Over the last few years the United States has learned what most of the world has known for a long time: Rosé isn’t just for summer. That said, spring and summer are still the seasons when most rosé wine is consumed and when many of them are released. These days rosé is sold in bottles, boxes and cans. It comes in many shades and styles, and there are rosés for every taste and budget. I recently tasted five dozen examples of rosé from all over the world; here are 18 of my favorites and a look at the best book about rosé out there.
The wines and book that are the subject of this review were provided at no cost to the writer.
“Drink Pink: A Celebration of Rosé” by Victoria James ($25). If you want to learn about rosé, you’d be hard-pressed than to do better than this fantastic book from sommelier Victoria James. It covers everything, including production techniques, regional differences, cocktail and food recipes, and pairing suggestions, as well as quotes about rosé from various chefs and sommeliers. It’s a good-looking book that’s loaded with fun illustrations and, most importantly, it’s an entertaining read. Bring it out to your deck or patio with a bottle and have twice the fun.
A to Z Wineworks Oregon Rosé 2017 ($15). This rosé is made up largely of sangiovese. Fresh red fruits such as strawberry and cherry fill the nose. Watermelon, red raspberry, spice and hints of citrus appear on the palate. Sour red fruits and wisps of savory herb mark the solid finish.
Masciarelli Villa Gemma Cerasuolo d'Abruzzo DOC 2017 ($16). This wine is made entirely from Montepulciano, the region’s dominant red grape. The nose is loaded with red fruit aromas tinged by white pepper and hints of tangerine zest. Dried and sour red fruits are evident on the finish along with bits of savory green herbs and freshly cracked hazelnut.
Bodegas Bilbainas Viña Pomal Rioja Rosé 2017 ($16). This Spanish rosé is a blend of garnacha and viura. This selection has a lovely light pink hue. Fresh-cut rose petals and just-ripe strawberry lead the nose. The palate shows off Bing cherry, white pepper and bits of cranberry. A hint of red plum emerges on the solid and crisp finish. This is a terrific choice to accompany cured meats, cheeses and all sorts of dips and breads.
Pedroncelli Sonoma County Dry Rosé of Zinfandel 2017 ($17). Dry Creek Valley is the home office of zinfandel, and that’s where the Pedroncellis grow theirs. They’ve been producing a dry rosé since the 1950s, long before it was in style. Wild strawberry and cherry lead the nose and reverberate on the palate along with bits of vanilla bean and subtle spice notes. Sour red cherry emerges on the lengthy finish. One vintage after another produces delicious rosé, and the 2017 vintage is no exception.
Amble + Chase Provence Rosé 2017 ($18). Rosé packed in cans has increased in availability and popularity over the last few vintages. This offering from Provence is sold in four-packs, and each can measures 250 milliliters. Grenache, syrah, and cinsault make up the blend, as is typical of the Provence region. Red fruit aromas fill the nose, and those characteristics continue on the palate where bits of orange rind are present, too. Spice, salinity and a complement of minerals are evident on the finish. This is a delicious rosé, and the packaging is convenient and appealing as well.
Torii Mor Oregon Rosé 2017 ($18). Oregon’s Willamette Valley is one of a handful of best regions in the world to grow pinot noir. As such, it’s no surprise that a number of producers here choose this grape for their rosé production. The big nose is loaded with red fruit. Raspberry and cherry notes dominate the palate, and bits of red plum emerge on the finish. This rosé has a firm texture and lovely mouthfeel.
Lavignone Piemonte Rosato 2017 ($19). This Piedmont rosé is composed entirely of barbera. The nose is fresh and exuberant, nearly exploding from the glass. Lively red fruit leads the charge with an undercurrent of spice. The palate shows off strawberry and cherry in droves with spice continuing to play a supporting role. The finish is above average, and racy acid keeps things fresh. Pair this wine with any dish that features fresh tomatoes for incredible results.
