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A few suggestions make life rosé-ier

A few suggestions make life rosé-ier

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)
Rose a light sippy for sissys? Hardly!

Rose a light sippy for sissys? Hardly!

If you read my column regularly you know I am a dedicated rose wine enthusiast. One of my greatest joys as a wine educator is to watch someone who thinks of rose as strictly sweet discover the palate-pleasing range of styles this wine has to offer.

As rose overcomes its cloying reputation, more and more wine drinkers are discovering that, just as with reds and whites, there’s a rose for everyone.

We sometimes think of rose wines as dainty, low-alcohol summer sipping wines, but this isn’t always the case. Roses can be robust, high-alcohol wines equal to many full-bodied cabernet sauvignons, topping 14.5 percent alcohol.

In determining which style of rose is best for you, it’s important to look at its composition.


One of my favorite vineyard memories is sitting on the deck overlooking Presqu’ile Winery’s Santa Maria Valley vineyards sipping their rose. We generally don’t think of pinot noir as a grape variety for rose. But it only takes one taste of Presqu’ile’s expression to bring you to a new love of rose. Made using 100 percent pinot noir from their vineyards, Presqu’ile makes its rose using the direct pressing method, fermented by native yeasts and aged 6 months in stainless steel.

  • 2016 Presqu’ile Vineyard Rose of Pinot Noir, California (about $20 retail)



For those thinking of rose as a “ladies who lunch” kind of drink or the sweet syrup mixture popularized in the 1970s and ’80s, then it’s time you meet Tavel rose. The Tavel AOC (Appellation d’Origine Controlee) is in France’s southern Rhone wine region. It is France’s only region that exclusively produces rose wine. It is legend on its own, but it was also said to be one of Ernest Hemingway’s favorite wines. Hemingway is often thought of as a man’s man, and this expression of rose definitely falls at the masculine end of the spectrum. Made primarily from Grenache and cinsualt, these dry wines have more body and complexity than other roses and are often compared to red wines with less color.

  • 2016 Chateau D’ Aqueria Tavel Rose, France (about $22 retail)



White Zinfandel is perhaps the best known and most popular rose wine in America. These wines not only account for the most sales by volume for rose, but also represent over half of all zinfandel production. Aromas of strawberry, cotton candy, sweet melon as well as high acidity are in line with the American palate, making white zinfandel a popular, refreshing summer drink.

There is a world of difference in how the zinfandel grape for red wine (high alcohol, jammy, peppery full-bodied wines) are brought to market versus rose. The name “white zinfandel” was coined by Bob Trinchero of Sutter Home in the 1970s after a zinfandel vat of juice became “stuck” during fermentation. (If the juice does not fully become overtaken by the yeast and ferment to dry, the sugars are not converted and it leaves a sweetness to the wine.) Rather than see a glass empty, he decided on half full and today we have “white zinfandel.”

  • 2016 Buehler Vineyards White Zinfandel, California (about $10 retail)
For refreshment, rose wine is go-to

For refreshment, rose wine is go-to

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)

Rose soothing on a searing hot day

As temperatures reach sweltering levels many readers are asking similar questions when it comes to summer heat and wine.

Can you drop a few ice cubes into your wine to give it a quick cool-down?

It seems the perfect solution to quickly cool a glass of wine, but it can alter the taste and balance. Wine, unlike other beverages, has a perfect balance of water, sugar, acid, tannin and alcohol. Adding ice disrupts this balance.

What is the fastest way to cool a bottle of wine?

Place the bottle in a half water, half-ice solution for 10 minutes or a quick freezer chill for 10 to 20 minutes.

Will leaving a bottle of wine in the car on a hot day make it go bad?

I consider myself a wine rule follower but last summer I forgot a bottle in my trunk in sweltering 100-degree temperatures. Not only did the cork start to push out and spew wine in my shopping bag but, worse, it tasted stewed. When wine is subjected to temperatures over 100 degrees, you can be sure its quality will be jeopardized. This can happen in a relatively small amount of time in cars with excessive inside temperatures. I like to treat wine as I would milk and ice cream. You wouldn’t leave these items in the car while you take on an afternoon of errands in summertime heat.

Can red wines be refreshing during the summer months?

Many people serve red wines entirely too warm, especially in the summer. If the bottle of wine is sitting out in your home it most likely will be warmer than if it was tucked away in a cool cellar. The tradition of drinking red wines at room temperature does not apply to consumers in sweltering heat. The ideal temperature for a red wine is best between 58 and 65 degrees. If your bottle feels too warm, pop it in the refrigerator for 10 minutes. Don’t leave it in too long or you’re left with a glass devoid of fruits and packed with tannin overload.

Is there one wine style you recommend for summer?

Rose, rose, rose (ro-zay). This perfect summer wine offers the cool, refreshing characteristics of white wine. I will stay on my rose wine soapbox until I am confident that wine lovers have given them a fair try. Many people still associate rose with its 1970s reputation: cheap, sweet, slightly fizzy — the pink drink at an afternoon cookout, wedding reception or even, unforgivably, a dinner party. The truth is a quality rose wine is neither sweet nor fizzy and in most cases bone dry, refreshing with beautifully aromatic characteristics ideal for summer menus.