24 Summer Rosés
At their worst, rosés offer little beyond flabby, fruity and sweetly concocted flavors. It’s an association perpetuated by mass-produced bottles and decades of white Zinfandel and blush wines that, while popular, were not particularly appealing to discerning wine lovers.
But at their best, dry still rosés—which come in an almost unimaginable range of pinkish hues—establish a festive tone, refresh parched palates and are ideal accompaniments to summer fare.
Good, balanced rosé is being made all over the world. While styles vary from round and robust to fresh and laser-focused, the category speaks to the clean flavors of summer cuisine and relaxed outdoor living.
The best rosés, like many of our editors’ favorites featured here, transcend this level of delicious drinkability. These provide what great wines of any style can offer—a window onto the place from which they come.
—The Editors of Wine Enthusiast
Photos by Todd Huffman
86 Marqués de Cáceres 2013 Rosé (Rioja, Spain); $9. Year after year, Marqués de Cáceres puts out one of Spain’s most consistently pleasant rosés. That it costs less than a rectangular piece of paper with Alexander Hamilton’s picture on it is a bonus. Made from Tempranillo and Garnacha, this wine is fermented in stainless steel after a brief maceration and separation of must from skins. Cherry and raspberry aromas are clean as can be, while a juicy palate brings cherry and plum skin flavors along with citrusy acids. This rosé is the definition of a summer quaffer, perfect for drinking on its own or with salads and grilled vegetables. Vineyard Brands. —M.S.
85 Domaine D’en Ségur 2013 Le Rosé (Côtes du Tarn, France); $13. Ségur dates back to the Middle Ages, when it was a resting place on the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. This rosé’s blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah is typical of the open approach taken by oenologist Caroline Schaller, who also grows Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and local grapes in her vineyards close to the Tarn River. It’s a fresh and crisp rosé with a vivid pink color, equally vivid red fruits and refreshing acidity. Bird Rock Imports. —R.V.
91 Mas de Cadenet 2013 Rosé (Côtes de Provence Sainte-Victoire, France); $25. The Negrel family has owned this typical Provence estate since 1813. Against a dramatic backdrop—the sheer rock face of Monte Sainte-Victoire—and close to where artist Cézanne had his studio, the 110-acre estate produces rosé, red and white wines. The rosé, a blend of Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah, features rich, ripe red-fruit flavors balanced by crisp acidity. One of the rare rosés that will improve with some time in the bottle, it should be even better by the end of 2014. David Bowler Wine. —R.V.
88 Batič 2012 Semi-Dry Rosé (Vipavska Dolina, Slovenia); $23. Made from Cabernet Sauvignon, this medium-pink wine has aromas of Turkish delight and cherry blossoms. The strawberry and rose flavors make for a nice apéritif, while a touch of residual sugar combined with pronounced astringency cut through the spice of Thai or Chinese food. Hailing from western Slovenia near the Italian border, grapes of the Vipava Valley benefit from both warm Adriatic breezes and cool Alpine air. Stainless-steel fermentation using indigenous yeasts allows the fruit and floral notes to shine. Blue Danube Wine Co. —J.J.
86 Domaine Matthias et Emile Roblin 2013 Origine Rosé (Sancerre, France); $30. Best known for its white wines, Sancerre produces some delicious rosés from Pinot Noir. The Roblin family has been growing grapes for four generations. Their 41-acre vineyard on white chalk soil is divided into 40 parcels. Their fragrant, fresh rosé is full of red fruits and tight acidity. It’s as crisp and bright as anything, a delicious summer refresher to drink now. Vintage ’59 Imports. —R.V.
90 Recanati 2012 Rosé (Galilee, Israel); $15. A blend of Barbera and Merlot, this rosé falls at the dark end of the pink spectrum, a clue to the wine’s rich mouthfeel. Taking advantage of Israel’s hot, sunny days and cool nights, winemaker Gil Shatsberg’s rosé combines the best traits of a full-bodied red and a crisp, fresh white. Opulent flavors of peach, rose petal, clove and cranberry are terrific on their own, or alongside spicy seafood or chicken dishes. Palm Bay International. —M.D.
