Your Ultimate Rosé Guide For Summer

Summertime and the drinking is easy. Which translates to: It's rosé season and the options are endless. What to do when you can't figure out what rosé to buy? Ask the pros. Rodolphe Boulanger leads the beer, wine and spirits team at Fresh Direct. Yes, the people you count on to keep you well fed also have an amazing spirits department with stellar options at exceptional price points. Best part? There are exclusive Fresh Direct wine options so you won't wind up with a party full of the same stuff (Whispering Angel, we're looking at you.)

The thing is, rosé isn't just about wine in a bottle anymore. There are portable options as well as DIY kits. Ciders and tequilas with a rose essence and even gin is pink now. And it's not just for summer. "It's a year-round wine," explains Boulanger. One that looks just as good on your Thanksgiving table as it does in your beach bag. The reason it is associated with summer is do to the business end of it. "It's a vestige of Importers bringing them in as a one-shot deal and trying to sell all their inventory before Labor Day," he explains.

So, what makes a great rosé and why is it so popular? We sat with Rodolphe to find out.

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When you started with FD, the brand only sold a handful of Rosés. Now, Fresh Direct has its own rosé category. Why do you think the country went crazy for Rosé?

Rosé is something that really resonates with the demographics of our shoppers. We saw the opportunity and really focused on rosé and have been rewarded with enormous growth. Rosé has become its own alcohol category in recent years. Rosé features the best qualities of red and white wine and with the recent surge for all things pink, we've seen a lot of innovation and new product launches in the category.

How should someone shop for Rosé?

I always recommend that people should experiment. Try a bunch of different styles not only from Provence and different parts of France, but also from countries around the world. We're proud to carry a wide variety of styles and regions to ensure our customers are constantly finding new, great-tasting options.

How can Fresh Direct offer so many rosés at such a great value?

We buy early and often. We know our customers appreciate not only great value, but great quality so our efforts are constantly focused on sourcing quality, great-tasting wines that can satisfy any palate.

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How do you source what you sell?

Our in-house team tastes more than 250 rosés every year to see how the new vintages are shaping up and also to look for new products and innovations. A few new trends we're seeing are portable wines, like canned wine, boxed wine, and wine in pouches, as well as rosé ciders which are becoming category crossover phenomenon.

Fresh Direct houses some amazing Private Brand Exclusives – how do you arrive at their selection and the price point?

We start by figuring out what styles and price points are most popular with our customers. Then we keep our eye out for great wine from both our existing partners and by tasting samples from new ones.When we find a great wine that fits our customers' needs, our task shifts to label and packaging design. One of our new brands this year, Pinkscape, was created completely in house. We'd worked with that winemaking team on a project last year (Le Bon Gout Rosé) and wanted something more premium. We decided that there are plenty of traditional upscale rosés already on the market, so we decided to try something more playful and different highlighting the relaxing elements of rosé sipping and summer in general.

So, what are the must-buy rosés of the season? We've scouted some of our favorites, made our own (YES, I made my own rosé in Brooklyn),  and had Rodolphe shares his picks along with Ashley Santoro, Regional Beverage Director at The Standard in New York.

FRENCH ROSÉ MADE FOR THE EAST COAST: Hamptons Rosé is a thing this year and these wines prove it.

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Out East Rosé ($19.99): This Cotes de Provence rosé comes from an estate in the heart of Provence. Made with a blend of Cincaut and Grenache, delivers the tradition and flavors of a southern French rosé with the lighthearted of a hamptons afternoon. It's dry and crips with bright mineral essence and hints of white peach, citrus zest, wild red berries, plus hints of white flowers and baking spices Think of popping this one open with salads made with a base of summer greens like endive, radicchio and arugula and brightened with strawberries or sliced white summer peaches.

Diving in to Hampton Water Rose ($24.99): Everyone is talking about Jon Bon Jovi's dive into the wine game with Diving into Hampton Water. He and his son Jesse teamed up with famed  South of France winemaker Gerard Bertrand to create the ultimate summer sipper. The rocker wanted a fresh rosé that he could drink all day and Bertrand delivered. This wine is bursting with bright strawberry, cherry and watermelon with a touch of minerality leading into the long, dry and refreshing finish. This is your all day drinker for  salads, seafood and grilled chicken.


