Top Rosés for Springtime Drinking

Warm weather means the time to drink rosé has arrived, and not a moment too soon
Hogwash / Real Campinos

If you don’t drink rosé regularly, consider this your starting nine.

Warm weather means the time to drink rosé has arrived, and not a moment too soon for me. There are a number of general things that appeal to me about good, dry rosé. First, since you’re serving them chilled, they tend to be refreshing. Rosé is also often delicious all by itself, but the good ones also tend to be quite food friendly. I just tasted through more than two dozen examples of rosé; these are my favorites from that group.

Real Compañía 2012 Rosado — This Spanish rosé is a blend of garnacha (60 percent) and tempranillo (40 percent). All of the fruit was sourced in the La Mancha area located in Central Spain. Eight hours of skin contact occurred before the juice was bled off. Temperature-controlled fermentation followed. This wine has a suggested retail price of $9.99. Strawberry aromas are abundant on the nose and supported by wisps of fresh cream. The palate is filled with juicy red fruit flavors such as watermelon and cherry. The finish is crisp and refreshing with bits of spice and continued red fruit flavors. It’s fruity and juicy but ultimately a dry rosé. It’s delicious all by itself and a revelation with charcuterie. This wine is an outstanding value that would still be worth purchasing if it sold for twice the price. Buy a case and drink it all summer, you’ll surely thank me.

Cune 2012 Rosado — This rosé is composed entirely of tempranillo. All of the fruit is from the Rioja Alta region of Spain. The juice was bled off after 24 to 48 hours of skin contact followed by temperature- controlled fermentation. This wine has a suggested retail of $14. The nose brings to mind a bowl of fresh red and black cherries sitting on a window sill waiting to be devoured. The palate is loaded with wild strawberry flavors as well as continued cherry characteristics and bright red raspberry. This finish is crisp with zippy acidity punctuated by white pepper. I had this alongside chicken with a maple-lime-siracha marinade and it just killed.

Cachette 2012 Rosé — This wine is composed entirely of grenache noir. The fruit is entirely from the Gard section of France’s Languedoc region. It spent three hours on the skin prior to pressing. Temperature controlled fermentation took place prior to aging in stainless steel. This rosé has a suggested retail of $14.99. Bright strawberry and stone fruit aromas fill the inviting nose of this rosé. The palate is studded with a bevy of cherry flavors both red and black. Rhubarb, sour black cherries, and white pepper are all in evidence on the finish along with a gentle splash of crème fraîche. This wine is perfectly dry and beautifully balanced. It’s a wonderful partner for light summery foods.

Hogwash 2013 Rosé — This wine was produced from fruit sourced in several regions of California including Mendocino and the Central Coast. The Hogwash rosé is made entirely of grenache. This wine has a suggested retail price of $16. From the moment you pour it, the beautiful, extremely pale color of this rosé is striking in the glass because of its subtlety. White melon and strawberry aromas emerge from the welcoming nose. Watermelon characteristics are ever-present on the palate; they’re supported by bits of orange zest. Minerals, spice, and final bits of red fruit highlight the clean, crisp finish which begs you back to the glass for sip after sip. This is a fine New World take on Old World style, specifically Provencal.

Stinson Vineyard 2012 Rosé — This wine is entirely mourvèdre and all of the fruit is from the Monticello region of Virginia. After 72 hours on the skin, it was fermented and aged in stainless steel. This wine has a suggested retail of $16.99. Stinson’s rosé has a beautiful salmon hue. A mélange of fresh red fruits are evident on the nose. The palate is fruity and vibrant with Bing cherry and watermelon flavors in strong evidence. The finish shows off a bit of salinity, zippy white pepper, and sour cherry. It’s refreshing, delicious, and just begging to be paired with food. Matching it with Thai would be a winning combo.There’s something to be said for wines that meet at the metaphorical intersection of white and red, offering some of the characteristics of both.

Château Saint-Sulpice 2013 Sarah Rosé Clairet — The fruit for this wine is entirely from Bordeaux. It’s made up of a blend of merlot (89 percent) and cabernet sauvignon (20 percent). This wine, made from estate fruit, has a suggested retail of $17. This rosé stands out immediately for its color which is deeper and darker than most by a bit. Raspberry and red cherry aromas light up the nose which is bursting with life. The palate is a who’s who of cherry characteristics; red and black, sweet and sour are all present here in droves. Vanilla bean, pepper, and continuing red fruits emerge on the finish along with a gentle bit of pleasing savory green herb. This is a refreshing wine that is also a touch bigger and firmer than most. It’ll match up nicely with the bolder foods of summer.

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Štoka 2013 Teran Rosé — This wine from Slovenia is composed entirely of teran. This grape is largely grown in parts of Italy, Croatia, and Slovenia. The vines sourced for this wine had about 20 years of age on them at harvest. This rosé has a suggested retail price of $18.99. White flower and orange zest aromas mark the lovely, restrained nose of this Slovenian rosé. Dried red fruits, complemented by wisps of fresh fruit elements inform the deep and gently layered palate. A bevy of citrus elements are in play as well and they lead into the finish which shows off tart green apple. This terrific expression of rosé is beautiful and delicious with layers of subtle depth that hit your palate in wave after wave as you sip it. This is a unique, must try wine.