Rosés for Summer Sipping

This refreshing wine goes well with a huge array of summertime dishes.


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If wine lists and sidewalk café tables are anything to go by, dry rosés are becoming the hip wine of the summer. There's even a newly formed advocacy group known as RAP—Rosé Avengers and Producers—to help promote the pink stuff. Even one of Wine Enthusiast's own contributing editors is part of the trend—Jeff Morgan makes a California rosé called SoloRosa that has been well received by other publications (to avoid any conflict of interest, we don't review his wine).

One of the reasons for the rise of rosé is undoubtedly its versatility with and without food. Made from virtually any grape variety or blend of grape varieties, these refreshing drinks can ably partner a huge array of summertime dishes, from grilled fish or chicken to salads to ribs and hamburgers. Below are some of our favorites we've tasted this year. Try to find the latest vintage, as often these wines don't age particularly well, although some Tavel or Bandol can improve for a year or two.

Some of the world's top rosé wines:

Argentina
86 Finca Sophenia 2005 Altosur Malbec Rosé (Tupungato); $10. Reddish in color, which announces that it's Malbec. The nose is sizable but fresh, with riper, sweeter aromas. A bit more zesty in the mouth than you might expect, with an expansive, almost Beaujolais-like finish. Well balanced; a good pink wine. Imported by Tastings Import Company. Best Buy --M.S.

Australia
91 Charles Melton 2005 Rosé (Barossa Valley); $15. This is probably the best rosé that comes out of Australia. It has an underlying, piquant citrus note, and raspberry and black cherry flavors galore. Medium-full in the mouth, it's dry, chalky, refreshing. Darkens and deepens on the finish. A crazy blend of Grenache (47.2%), Shiraz (18%), Pinot Meunier (16%), Cab Sauv (15.5%) and PN (3.3%). Imported by Bluewater Wine Co. Best Buy --D.T.

89 Yangarra Estate Vineyard 2005 Rosé Grenache-Shiraz McLaren Vale; $15. This 70-30 Grenache-Shiraz blend is full but very dry. Yangarra's first rose has a strong core of minerality, dressed up with blackberry and raspberry fruit and a light orange-peel accent. Rosés have reputations for being fun wines, and this one is, too, but in this case, "fun" and "serious" aren't mutually exclusive. Imported by Sovereign Wine Imports. --D.T. 

Chile
87 Santa Rita 2005 120 Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé (Maipo Valley); $8. Great color; spicy and full of plum-based aromas. Lucid from start to finish, and a true overachiever in this class of wine. Flavors of cherry and nectarine are fresh and full. Finishes clean as crystal. Perfect for a spring picnic. Imported by Vineyard Brands. Best Buy --M.S.

France
90 Chateau d'Aqueria 2004  Rosé (Tavel); $16. A lovely, fruit-filled rosé, yet one that manages to tie in notes of mineral and spice to complement cherry pie and peach flavors. Medium-bodied, with a long, complex finish. Imported by Kobrand. Editors' Choice --J.C.

89 Château Guiot 2005 Rosé (Costières de Nimes); $11. The price is almost ridiculous for the quality. This is a dark, plummy rosé, perhaps best served with beef because of its bold flavors, full-bodied, textured mouthfeel and slightly tannic finish. Next time you're thinking Beaujolais, try this instead. Imported by Robert Kacher. Best Buy --J.C.

89 Domaine Lafond Roc-Epine 2005 Rosé (Tavel); $0. Tavel is famous for its rosés, and wines like this are the reason. First, there's the beautiful red rose color. Then the complex, inviting bouquet of cherries, peaches and herbs. Stone fruit flavors are bolstered on the finish by refreshingly cool herb and mineral shadings. A complete package. Imported by Michael Skurnik. --J.C. 

88 Domaine de Gournier 2005 Rosé (Vin de Pays des Cévennes); $9. Yet another in importer Bobby Kacher's stable of bargain-priced rosés, this one offers slightly floral scents alongside hints of crushed stone, while the flavors lean toward rose petals and raspberries with a squirt of lime juice. Silky on the finish, with tangy acids for refreshment. Imported by Robert Kacher. Best Buy --J.C.

88 Mas de Gourgonnier 2005  Rosé (Les Baux de Provence); $0. Just from its bold, rosy color, you can tell this isn't a namby-pamby rosé, and the wine's assertive flavors confirm that impression. Pomegranate and ripe berry flavors pick up hints of smoke and cocoa. Probably better with meats than fish, and bold enough to stand up to the outdoors. Imported by Michael Skurnik. --J.C. 

87 Domaine de Nizas 2005 Rosé (Coteaux du Languedoc); $16. An interesting wine, one that offers ripe watermelon and strawberry fruit but also intriguing herbal nuances that add complexity. It's on the full-bodied side of things, but creamy textured and not at all heavy, with a refreshing snap to the finish. Imported by Clos du Val Wine. --J.C. 

86 Commanderie de la Bargemone 2005 Rosé (Coteaux d'Aix en Provence); $0. This medium-hued rosé drinks more like a white wine, with stony, mineral scents, light body, melon and citrus flavors and a tart, stony finish. Worth trying this summer as an apéritif or with fish. Imported by Hand Picked Selections. --J.C. 

86 Reserve St. Martin 2005 Rosé Syrah Vin de Pays d'Oc $7. Nearly always a decent value, this vintage has turned out even better than usual, offering berry and milk chocolate aromas and flavors that are fresh and fruit driven. Nicely textured on the finish, with soft tannins that make it easy to drink. Imported by Pasternak. Best Buy --J.C.

Italy
86 Cusumano 2005 Rosato (Sicilia); $10. Why more Italian producers don't make rosé is anyone's guess. This raspberry-colored wine illustrates Sicily's potential with a varied aromatic offering of blueberry, marzipan, white chocolate and berry pannacotta. It is a consistent and creamy wine that can stand up to usually difficult to pair fish soup. Imported by Vin Divino. Best Buy --M.L.

86 Tasca d'Almerita 2005 Le Rose Nerello Mascalese Sicilia $12. A beautifully luminous rosé with a peach-raspberry hue made from Nerello Mascalese (vinified white) that sees contact with Nero d'Avola skins for color. The pretty aromas include raspberry, strawberry and stone fruit and the wine's freshness and structure is reminiscent of rosés from southern France. Imported by Winebow.  --M.L. 

Spain
87 Marqués de Cáceres 2005 Dry Rosé (Rioja); $8. Simple and clean, with a pretty rose tint and basic but nice berry and leather aromas. Quite natural, with fresh cherry and raspberry flavors. Full and grabby on the finish as it hits the spot. Drink this year. Imported by Vineyard Brands. Best Buy -M.S.

USA
87 Calera 2005 Vin Gris of Pinot Noir (Central Coast); $14. You'll find lots of flavor and interest in this dry blush. Don't be put off by the screwtop; it's a complex wine, with strawberry and raspberry cream, thyme and vanilla flavors. Too bad there aren't more rosés like this. --S.H. 

For more rosé reviews, visit our buying guide.

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