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Dark Horse Rosé 2017 ($9.99): This wine has made quite the splash on the rosé seen this year. Instead of opting for a pale blush rosé that lends itself to the light fare of summer, Dark Horse winemaker Beth Liston went big on a wine that can hang at that backyard BBQ just as well as Jack and Tito can.  This fruit-forward, Provence-style Rosé  will be the one they keep coming back for.

Damn Good Rosé 750ml ($12.99): Monterey is famed for its pinot noir grapes and when they are transformed into a rosé this good, well there is only one name it can get. Damn Good Rosé is a Fresh Direct exclusive, so keep an eye on its stock and load up when you can.  This refreshing rosé is bursting with watermelon, cherry, and candied strawberry flavors that is balanced with crisp acidity that keep your mouth watering for more. Works with all your favorites from burgers to salads and pizza to take out.

Channing D. Rosato Di Merlot ($19.99): Wine lovers who appreciate what Cabernet Franc can do will love this NYC-locally rosé that is both versatile and rewarding wine on its own and at the table. Instead of being a too-light merlot rosé, this one is crisp and elegant. Medium bodied with the right amount of minerality and with bold flavors of yellow fruit and citrus, this is an ideal raw seafood wine and one that makes ceviche and sushi sing in your mouth.

Sonoma Cutrer Rosé of Pinot Noir ($24.99): Every year, the crew at Sonoma Cutrer (led by an awesome team of two female winemakers) releases a Special Edition wine that is only available for one season. In 2016, the wine choice was rosé. The wine, made with their estate grown Pinot Noir grapes, was a hit. So much so that wine lovers demanded another harvest's worth. The Russian River Valley is prime Pinot Noir grape-growing region and a rosé made with these grapes is a treat. So, this year, the 2017 Rosé of Pinot Noir is out again, but will be gone soon, if not already. With just a 7000 casse run, it's going by the dozens. No doubt due to the layered flavors of  of cherry and strawberry  with bursts of rosé perfume a slight saltiness. This is a medium-bodied rosé, so think of this at dinner with foods like scallops, fish, chicken and salads tossed with citrus-forward dressings, like blood orange.

PROVENCE ROSÉS: These are the rosé that deliver the tradition of a light, dry and elegant wine

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Esprit Gassier, Cotes de Provence: This is your go-to day drinking rosé of the season. There are happy floral notes that remind you of the springtime cherry blossom bloom. And the taste is delicate with mandarin and grapefruit. It;s light bodied and and will work perfectly with crudite platters, fruit salads, spoonfuls of summer tomato and mozzarella salad and even last night's cold leftovers turned into a daytime picnic.

Domaines Ott Clos Mireille Côtes de Provence Rosé ($49.99): Domaines Ott was founded in 1912 by Alsatian engineer Marcel Ott. Today, the wineries are owned and managed by Champagne Louis Roederer, producing some of the world's most prestigious wines. These wines are made at three distinctively different estates: Château Romassan (Bandol), Clos Mireille, and Château de Selle (both Côtes de Provence) Pale and pretty in crystal-clear pink with orange undertones. The nose is delicate and fruity with notes of white peach and apricot mixed with passion fruit and mango. The taste is full, fresh and crisp with echoes of the fruity aroma amplified by citrus zest and sweet spices (cinnamon and cardamom). All of the great Domaines Ott* tradition in a friendly and elegant wine.

Pinkscape Cotes De Provence Rose ( $15.99): New and exclusive to FreshDirect, Pinkscape rosé is made from grapes grown on the sun-kissed and breezy slopes of the Côtes de Provence. So, the flavors here are clean and classic with wild berries and fragrant herbs. It's an easy choice for brunch as it adds some lightness to rich brioche breads but also works with the creaminess in quiche. This is an all day rosé.

La Chapelle Gordonne ($24.99): When wine transports you to where the grapes were grown and the sun was shining, it was made well. La Chapelle Gordonne manages to bring the sunshine and wooded hillsides of Provence to life with this wine. It is bursting with small fresh fruits and hints of pink grapefruit to give you the sun and boasts a long, pleasant finish that hints to wild strawberry fields for the earth. Sip this at a seafood dinner or during the day over  fruit and cheese.

