By Tom Marquardt and Patrick Darr
Trends come and go with wine but one trend that has not seemed to abate is rosé. Once the scourge of the market, rosé has finally locked into a permanent place in the consumer’s hit list. Sales increased 40 percent over the last year with no signs of slowing.
Rosé’s peak sales occur in the summer because people associate it with light fare and patio sipping. However, many consumers have recognized that its universal flavors appeal to a wide variety of winter food as well. Plus, not everyone is located in cold climes during the winter months.
Rosé can be made from almost any red grape variety and you can find it in nearly every country. Its bountiful acidity and lively red fruit character make it a good match to fruit and cold vegetables, most appetizers, chicken, burgers, fish and more. It does not usually have a lot of body, so meat is not a good companion.
France is the largest producer, followed by Spain, the United States and Italy. If you’ve been to southern France you know that rosé is served by the carafe at outdoor cafes along the Med.
We tend to favor the rosés from the Rhone Valley and Provence. Here rosé is often the primary if not only wine made, so it gets the winemaker’s undivided attention. In California, rosé is usually an afterthought – a secondary wine to fill a need but not one winemakers will give their most attention.
The rosés from the Rhone use the grapes that seem to make the best wines everywhere: grenache, syrah, mourvedre and cinsault.
We’ll be reviewing rosés all summer. Here are a few to get your summer started:
Revelation by Goose Ridge 2022 ($18). From the Goose Gap AVA of Washington state, this racy blend is made up of syrah, pinot gris, merlot, mourvedre and grenache. Strawberry and watermelon flavors.
DAOU Paso Robles Rosé 2021 ($24). Made entirely from grenache noir grapes, this rosé in a very attractive bottle has citrus and pineapple aromas followed by lush stone fruit and melon flavors. There are a lot of layers of fruit here to tease the palate.
Quivira Wine Creek Ranch Rosé 2022 ($30). This Dry Creek Valley rosé is a blend of grenache (59 percent), primitivo, counoise, petite sirah and mourvedre. That sort of melange provides layers of intense red berry, stone fruit and citrus fruit character. Complex and balanced.
The Mill Keeper California Rosé 2022. This delicious wine is a hodge podge of grape varieties: cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, merlot, grenache, malbec, petit verdot, and petite sirah. Watermelon, strawberry and cranberry notes.
Justin Central Coast Rosé 2022 ($20). Made mostly of syrah, this easy-drinking rosé has a salmon color to tease you into a combination of red fruit and herbal flavors.
Lucy Rosé of Pinot Noir 2020 ($24). This is our favorite of the year. There is so much going on: strawberries, raspberries, peaches, watermelons, cloves, and citrus. A bit of oak aging balances the fresh acidity in this wine to give it more texture and mouthfeel. One of the best wines from the impressive portfolio of the Pisoni family. A dollar of each rosé sold goes to breast cancer research.
Chapoutier Belleruche Cotes du Rhone Rosé 2022 ($18). Chapoutier continues to make a consistently good and surprisingly complex rosé year after year. This blend of grenache, syah and cinsault makes for a fresh red berry and apricot mix. The producer’s Mathilde Chapoutier rosé from the Cotes de Provence ($21) is an equally stunning wine with grapefruit and peach notes.
Chateau Beaubois Expression Costieres de Nimes 2022 ($13). A good value, this blend of grenache, syrah and marselan grapes has blackberry notes with a dash of licorice.
Bouchaine Vin Gris of Pinot Noir 2022 ($29). Zesty and lively with strawberry and watermelon notes, good acidity and a touch of melon.
Chateau d’Aqueria Tavel 2022 ($20). Dark in color and surprisingly complex in character, this rosé has a bright red fruit character with a dash of spice
Villa Leyda Rosé ($14). Made entirely from pinot, this Chilean rosé has fresh red berry flavors and nice acidity.
Souleil Le Rosé 2022 ($18). This mostly grenache rosé made from organically farmed vineyards has everything you would expect from southern France: fresh melon and mineral aromas with strawberry and cherry flavors.
Tenuta di Capezzana Vin Ruspo Rosato di Carmignano 2022 ($19). From a subzone of Tuscany, this rosato is made mostly from sangiovese grapes. Floral aroma with cherry and strawberry flavors.
Scaia Rondinella Rosata Veneto 2022 ($15). From northeast Italy, this wine is made from rondinella, a traditional Valpolicella variety in the Veneto region. Fresh apple and citrus notes with a touch of apricot.
Hogwash California Rosé ($18). Fresh strawberry aromas and citrus, and nectarine flavors highlight this rosé. It also comes in a convenient can perfect for days at the beach or on the boat.
Summer in a Bottle Cotes de Provence Rosé 2022 ($27). From Wolffer Estate, this Provence version of their series of rosés has ripe strawberry and peach flavors with herbal aromas and a hint of lime. It is composed of grenache, cinsault, vermentino and syrah grapes. Very refreshing and in one of the prettiest bottles on the market.
Fat Bastard Pinot Noir Pays d’Oc Pinot Noir 2021 ($13). A great bargain for serving with outside food affairs this summer. Pair it with burgers or barbequed chicken and put a slight chill on it to bring out the berry fruit notes. Cheap and cheerful rules the season.
Frescobaldi Tenuta Perano Rialzi Chianti Classico Gran Selezione 2015 ($70). This Chianti Classico Gran Selezione is a great tasting experience. Although the 2016 and 2017 versions of this wine have also been released, tasting this version with a few more years on it reveals a glimpse of the potential these more recent vintages may produce. Plum and cherry notes are perfectly married with mature oak and a bare whiff of menthol.