Brooks Willamette Valley Pinot Noir Rosé 2017 ($20). Red apple, rose petals, and strawberry aromas lead the way in this rosé. The palate is stuffed with mouthwatering red fruits, bits of spice, and a dollop of citrus. The long finish exhibits continued red fruits, more spice and a subtle vein of minerals. Most impressive here is the beautiful mouthfeel.
Isabel Mondavi California Rosé 2017 ($20). Cabernet sauvignon and barbera are blended together to make up this selection. Ripe wild strawberry fills the nose, and is joined by some orchard fruits and spice. The finish is fresh and crisp, enticing you back into the glass for sip after sip.
Fleur de Mer Côtes de Provence Rosé 2017 ($20). This Provençal rosé is crisp, clean, and refreshing from the first whiff to the last sip. Light red fruit aromas and wisps of sea air are immediately evident. The palate features red cherry and gentle bits of spice. Mineral notes and fresh cherry flavors are evident on the finish.
Hearst Ranch Winery “Julia” Paso Robles Rosé 2017 ($22). Syrah, malbec, tempranillo, petit verdot, grenache, and petite sirah are all part of the blend here. Strawberry Lifesavers come to mind upon sticking your nose in the glass. A veritable avalanche of juicy red fruits dominate the palate and wisps of spice are evident too, with white pepper the most prominent. Bits of salinity drive the crisp finish. This is one of the most appealing rosés of the bunch to sip on its own.
Ponzi Vineyards Willamette Valley Pinot Noir Rosé 2017 ($22). Extremely ripe wild strawberry notes dominate the aromatics. The palate is stuffed with red fruit, light, savory herbs, and gentle hints of brewed tea. Citrus zest, white pepper and hints of baking spices are evident on the solid finish. Drink this wine now or save it for Thanksgiving, when it will pair beautifully with everything on the table.
Smoke Tree California Rosé 2017 ($22). This blend is largely grenache and zinfandel with smaller amounts of carignan, tempranillo, and mourvèdre also present. It has a very light hue and the aromatics lean to white and fleshy yellow fruits. Stone fruits are abundant on the palate and joined by bits of cherry and dollops of tropical fruit. The mouthwatering finish guarantees you’ll return for more.
Left Coast Cellars Willamette Valley Rosé 2017 ($24). Black cherry and bits of leather present on the nose, and the firm palate features Montmorency cherry, spice and a bit of black tea. Hints of tangerine rind emerge on the finish alongside pomegranate and black pepper. Delicious on its own, this wine would also pair perfectly with a mushroom and goat cheese pizza.
Simonsig “Kaapse Vonkel” Stellenbosch Brut Rosé ($25). This South African brut is composed of pinot noir (64 percent), pinotage (34 percent), and pinot meunier (2 percent). From the lovely pink hue through the above-average finish, everything about this wine is impressive. Fresh red fruit and bits of spice dot the nose. The palate is fruity and delicate, and bits of biscuit appear on the finish.
Stoller Willamette Valley Pinot Noir Rosé 2017 ($25). Stoller has been making rosé for more than a decade, and it’s become an important part of their portfolio. Wisps of citrus zest emerge from the nose alongside cherry blossom aromas. Continuing citrus zest, mango and oodles of red cherry dominate the palate. Spice and wet limestone notes mark the long finish.
Booker “Pink” Paso Robles Rosé 2017 ($30). This Paso Robles rosé is made up of grenache (92 percent), and syrah (8 percent). It’s darker in color then the majority of rosés, and looks a bit like gamay or grignolino in the glass. The nose is heady with appealing bits of dark fruit and a strong whiff of spices. Black cherry and savory herbs are evident in the palate. Red raspberry, pomegranate, and hints of Mexican vanilla bean are evident on the finish. This offering will stand up really well to barbecued foods.
Paraduxx Napa Valley Rosé 2017 ($32). This Napa Valley rosé is composed of syrah and grenache. Red fruit and citrus zest dominate the aromatics of this wine, and the palate shows off strawberry, cherry, and hints of tropical fruit. Mineral notes and spice are evident on the finish. Racy acid adds to the mouthwatering nature of this wine. With Americans drinking more rosé than any other country (except France!), this popular pink wine seems to be here to stay.