies

Just to alert everyone to a Coop wine deal for members only( one off £1 for membership) Buy any three, save £5 until May 14th.There are only 7 wines in the selection ,but I can recommend three of them, namely The Irresistible Pinot Grigio £8, The Irresistible Casablanca Valley Pinot Noir £9 and the Muriel Tempranillo Rioja that was £9, but is now down to £8..Not a bad deal.
Thankfully the Coop seems to have dropped “Truly” from “Truly irresistible”, which I found irksome.Also a word of caution when using the Coop online Store/ Wine searcher- use it in hope, rather than expectation.

Richard Wyndham

I live in Suffolk and am a member of the East of England Cooperative Society. I recently paid my £1 and joined the (National) Cooperative, primarily to view the recent Rioja online talk/tasting – as mentioned by Brian. Trying to find out the relationship between the 2 societies, I came across this from the East of England co-op web site:
“Whilst we do often match the offers advertised by Co-op Group, as an independent co-operative with our own membership scheme, this may not always be the case.”
Next time I visit will try scanning my new national card and see what happens!

Brian Elliott

Be good to hear how you get on with that Richard. That website message succinctly sums up the “challenges” that can arise for recommendations when nationally advertised promotions, the retailer’s website and many purely local stores are not aligned.

Brian Elliott

Can endorse all three of those suggestions Paul but I do know that several of you have struggled with that Co-op website.

Keith Evans

Re. Fronton I also rather enjoyed the full red Fronton in Sainsbury’s Discovery Collection last year, a blend of negrette and malbec although sadly no longer available. (
However, Eddie’s mention of the Maison du Vin Rouge and Maison du Vin Blanc on offer in Sainsburys spiked my curiosity but I’m sure his recommendation “worth some investigation” meant tasting rather than a desktop exercise. Nevertheless, I see that Maison du Vin also supplies Co-op’s Côtes de Gascogne Colombard / Sauv Blanc blend ( and their Crémant de Loire ( Sadly my experience of the Co-op online store / wine searcher is similar to Paul’s so I don’t hold out much hope of tracking either of them down. Has anyone here tried them?

Brian Elliott

Yes I have tried the Co-op white and it is very good (textured with sherbet lemon acidity underpinning greengage, cooked apple and peach flavours).It will be a Top Tip soon.

Eddie Walker

See above Keith my reply to Brian on the Maison du Vin rouge. I think even substantial reductions are no reason to bother again with such a vin very ordinaire. So much to go at to continue enjoying investigative stuff. I like others have Co-op issues even in an area where there’s a store on almost every corner including my local 300 yards away! I’m forever having to visit several to get the worthwhile recommendations not stocked in every branch. Yes, often worth the effort, Brian’s recommended 2020 Irresistible Salice Salentino (£8.00 at the Co-op) of a couple of months back easily gets me travelling several miles to have it. I try not to attach myself to obscurity just for the sake of it but basic French red of any kind doesn’t get a look in when an Italian rarity like this one isn’t that far from home.

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