Château de Berne Rose Expressions ($15-$30): Château de Berne dates back to the 12th century and underwent renovations in 1995 to transform it into a five-star Relais & Châteaux property, offering luxurious hotel rooms, the Michelin-starred restaurant Le Jardin de Benjamin, a spa, cooking school and 330 acres of vineyards. Once only available in France, the Chateau has decided to release a three-bottle range of dry roses in the US. The triple bottle expression range includes: EMOTION ($16): a light and refreshing blend of Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah perfect for any day of the week (we love the sea-breeze minerality of it), INSPIRATION ($20): a well-structured Grenache-dominant wine that is the brand's  go-to for dinner and ESTATE ($30) an elegant blend from Château de Berne's best parcels that will take special occasions and gift-giving to the next level.

BORDEAUX: Most rosé wine lovers know about rosé from Provence, but once you go Bordeaux, you may never go back.

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Château Auguste 2017 Bordeaux Rosé ($16): It's hard to imagine an organic rosé at under $20 but Chateau Auguste manages to do it and do it perfectly. The 50/50 blend of merlot and cabernet sauvignon come together to produce a light bodied wine mineral-accented strawberry and tangerine notes. The taste continues with more clear minerality that is light and refined. Ideal for pairing with luscious summer favorites that can use some brightness like lobster, seared salmon, duck, pasta and risotto. If you're serving a cheese plate, put this bottle alongside some classic French cheeses such as Camembert and Brie.

Château Haut Rian 2017 Bordeaux Rosé ($11): This Merlot, Cab Franc, Cab Sauv blend is the perfect light wine with big body. The Cabernet Sauvignon sees no skin contact, so the result is a wine that has flowery notes with hints of white fruit. That cab shows up with spicy paprika notes at the end, for a delicious aromatic finish.  This is a food-friendly wine that easily starts at lunch and can work its way to dinner, so have a few bottles on hand at all times.

SPARKLING: It's not a party until the bubbly is popped: festival and flavorful sparkling rosé and champagnes

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Jaillance Crémant de Bordeaux Rosé: ($15): This versatile 100% Merlot rosé is made from grapes that are lucky enough to experience 300 days of sunshine a year. Expert winemakers carefully tend to the fruit and hand harvest. Also unique is that the Crémant de Bordeaux Appellation  was originally established as an AOC in its own right in April 1990. The cellars at Pain de Sucre lie on the site of a series of one-time quarries, which ensures stability of temperature – ideal for making sparkling wines. This delicious sparkling rosé sees 18 months of cellar ageing, ideal for the  brut rosé to develop its complex flavor that is perfect as an aperitif or brunch sipper. Also pairs well with medium flavoured foods such as barbeque lamb, deep fried turkey or duck.

Pommery Brut Royal Rose ($54.99): The ultimate summer celebration wine, pop this one open for weddings, showers or anytime a toast is in order. On the nose, its bouquet bursts with small berries while the palate offers  subtle rose nature, with a supple, finely full palate appreciated for its freshness and vivacity. Ideal for appetizers, horderves or rich berry-centric desserts.


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DIY Sparkling Rose Kit ($70): Brooklyn Brew Shop created this kit for wine lovers who want to take their passion to the next level, but don't have a vineyard in their midst. Even small space dwellers can easily blend up so seriously great wine – no giant tanks or carboys required. My rosé turned out lovely - with just the right amount of effervence for a sparkling wine, dry with nice hints of red fruit and easy to rosé all day with.  All I used was this kit, a few empty champagne bottles, and a little patience to make my own wine at home. The steps to making bubbly rosé are easier than navigating your neighborhood wine shop and you'll be popping bottles in just six weeks. And all of the equipment is reusable, so all you need for your next round of bubbles is a fresh batch of ingredients.

