It’s that time of year again — when I exult the praises of rosé. I have fearlessly taken on this topic for over a decade in hopes that one day the American palate would catch up with the rest of the world. It seems my campaign is working, and I have convinced many readers to step over to the pink side, into this beautiful, elegant world of rosé wines.
Americans are late comers to the pink passion party. But that’s likely because of their association of rosé with the sweet blush of white Zinfandels of the 1980s and ’90s. Today’s rosé is nothing like those white zins of the past.
I scoured my tasting notes to find the top rosé wines from around the world. It may be surprising to to learn not all are from the sacred vineyards France’s Provence region. Some of my favorites, as well as other tasters’ are from California, Oregon and Bordeaux. It is exciting to see this category expand with unique blends.
If you are not a dedicated rosé revivalist it’s my hope this week’s recommendations will help you understand why I continue to champion these wines.
The recommendations were gathered from my tasting notes, other local professionals and I am recommending them based on quality, price and, of course, availability in our market.
- 2018 Bell Rosé, California (about $15 retail)
- 2018 Acrobat Pinot Rosé, Oregon (about $14 retail)
- 2018 Erath Oregon Rosé, Oregon (about $16 retail)
- 2018 Marques De Caceres Rosé Rioja, Spain (about $13 retail)
- 2017 Matua Rosé, New Zealand (about $12 retail)
- 2018 Milou Pay D’Oc Rosé, France (about $12 retail)
- 2018 Charles Smith Vino Rosé, Washington state (about $15 retail)
- 2018 Chateau Bonnet Bordeaux Rosé, France (about $19 retail)
- 2018 Anne Amie Rosé of Pinot Gris, Oregon (about $20 retail)
- 2018 Whispering Angel Provence, France (about $26 retail)
- 2017 Francis Ford Coppola Sofia Monterey County Rosé, California (about $19 retail)
- 2018 Presqu’ile Family Vineyards Pinot Noir Rosé, California (about $25 retail)
- 2018 La Crema Monterey Rosé of Pinot Noir, California (about $19 retail)
- 2018 Gerard Bertrand Cote des Rosés, France (about $21 retail)
- 2017 Chateau D’Astros Provence Rosé, France (about $20 retail)
- 2018 Simi Sonoma County Dry Rosé, California (about $20 retail)
- 2018 Raptor Ridge Rosé of Pinot Noir, Oregon (about $20 retail)
Easter is the perfect occasion for a casual gathering with family and friends. I asked readers and friends how they would be celebrating this year and compiled my recommendations based on their answers.
I can think of no better occasion than an Easter brunch for serving dry rose wines. The meal is often an assortment of breakfast and lunch foods, but even some dinner dishes sneak into the mix. This array of choices — from sweet to savory — is a lot to ask from a single wine but dry rose wines are extremely versatile and a perfect pairing to help bridge the spectrum of flavors.
It’s best to stick with wines low in alcohol for a morning brunch. I suggest reading labels carefully because despite their delicate color, some roses can be robust with alcohol levels well into the 14 to 14.5 percent range.
- 2016 Domaine Bousquet, Argentina (about $11 retail)
- 2016 Presqu’ile Winery Rose, California (about $20 retail)
THE EGG HUNT
This menu selection is generally uncomplicated, and the focus is mainly on a few desserts and a versatile wine pairing. A sparkling wine or delicate Moscato d’Asti are ideal choices for an afternoon get-together. In addition to the celebratory touch of bubbly, these wines are also generally low in alcohol. For those looking for wine pairings for chocolate bunnies and marshmallow chicks keep in mind lighter chocolates pair best with light-bodied wines while full-bodied wines are best with robust darker chocolates.
- NV Umberto Fiore Moscato d’ Asti, Italy (about $12 retail)
- NV Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Blancs Sparkling Wine, California (about $19 retail)
THE INTIMATE DINNER
If your celebration with family and friends features a seated dinner you can showcase several wines for your guests. If you are starting with a light salad, a light-bodied pinot grigio is a good choice as it is low alcohol and doesn’t compete with most dressings. Light reds without overpowering tannins or whites without searing acidity are natural pairings with hams covered in sweet, spice and salt.
- 2016 BV Coastal Pinot Grigio, California (about $10 retail)
- 2015 Santa Barbara Winery Pinot Noir, California (about $22 retail)
If you’re a regular reader of Uncorked, you know of my love for the magnificent rose. And perhaps it is because I frequently profess my feelings that many have questioned my love of rose, wanting to know why I love dry rose so much. I generally will answer much like many of my past columns on the subject: It tastes great, is a versatile wine and matches well with almost all foods. But this past week when asked, I had a slow pause before answering and simply replied: because I live in the South and it’s hot.
A refreshing glass of chilled rose wine with its array of vibrant flavors is the perfect answer to what wine to drink on a hot day. In the past there were generally only a few styles on most retail store shelves (mostly very sweet styles), but today a whole range of rose is available in local shops with some stores having entire sections devoted to rose wines.
As with any style of wine there are different types based on the grape variety used in production. Rose wines range in color from light pink to a deep salmon. But based on the grape used for production, the styles can have many different tastes, some similar and others distinctly different.
Malbec red wine is growing in popularity as more consumers become familiar with it. The same can be said of malbec rose. When creating a rose wine the winemaker will let the juice soak on the skins of the red grapes for a very short time. The malbec grape is known for its juicy powerful skin and the rose styles reflect this with a fuller body and with tannic structure more so than other roses. A malbec rose is a crowd-pleaser, easy to drink and pairs with most proteins traditionally only thought to match with red wines.
- 2014 Domaine Bousquet, Argentina (about $9 retail)
- 2014 Calcu Rose, Chile (about $15 retail)
Pinot Noir is a finicky grape to grow; it is very sensitive to a region’s climate, soil and overall location. But this finickiness is also why we love the unique qualities of pinot noir with its elegant and powerful flavors when produced as a red wine. When a winemaker chooses to turn the grape into a rose, it showcases the same unique qualities and divine tastes. The flavors of this rose are usually cherry, raspberry, spice and bright berries.
- 2014 Elk Cove Pinot Noir Rose, Oregon (about $17 retail)
- 2014 Calera Pinot Noir Rose, California (about $25 retail)
Grenache, also known as Garnacha in Spain, is ideal for producing rose wines because of its low tannin and acidity. It almost always shows flavors of strawberry, raspberry, watermelon and sometimes lemonade.
- 2014 Penya Rose, France (about $12 retail)
- 2014 Chateau d’Aqueria Tavel, France (about $24 retail)