With a range of tastes and colors, it’s not just for summer anymore.
If you’ve visited a wine store recently, you may have noticed something new. Did you spot the prominent displays of rosé wines? “Well, of course,” you may think, “Rosés are the wines of summer!”
It’s time to retire that cliché. Dry rosé wines—not to be confused with sweeter blush or white zinfandels or the Mateus and Lancers wines from the last century—have experienced a huge burst in popularity in recent years, much as moscato wines did a few years back. And the trend shows no signs of slowing.
In 2015 rosé sales grew 31.8%, and sales of rosés over $11 a bottle went up almost 60%! More diverse styles of rosés are being sold, too—light, heavy and everything in between, in a range of colors from melon, peach, red currant and grapefruit to mango and Mandarin orange—plus rosés from lesser-known winemaking countries like Lebanon and Turkey. While you’ll find Provence remains a source for quality rosés—sold in the characteristic corset-shaped bottles—do try rosados from Spain and Portugal and rosatos from Italy.
As interest increases in these delicious, dry, but often fruit-forward wines, the drinking season is extending as well.
Many people, especially millennials, are now drinking rosés year-round. The French buy more rosé than white wine, and men have so confidently embraced these pink wines that the term brosé has been coined.
And with good reason! No other wines are as versatile as rosés, which can be made from virtually any grape. Food pairings are almost unlimited. And because they are best drunk young and are under-appreciated in the U.S., rosés are definitely a bargain to be had.
With the approach of cooler weather in mind, I’ve selected a variety of rosés to try, ranging from lighter- to darker-hued wines. You’ll see there’s a match here for every palate. Another surprise? These wines are interesting enough to be enjoyed by themselves.
So grab a bottle, chill it (like white wine), and savor these great rosés now and well after summer is a warm memory.
Although darker-hued rosés go well with heavy autumn and winter foods, sometimes you want something a little lighter.
Commanderie de la Bargemone Rosé Coteaux d’Aix en Provence 2015 ($14.99; 91 points from Wine Enthusiast), is a fantastic example of the classic light, dry, mineral rosés of Provence, a wine region on the southwest coast of France, along the Mediterranean. Bargemone, one of the foremost estates of the Coteaux d’Aix sub-region of Provence, was created by the Knights Templar in the 13th century and now boasts over 160 acres of vines. This highly rated salmon-colored wine, made from a blend of sustainably grown cabernet sauvignon, grenache rouge, syrah and cinsault from 25+ year-old vines, is brisk and structured with zesty acidity, flavors of watermelon rind, orange blossom, white peach, wildflowers and wet stone. Enjoy this year-round with roasted turkey, hard cheeses and dishes with fresh herbs.
Pink Pégau Rosé France 2015 ($15.99) is a delicious dark pink rosé crafted from 70% cinsault, 20% grenache rouge and 10% clairette grapes, by Laurence Féraud of Domaine du Pegau, an estate less than four miles from the famed Châteauneuf-du-Pape wine region. The vines, averaging 35–60 years in age, are planted in stony clay soils with the signature round river rocks that characterize Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Bone-dry on the palate, the wine offers aromas of berries, peach and white flowers, with bright acidity, minerality and a spicy finish. Pour it when you grill sausages or fish with lemon and capers or try it with Indian curries.
Santi Infinito Bardolino Chiaretto 2015 ($11.99) is an Italian blend of 65% corvina, 30% rondinella and 5% molinara grapes from selected parcels in the acclaimed communes of bardolino and cavaion near Lake Garda in northern Italy. This wine has a deep salmon color with fragrant aromas of cherry, black currant and grape with a savory but fruity palate. Pair it with antipasto, hearty fish stews and roasted white meats.
A translucent cherry-colored rosé of pinot noir from Oregon, Adelsheim Rosé Willamette Valley 2015 ($19.99) exhibits aromas of raspberries, rose petals and apricot, which lead to ripe red fruit flavors. Its richly textured palate results from 16% of the wine fermenting in old neutral French oak barrels. Try it with ham, bouillabaisse, goat cheese and grilled shrimp.
For a great dark rosé, try Yorkville Vin D’Une Nuit Rosé Mendocino 2015 ($15.99). D’une nuit translates loosely to “one night stand,” so named because the dark Malbec grape skins remained soaking with the pre-fermented juice for just a few hours, giving the wine a translucent purple-red color. Made with organic grapes from the estate’s Rennie Vineyard in the Yorkville Highlands sub-region of Mendocino, this wine’s darker color corresponds with its deeper flavors of plum, tea and rhubarb with aromas of roses, rosemary and strawberry. Enjoy this juicy, medium-bodied wine with spaghetti carbonara, Greek salad, falafel, aged Gouda, enchiladas with chilis and creamy cheeses.
Sweet Pink Wine
For the wine drinkers with a sweet tooth out there, I’ll share my favorite sweet pink wine. Alasia Brachetto d’Acqui 2014 ($11.99) is a delightfully spritzy, strawberry-colored wine with aromas of raspberry sorbet and fresh roses and flavors of strawberry, raspberry and a hint of white pepper. The brachetto grape, with its fizziness and sweet honeysuckle and fruit flavors, is comparable in taste to Moscato d’Asti wines but richer and with more berry notes. This unique dessert wine pairs excellently with decadent chocolate and berry-centric desserts, especially chocolate-covered strawberries. Or for something unexpected, try it with a spicy Chinese dish.
No matter the season, raise a glass of rosé—or rosé Champagne, but that’s another story. Happy sipping!
Kayleigh Thompson has worked in the wine industry for over six years and has earned the Certified Specialist of Wine certification from the Society of Wine Educators. She works as a Wine Specialist at the Fine Wine & Good Spirits Premium Collection store in King of Prussia, now at its new location on DeKalb Pike. Learn more at FineWineAndGoodSpirits.com.