Wineberry Rose in a Box $39.99: It may be in a box, but these winemakers are thinking out of it. Hailing from the La Londe subregion, Château des Bormettes rosé is one of the top Cinsault-based from the Côtes de Provence. Originally created for the legendary Paris department store Galeries Lafayette, this rosé is available in Wineberry Box for the first time. And with the equivalent of four bottles inside, this box is a value and ideal for a weekend away, roadtrip or boat excursions. It's a light pink colored wine, it has a nose which combines red fruit and stone fruit aromas with a hint of citrus. Across the palate floral and apricot notes are apparent with a hint of minerality. This supple, fleshy dry rosé is perfect as an aperitif or with cheese, tapas, grilled fish, pizzas, and Asian cuisine.

Underwood Sparkling Rose Can ($7.99): Oregon-made, refreshing pink bubbles on the go perfect for picnics, boat rides and rooftop parties.

Pommery POP Rose ($74.99/4 pack): Personal-sized bottles of bubbly for the ultimate celebration.

Barefoot Rosé Spritzer Can: Enjoy a burst of peach and mandarin flavor with hints of raspberry and cherries in this spritzer. It's the perfect hint of fizz and the ultimate beach bag staple.


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Gazela Vinho Verde Rose ($6.29): Gazela is a soft, light, and refreshing semi-sparkling wine, displaying the best qualities of Portugal's Vinho Verde region. With a lush green landscape, Vinho Verde may literally mean "green wine" but it translates to "young wine." Gazela is indeed meant to be drunk young, and is an extremely versatile pairing for all types of cuisine.

La Meridiana Piemonte Rosato ($14.99): This classic Italian rose is  made of 100% Barbera grape, which nod not only to the Piemonte Region, but specifically to the Monferrato terroir.  In true Italian style, this is a food friendly wine that is both delicate and intense. Notes of fresh fruit and floral play nicely while the medium body features a fine pairing of acidity and minerality. Think of this as your lunchtime wine perfect for pasta and fresh veggies.

Matilda Biodynamic Aussie Rose Bottle ($14.99): The name Matilda is both a tribute to winemaker Michel Chapoutier's daughter Mathilda and the unofficial Australian national anthem 'Waltzing Mathilda'. So this wine has a story both in the bottle and out. It's made from 100% Grenache and tastes and smells of  pomegranates and raspberries. It's great with smoked salmon, grilled fish and other light dishes.


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Domaine Du Verger Cider Rose ($8.99): This low alcohol French cider is produced from 100% apple juice (made from apples from Brittany and Normandy) and contains no added sugar. The unique pink color is natural — it comes from the use of specific red-fleshed variety of apple named Baya Marisa. The fermentation is cut short to leave a touch of sweetness in the cider.

Dewatsuru Sakura Emaki Rosé Sake (17.99): A rare elegant rosé Sake from Northern Japan, the pink hue comes from the color of the rice used to make it. There are elegant aromas of cherry and plum blossoms, underscored by notes of apples and berries. There is a light sweetness that is balanced by crisp acidity, so just like traditional sake, it's great with seafood, ceviche, grilled light meats and sushi.

Deep Eddy Ruby Red Vodka ($19.99): The vibrant grapefruit flavor is so enticing you likely don't need a mixer to enjoy Deep Eddy Ruby Red Grapefruit Flavored Vodka. It is handcrafted in their Texas distillery from real grapefruit juice for a pretty pink color.

Gran Centenario Rosangel Hibiscus Tequila ($29.99): Gran Centenario Rosangel is a 100% Agave Reposado Tequila that has rested in Port Barrels and is infused with the natural flavor of Hibiscus. The resulting finish yields a complex perfumed nose with hints of vanilla. In the mouth it is silky smooth with rich flavors of dried fruits and a long gentle finish. Enjoy Rosangel in your favorite cocktail, neat, or on the rocks.

Gin Lane 1751 'Victoria' Pink Gin ($25.99): Pink gin is having a moment and we have the British Royal Navy to thank for it. Back in the day, sailors added a few drops of bitters to their gin to help with morning after headaches and nausea (bitters are traditionally an herbal stomach tonic). Today, Gin Lane follows the same formula, enhancing the taste and color or their award winning gin with herbal bitters, juniper berries, hints of liquorice, and a refreshing citrus finish.