Imagine a wine world where the only white available is New Zealand sauvignon blanc, or the sole red is hefty Argentine malbec.

Boring, surely. It's almost like that now with rosé - huge emphasis is on the palest provencal look-and-taste-alikes.

Pleasant as many of these are, there is so much more to pink wine. Don't take my word for it. Liz Gabay, Master of Wine and one of the world's foremost rosé specialists, highlighted some of the alternatives during a recent trade webinar, which prompted me to explore - with the happiest results.

Cooling grapes for rosé in MaremmaCooling grapes for rosé in Maremma (Image: Tenuta Monteti/Rosae Maris)

Before the journey begins, two cautions. There are so many bottles deserving inclusion here that descriptions are minimal - simply believe me that every one is perfect summer drinking. And making good rosé takes a lot of care, so prices often reflect that.

Generally, look out for a very recent vintage. While some rosés are made to age, youthful freshness is so often key.

First to Maremma on the Tuscan coast, where members of the Rosae Maris group use a gamut of grapes for wines that are elegant, rich in flavour and always mouthwateringly fresh.Atlantis Tinta Negra is a recommended roseAtlantis Tinta Negra is a recommended rose (Image: Courtesy of the producer)

Sadly, few are available here, but these are delightful: pure sangiovese Morisfarms Rosamundi (£18, and Tenuta Monteti TM Rosé, from merlot, cabernet franc and mourvèdre (£19.50, - L&S also has the very good Illario, again sangiovese, in a mixed case).

There's a remarkable range of grapes - international varieties alongside local sangiovese and hints-of-cherry ciliegiolo - grown in this sparsely-populated area just south of SuperTuscan country, once partly marshy and infested with malaria-carrying mosquitos, and still heavily forested.Domaine de Mourchon Cotes de Rhone Domaine de Mourchon Cotes de Rhone (Image: Courtesy of the producer)

The revived wine industry is progressive, with examples of innovative techniques in wines such as biodynamic Ampelia (£27-£30,,, where grenache bunches are infused in already-pressed carignan juice.

While most Maremma rosés are quite pale, the opposite end of the colour scale comes in Tavel, the pink-only appellation in the southern Rhône valley.

These are wines for drinkers ready to try something unique, argues grower Maurice Goetschy from Château Bourcarut. Intriguingly for such dark results, local white grapes are often included alongside classic Mediterranean reds.

Goetschy told me that the combination of location, viticulture (lots of bush vines, well adapted to rising temperatures) and maceration during winemaking brings the deep colour, body and full flavour to these wines, great food partners all year long.Domaine de Millet is another rose to tryDomaine de Millet is another rose to try (Image: Courtesy of the producer)

Some to buy: Château d'Aqueria (£20-£22,,, Domaine Maby Libiamo (£20,, Domaine de la Mordorée La Reine des Bois (£30,

Now for a whirlwind world tour of rosés with a point of difference. Let's start in Madeira with fragrant Atlantis (£12.25,, from tinta negra, grape usually for the island's fortifieds.

South Africa's Warwick Estate offers food-friendly The First Lady (£13,, pure pinotage. That rare-outside-South Africa grape makes a starry cameo appearance in Leftfield Rosé (£12, from New Zealand's Hawkes Bay. It joins merlot and white arneis - a truly unusual blend, giving ripe red berry fruit.

One place few pink wine drinkers consider is Lebanon, where ambitious newcomer Ixsir is blending mourvèdre, cinsault and syrah from sky-high mountain vineyards in its Grande Reserve Rosé (£23.50, that challenges posh Provence bottles.

Back in Europe, Spain first: long-lingering Jean Leon 3055 (£16, adds a little red grenache to pinot noir.

Among tempting French challengers are refreshing, herbal-edged M&S Fleur de Lise Saint Mont (£8), a mix from Gascony of local pinenc and tannat with the two cabernets; another dry, tasty Gascon delight, Domaine de Millet Rosé (£12.25, predominantly egiodola - in Basque that's 'red-blooded'; and juicy grenache-based Domaine de Mourchon Loubié (£14 mix-6, from Séguret, a cru Côtes du Rhône village.

And don't forget the ever-increasing, ever-improving choice on our own doorstep. Bright, light and floral Denbies Rose Hill (£12, Waitrose, adds dornfelder to pinot noir to deepen the colour, while perfumed Folc (£21, blends seven varieties including ortega and rondo.

For more English rosés do visit the Grape Britannia website.
Pinked out? I've much enjoyed several very fine summer whites from Laithwaites - stylish, serious GG grenache gris from Roussillon (£11.50 mix-6) and Edouard Leiber Cuvée Prestige (£10 mix-6), wonderfully aromatic Alsace blend of riesling and pinot gris, are stars. Let the sun shine.