Summer’s Best Rosés

While it’s true that rosés are delicious any time of year, hot weather is still the best reason to think pink.

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 feel the same way. 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 and social media accounts like Yes Way Rosé have fueled the category’s charge.

Selected from nearly 1,000 rosés reviewed by our tasting panel, these are our picks for summer’s indispensable beverage.

Old World

Provence

Provence reigns supreme in the world of rosé. Here, the rosé is pale pink in hue and a summer staple. Typically made from Grenache, Cinsault and Mourvèdre, these rosés are known for their crisp acidity and delicate fruit flavors of fresh strawberries and watermelon.

Château d’Esclans 2016 Garrus Rosé (Côtes de Provence); $100, 93 points. This wine, which continues to stretch the bounds of Provence rosé, is rich and impressively packed with ripe fruits and spice from wood aging. It should be taken seriously both for its complexity and for its potential to age. Drink now–2020. —Roger Voss

Gassier 2017 Château Gassier Cuvée 946 Rosé (Côtes de Provence Sainte-Victoire); $50, 93 points. This is a rich, impressive cuvée, named after the cross perched above the vineyards at a height of 3,000 feet. It is packed with ripe strawberry fruits as well as a full and rounded character. The red fruits are balanced by a crisp edge that will allow it to age for several months. Drink this wine now, or wait until late 2018. —R.V.

Château Miraval 2017 Rosé (Côtes de Provence); $33, 91 points. Still owned jointly by Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, this beautiful estate has produced a rich, full wine. Made for the owners by the Perrin family of Château de Beaucastel in the Rhône Valley, this wine exhibits great sophistication, with rich caramel and strawberry fruit and spice. Drink now. —R.V.

Prime Time for Rosé from Provence

Rhône

The Rhône valley has mastered darker-hued rosés that have fruit-forward, yet spicy and herbaceous notes. While these bottlings are produced throughout the region, they’re mostly made in Tavel and mostly made with classic Rhône Valley grapes, including Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah and Mourvèdre.

Château de Nages 2017 Vieilles Vignes Rosé (Costières de Nîmes); $16, 90 points. This lip-smacking, vivacious dry rosé juxtaposes pert yellow peach, apricot and raspberry flavors against swathes of dried herb and violet. While voluptuous in body and texture, it’s fresh and thirst quenching, too. The finish lingers freshly, accented by lavender and thyme. Drink now–2020. —Anna Lee C. Iijima

Domaine des Carteresses 2017 Tavel; $16, 90 points. Invigorating fresh blackberry and raspberry notes persist from nose to finish in this dry, full-bodied rosé. It’s not as densely concentrated as other Tavel wines but is refreshingly spry and mineral. Subtle hints of garrigue and violet linger on the finish. Drink now–2020. —A.I.

Portugal

Portugal is no stranger to summer sippers. Just look to the popular spritzy and citrusy whites of Vinho Verde. Refreshing rosés, however, can be found throughout the country’s wine regions. These wines have plenty of crisp, saline-laced acidity and red currant flavors.

Fiuza 2017 Fiuza Cabernet Sauvignon-Touriga Nacional Rosé (Tejo); $15, 87 points. Two structured grapes inevitably give even a rosé with some tannins. That puts this ripe wine firmly in the food rosé category. Ripe and with plenty of weight, it is ready to drink. —Roger Voss

Quinta da Lagoalva de Cima 2017 Lagoalva Rosé (Tejo); $15, 86 points. This bright, crisp and fruity blend of Touriga Nacional and Syrah is light, perfumed with great acidity and an immediately refreshing character. It is ready to drink. —R. V.

Spain

Spanish rosé, referred to as rosado, is made across the country’s many wine-producing regions. The warm climate yields dark-colored wines made from grapes like Garnacha and Tempranillo, as well as international varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. It’s not uncommon to blend in white grapes, such as Viura. Rosés from here typically display rich notes of ripe red berries, tropical fruits and the racing acidity.

Príncipe de Viana 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé (Navarra); $15, 87 points. This orange-red tinted Cabernet opens with spice notes and the scent of apple skins. A wide yet balanced palate is ultimately basic, while this tastes of briny red fruits, earthy spices and tomato sauce. On the finish, this holds onto its saucy character, making it a food-friendly rosé. —Michael Schachner

Rio Madre 2017 Garnacha Rosé (Rioja); $11, 86 points. A hot-pink color and punchy aromas of citrus and red fruits make for a bright opening. In its current youthful state, this feels healthy and medium in body. Primary citrus flavors come with a spicy note of cactus prior to a foxy, lightly green finish. Best Buy. —M.S.

Rosé Bottles

Austria

Austria takes advantage of abundant Zweigelt to produce precise and pristine rosés that are often undervalued. Pinot Noir and St. Laurent are also used. These wines offer laser-focused acidity, with intense minerality and fruit flavors that run the gambit from fresh strawberry to ripe plum.

Markus Huber 2017 Zweigelt Rosé (Niederösterreich); $17, 90 points. Fresh strawberry and lemon entice on the nose of this pretty pale-pink rosé. The palate is juicy and vivid with lemon-zest notes which frame the tender strawberry notions. This is lovely, dry and beautifully light: summer refreshment made manifest. —Anne Krebiehl

Umathum 2017 Rosa Rosé (Burgenland); $22, 90 points. A deeper pink signals promising flavors on this vivid rosé wine. There is still a smoky hint of reduction on the nose but the palate has a real backbone of freshness and a phenolic edge that gives more expression to zesty lemon and tender red currant. This is a structured but light rosé that is made for the table. —A.K.