90 Cà dei Frati 2013 Rosa dei Frati (Riviera del Garda Bresciano, Italy); $24. Made using a blend of Groppello, Marzemino, Sangiovese and Barbera grown near Lake Garda, this refreshing rosato shows class and breeding. It opens with floral aromas of spring flowers and berries. The savory palate delivers apple, cherry, almond and a hint of white pepper alongside lively acidity. Pair this with cold cuts, summer salads or a plate of sliced mozzarella and fresh tomatoes. VOS Selections. —K.O.
90 Tselepos 2013 Driopi Rosé (Peloponnese, Greece); $14. This 100% Agiorgitiko reflects winemaker Yannis Tselepos’s commitment to creating indigenous wines with international appeal. This balanced, elegant rosé starts with vibrant strawberry and cherry aromas, followed by a lively combination of red berries, citrus and crisp saline flavors. Refreshing and light, this is a versatile food wine (think fruit salad, grilled seafood, spicy Asian) and great patio choice. Cava Spiliadis. —S.K.
90 Tranche 2013 Blackrock Vineyard Pink Pape Rosé (Yakima Valley, Washington); $16. Winemaker Andrew Trio says the Counoise, Cinsault and Grenache are grown specifically for this rosé. Harvested while the natural acids remain high and quickly pressed, the aim is to produce a pale wine, but one with focus and depth. This is fragrant and full-bodied, with berry fruit, light spice and excellent length. Enjoy it with seafood dishes like scallops, mussels or white fish. —P.G.
90 Ponzi 2013 Pinot Noir Rosé (Willamette Valley, Oregon); $20. Luisa Ponzi believes Oregon Pinot Noir is perfectly suited for light styles of rosé. This jaw-dropping wine makes her point. The fruit is picked early at 21˚ or 22˚ brix, selected specifically for this rosé from high-elevation sites. It’s a luscious wine, with scents of just-picked strawberries. Ponzi says she drinks it with barbecue—and the tangy, crisp acidity will certainly cut through the heat of both sauce and weather. —P.G.
91 Wölffer 2013 Grandioso (The Hamptons, Long Island, New York); $29. Wölffer rosé has long been the fashionable summer quaffer of the Hamptons, the tony beach community just two hours from New York City. While the standard bottling usually sells out prior to midsummer, Grandioso’s intense palate and refreshing, elegant style make it worth the upgrade. Dusty pink in color, it has a gorgeous salinity reminiscent of a sea breeze accenting delicate aromas of raspberry and peach. The palate is crisp but concentrated, with white peach and yellow cherry flavors. It’s primarily Merlot, but includes 22% Cabernet Franc and 9% Chardonnay. It’s an invigorating wine, but you’ll have to act quickly—only 614 cases were made. —A.I.
89 Turkey Flat 2013 Rosé (Barossa Valley, Australia); $20. The 2013 offers the ample body and ripe fruit that have made this wine a favorite at Wine Enthusiast for more than a decade. It’s a purpose-built blend of 81% Grenache, 10% Shiraz, 6% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3% Dolcetto that the Schulz family has been making since 1994. The cherry-berry fruit is backed by white chocolate, which gives the wine the necessary richness to stand up to grilled meat, and citrus, which keeps it refreshing. It’s warm, sunny Barossa in a glass. American Estates Wines, Inc. —J.C.
92 Lynmar 2013 Rosé of Pinot Noir (Russian River Valley, California); $20. This refreshing wine from Russian River Valley-based Lynmar is classically light and fragrant. Layers of strawberry and raspberry grace the palate, with traces of pomegranate and citrus on the finish. It evolves darker, riper fruit in the glass, getting prettier as it goes along. Deliciously dry and dancing in acidity, this is a substantial enough wine for spring and summer meals that’ll serve equally well on its own, a plate of charcuterie never too far away. —V.B.
90 Château de Lancyre 2013 Rosé (Coteaux du Languedoc Pic Saint Loup, France); $21. This chateau was originally built on the ruins of a 12th-century fort, with winemaking records dating back to 1550. The vineyards are just 15 miles from the Mediterranean, at almost 2,000 feet above sea level. This blend of 50% Syrah, 40% Grenache and 10% Cinsault is bold and lively, with aromas and flavors of ripe raspberry, red cherry and white melon, framed by hints of garrigue. The subtly textured palate lends structure and depth, with ample acidity providing lift and balance. Pair this with simple grilled meat or chicken. Hand Picked Selections. —L.B.
