It’s almost Fourth of July, and that means we’re in the thick of rosé season. I know that rosé can be a versatile companion to food throughout the year, but I, like most consumers, do most of my rosé drinking when the weather gets hot. There’s just something immensely appealing about a cold, crisp pink wine during summer. It doesn’t have to be super-complex or thought-provoking. A good rosé wine just needs to be racy, well-balanced, refreshing – and delicious.
Rosé is as popular as ever, and prices have been on the rise. That makes my usual price cap of $25 a little more challenging this year. In the case of French rosé, the price situation has been exacerbated by U.S. tariffs that were imposed last fall. Nevertheless, dry rosé from Provence remains a big seller, so I’ll start with a few of those.
The Côtes de Provence appellation produces most of Provence’s rosé wines. The wines are generally blends of grapes such as grenache, syrah, mourvèdre, cinsault and tibouren. I tasted a number of Côtes de Provence rosés this year, and a standout was the 2019 M de Minuty ($23), with its pale color, racy red fruit and long finish. A great buy that also screams “summer” is the 2019 Kirkland Côtes de Provence Rosé ($10) from Costco. The 2019 Domaine de Cala Rosé ($17.50) is from another Provençal appellation, Coteaux Varois de Provence. The estate is owned by well-known chef Joachim Splichal, and the lean, delicate blend is dominated by grenache and cinsault and includes some white grapes.
The 2019 La Vieille Ferme Rosé ($12) is a multi-region French blend of cinsault, grenache and syrah that’s lean and lively, with enough structure for food. The wine is widely available, often for under $10, so it’s an excellent buy.
La Vieille Ferme is part of the Perrin family wine operation in southern France, and the Perrins are also partners in Tablas Creek in Paso Robles. Tablas Creek makes the delicious 2019 Patelin de Tablas Rosé ($25), a blend dominated by grenache. It’s very pale, lively and fresh, with delicate red fruit and good balance. Another good Central Coast rosé made from southern French varieties is the 2019 Malene Rosé ($22), which offers flavors of strawberry, apple, nectarine and a hint of apple peel.
I’m a fan of rosé made from pinot noir, but many of them are simply getting too expensive. An exception is the 2019 Sonoma-Cutrer Rosé of Pinot Noir ($25) from the Russian River Valley, with its lively red fruit and pink grapefruit undertone.
Spain’s Rioja region is the source of some good-value pink wines (known in Spain as rosados), like the 2019 Marqués de Cáceres Rosado ($13), a tempranillo rosé that’s bright, fruity and easy to drink.
Finally, a delicious rosé that’s a bit of an oddity: the 2019 Julia’s Dazzle Rosé ($18) from Washington state. It’s made from pinot gris, a grape variety whose skins have some color, even though the grape is most often used for white wines. This wine actually has a lot of red fruit characteristics, along with a bit of spritz.