Natives of the Mediterranean basin have worshipped the restorative powers of rosé for decades. They know that the best way to refresh is a glass of something that transforms the light and warmth of the sun into a delicious chilled elixir that soothes body and soul.
Today, consumers the world over have finally caught on. Consumption of premium dry rosé is growing rapidly, led by the wines of Provence. Upscale brands like Domaines Ott and Château d’Esclans/Whispering Angel (Wine Enthusiast’s 2014 European Winery of the Year), celebrity involvement (Brad Pitt/Angelina Jolie and Drew Barrymore) and specialized events like La Nuit en Rosé have fueled the category’s charge.
Selected from more than 1,000 rosés reviewed by our tasting panel in the past year, these are our picks for summer’s indispensible beverage.
Domaine des Carteresses 2015 Tavel; $18, 92 points. Cherry-scented goodness, accented by hints of cracked pepper, cinnamon and allspice. Yum! Fruit of the Vines Inc.
Louis Bernard 2015 Côtes du Rhône; $13, 88 points. This plump, succulent wine has enough cinnamon and peppery spice notes to maintain interest sip after sip. Boisset Family Estates. Best Buy.
Domaine Saint-André de Figuière 2015 Confidentielle (Côtes de Provence La Londe); $46, 93 points. La Londe’s schist soils give this concentrated wine fresh acidity and a light touch. AP Wine Imports.
Château Minuty 2015 Rosé et Or (Côtes de Provence); $40, 93 points. This medley of red fruit and peach that’s sharpened by acidity and pepper should improve though 2016. Treasury Wine Estates. Cellar Selection.
Château Vignelaure 2015 La Source (Côteaux d’Aix-en-Provence); $14, 91 points. A light tang of mineraility provides structure and refreshment. Dionysos Imports Inc. Best Buy.
Château de Lancyre 2015 Le Rosé (Coteaux du Languedoc Pic Saint Loup); $18, 90 points. Small red-berry flavors accented by rosemary and peach pit are framed by soft tannins and delicate spice. Hand Picked Selections.
Hecht & Bannier 2015 Rosé (Languedoc); $13, 89 points. Notes of lavender, menthol and bay grace red cherry and berry tones. Frederick Wildman & Sons Ltd. Best Buy.
Marqués de Cáceres 2015 Rosado (Rioja); $11, 87 points. Currants and cranberries mingle easily in this accessible quaffer. Vineyard Brands. Best Buy.
Arrumaco 2015 Garnacha Rosé (Spain); $9, 86 points. Light and crisp, this is floral up front, dry and citrusy on the finish. Hand Picked Selections. Best Buy.
Umathum 2015 Rosa (Burgenland); $22, 92 points. Abandon yourself to this wine’s joyful berry flavors and celebrate summer. Winemonger. Editors’ Choice.
Le Fraghe 2015 Ròdon (Bardolino Chiaretto); $16, 89 points. This is light and floral but ripe, with juicy red fruit and hints of cinnamon and nutmeg. Oliver McCrum Wines. Editors’ Choice.
Villa Wolf 2014 Pinot Noir Rosé (Pfalz); $12, 88 points. Vivaciously fresh, this has quaffable fruit and a gloss of dusty mineral complexity. Loosen Bros. USA. Best Buy.
Cenyth 2015 Rosé of Cabernet Franc (Sonoma County); $25, 91 points. Lithe and complex, offering plum and tangerine notes atop pronounced acidity.
Clif Family 2015 Rosé of Grenache (Mendocino); $24, 91 points. Tempting floral and cherry aromas lead into a vibrant, fruity wine that’s extremely versatile. Editors’ Choice.
Klinker Brick 2015 Rosé (Lodi); $15, 90 points. Dry and delicate, with crisp acids and fresh, charming flavors of pink grapefruit and white peach. Best Buy.
Margerum 2015 Riviera Rosé (Central Coast); $21, 90 points. This light-hued rosé’s crisp, lime-like notes would work well with fish.
Martin Ray 2015 Estate Grown Rosé of Pinot Noir (Russian River Valley); $20, 88 points. This is tantalizingly zesty, marrying grapefruit, orange and cherry flavors.
Sokol Blosser 2015 Estate Cuvée Rosé of Pinot Noir (Dundee Hills); $22, 91 points. Richer than usual, this bone-dry rosé’s strawberry notes are set in a bed of racy acidity. Editors’ Choice.
A to Z 2015 Rosé (Oregon); $14, 89 points. The ebullient strawberry and floral notes taste like spring in a bottle. Best Buy.
Efestē 2015 Oldfield Estate Rosé (Yakima Valley); $23, 92 points. Mourvèdre and Grenache create a lively symphony of citrus, strawberry, herb and spice.
Keuka Springs 2015 Dry Rosé (Finger Lakes); $16, 91 points. Cabernet Franc and Lemberger combine in this dangerously quaffable wine. Editors’ Choice.
Beresford 2014 Handpicked Grenache Rosé (McLaren Vale); $25, 90 points. Almost more of a light red in style, this has the tannins to stand up to summer’s grilled meats. Vok USA.
Viña Casablanca 2015 Cefiro Reserva Syrah Rosé (Casablanca Valley); $12, 87 points. Fairly full-bodied for a rosé, this is probably best alongside grilled meat or sausages. Carolina Wine Brands USA. Best Buy.
Lime Road 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé (Western Cape); $12, 87 points. Aromas of fynbos and blackcurrant leaf lend an attractive herbal edge to the ripe red-fruit core. Meridian Prime Inc. Best Buy.