86 Quinta da Lagoalva de Cima 2012 Espirito (Tejo, Portugal); $11. Lagoalva de Cima is a 14,000-acre aristocratic estate centered on an 18th-century palace still owned by the descendants of the Dukes of Palmela. It’s in the wide plain to the east of the River Tejo northeast of Lisbon, the most fertile part of Portugal. They grow cereals, breed Lusitano horses, have a hunting reserve and own a food distribution company, as well as producing olive oil and wine from a 100-acre vineyard. The Espirito rosé is a blend of Syrah and Touriga Nacional that’s intensely fruity, full with red berries and spirited acidity. It’s fresh and crisp, with a cool-climate, light and airy feel. Winebow. —R.V.
92 Pietradolce 2013 Rosato (Etna, Italy); $21. Brothers Michele and Mario Faro, along with famed consulting enologist Carlo Ferrini, are crafting a stunning and structured rosato from the native Nerello Mascalese grape using 50-year-old vines located 1,968 feet above sea level on Mount Etna’s northern slopes. “This is born in the vineyard, when we choose top-quality grapes specifically for rosato in mid-October,” says Michele. “We ferment in steel and forgo malolactic fermentation.” It’s loaded with finesse, boasting tart apple, wild cherry, strawberry, citrus, white pepper and intense mineral sensations alongside crisp acidity. Pair it with everything, from pasta to prosciutto. Empson USA. —K.O.
91 Château Vignelaure 2013 La Source (Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence, France); $15. Roughly 1,200 feet up in the remote hills east of Aix-en-Provence, Château Vignelaure produces great reds from old Cabernet Sauvignon vines brought from Bordeaux’s Château La Lagune by Georges Brunet, who created the modern vineyard in the 1960s. The rosé is more conventionally Provençal, combining Grenache, Syrah and Cinsault, but it also has a smidgen of Cabernet. It’s one of those rare rosés that can age a few months. Rounded yet fresh, crisp while ripe and fruity, it has finely textured berry fruit and attractive acids that cut through the wine’s ample flesh. Blue Coast International. —R.V.
90 Carol Shelton 2013 Wild Thing Rendezvous Rosé (Mendocino County, California); $15. We love a winemaker who shares her own recipes to pair with her wines. Sonoma County owner-winemaker Carol Shelton recommends a Hawaiian-style Ahi Poke salad with her substantial Rendezvous Rosé, made largely from organically grown Carignane. The depth of flavor and hefty texture mirror similar characteristics in the tuna, and the colors nearly match, too. Shelton combines Carignane juice “bled” from a tank after three days of cold maceration on the skins with small amounts of juice from several other red grape varieties. She then ferments the blend cold in stainless steel to preserve the fresh cherry and raspberry flavors. —J.G.
92 Alta Maria 2013 Pinot Noir Rosé (Santa Maria Valley, California); $18. Coming from Rancho Viñedo’s 40-year-old Pinot Noir vines, this wine’s pink color looks like the sun shining through a rose petal. Its aromas of honey, buttered popcorn and pecan pie are just as appealing. Flavors of poached salmon continue into a long finish, focused by crisp acidity. Winemakers James Ontiveros and Paul Wilkins pick these grapes at least 1˚ brix earlier than their red wines, then whole-cluster press and stainless-steel ferment at cold temperatures. —M.K.
93 Charles Heintz 2013 Rosé of Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast, California); $19. Acclaimed grower Charles Heintz, who sells grapes to the likes of Williams Selyem, Littorai, Flowers and DuMol, has teamed with winemaker Hugh Chappelle, whose past assignments include Lynmar and Quivira, to make this estate-grown rosé. So juicy and alive in peach, citrus and strawberry notes, it’s a jolt of electricity that remains mouthwatering and light in weight. The vineyard is cool, located 900 feet above sea level on the second mountain ridge in from the Pacific Ocean. —V.B.
MORE EDITOR FAVORITES
92 Analemma 2012 Atavus Vineyard Rosé of Pinot Noir (Columbia Gorge, Washington); $25. —S.S.
91 Umathum 2013 Rosa (Burgenland, Austria); $25. Winemonger. —A.K.
88 Domaine de Saint-Antoine 2013 Syrah Rosé (Pays du Gard, France); $12. Robert Kacher Selections. —J.C.
87 Boschendal 2013 The Rose Garden Rosé (Coastal Region, South Africa); $13. Pacific Highway Wines & Spirits. —L.B.