Italy

Italy’s rosatos are produced across the country, from Alto Adige in the north to Etna in the south. The hues of these rosés range from pale pink to vibrant cherry. The most successful and interesting examples are those made from native grapes. In Bardolino Chiaretto, the rosés are made with Corvina Veronese and have savory red fruit flavors and tangy acidity. In central Italy, bold Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo is made from Montepulciano, which is now seeing an uptick in international markets. In the south, the Puglian rosatos of Salice Salentino are made from Negroamaro. And in Castel del Monte, they rely on the grape Bombino Nero, which offers some of the most well-priced offerings.

San Salvatore 1988 2017 Vetere Aglianico Rosato (Paestum); $27, 89 points. Made entirely with organically farmed Aglianico, this juicy vibrant rosato doles out wild red berry, citrus and white-peach flavors. It’s crisp, with bright acidity while a hint of wet stone accents the tangy finish. —Kerin O’Keefe

Tormaresca 2017 Calafuria Negroamaro Rosato (Salento); $15, 88 points. Vibrant in aromas of peach, guava and watermelon, these notes carry to a creamy palate that boasts lively acidity to balance. A crushed mineral note offers further levity on the finish. —Alexander Peartree

New World

California

California arguably launched the rosé craze in the U.S. with its formerly iconic white Zinfandel. Today, the state’s many wine regions produce a range of styles, from bone dry to sticky sweet rosé. They’re made from a variety of grapes, including Cabernet Sauvignon and Touriga National.

Kokomo 2017 Pauline’s Vineyard Grenache Rosé (Dry Creek Valley); $26, 91 points. This is a lovely colored and refreshing wine, well made and satisfyingly thirst-quenching and fresh. Light bodied, it shares a wealth of high-toned orange, grapefruit and Meyer lemon, the flavors commingling with balance and grace. —Virginie Boone

Malene Wines 2017 Rosé (Santa Barbara County); $22, 91 points. This rosé, by the team at Chamisal, is a superstar in the category, offering a little bit of everything for all palate preferences. Perfumed aromas of peach, strawberry and wet gravel combine fruit with minerality, while the palate is framed by a compelling texture. Flavors of red apple and plum sail into the finish. Editors’ Choice. Matt Kettmann

Oregon

Made famous for its Pinot Noir, Oregon relies on this signature grape to produce its rosés. These wines show bright flavors of strawberry and cherry, often accompanied by spicy notes.

Sokol Blosser 2017 Estate Cuvée Rosé of Pinot Noir (Dundee Hills); $25, 91 points. Too many rosés go for power over finesse; this takes the lighter path, to good effect. Made from all organic estate fruit fermented entirely in stainless steel, it’s fragrant and spicy at just 12% alcohol. But there’s no lack of flavor: fresh strawberry, pink grapefruit and blood orange. A hint of pepper spices up the finish. Editors’ Choice. —Paul Gregutt

Washington

Washington State has conquered robust, age-worthy red blends made with classic Bordeaux and Rhône grapes. For their rosés, these same blends produce bone dry wines, with flavors mimicking the delicate strawberry and watermelon notes found in the rosés of Provence.

Charles & Charles 2017 Rosé (Columbia Valley); $12, 90 points. This wine is a pretty, pale-salmon color. Aromas of strawberry bubblegum, herb, tropical fruit and citrus peel lead to dry fruit flavors, full of papaya, guava and pink-grapefruit notes with a tart finish. It flat-out delivers. Best Buy. —Sean P. Sullivan

Glasses filled with rosé

Finger Lakes

This cool climate New York appellation has excelled in producing elegant red wines made from Cabernet Franc and Pinot Noir. Producers expertly combine this elegance and crisp acidity in the production of their rosés, which are made with Cabernet Franc and Pinot Noir.

Sheldrake Point 2017 Dry Estate Bottled Rosé (Finger Lakes); $18, 90 points. This 100% Cabernet Franc rosé offers an exuberance of watermelon, tart cherry and spicy raspberry on the nose. There’s a rounded feel to the palate, with flavors of juicy red fruit, peach and tart pomegranate. A lingering note of watermelon is heightened by a dusting of minerals. —Alexander Peartree

Australia

Australian rosé is produced not with Shiraz, but rather with Pinot Noir, Sangiovese, Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon. These full-flavored grapes produce fruity styles, with notes of ripe cherry, raspberry and watermelon.

Alkoomi 2017 Rosé (Frankland River); $17, 89 points. This rosé offers both complexity and drinkability with its aromas of raspberry leaf tea, grapefruit and white pepper. The heady combo follows through on the palate which shows a touch of tannins balanced by delicate acidity and a wild herb finish. Pair with a wide variety of spring and summer dishes or sip on its own in the sunshine. Editors’ Choice. —Christina Pickard

Argentina

Argentina is firmly a red wine country, claiming the French grape Malbec as its very own. It’s no surprise, then, that these well-tended Malbec vines also produce quaffable rosés. They also rely on Bonarda and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Finca El Origen 2017 Estate Malbec Rosé (Mendoza); $10, 87 points. A Provence-pink look helps this powdery smelling Malbec rosé give off a sense of simple freshness. Nice acidity and good balance amp up the wine’s palate, while this is citrusy in flavor, with a hint of red fruit. Best Buy. —Michael Schachner

Published on June 22, 2016
Topics: Wine Guide



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