Memorial Day has come and gone. It’s summer, and that means it is time to bust out the pink wine.
Things to know about rosé wines:
1) Pink wines can be almost colorless or look like liquefied watermelon Jolly Ranchers, or anything in between. The color of the wine and the intensity of the flavor are sometimes correlated but by no means always, so don’t assume color equals flavor.
2) The wines on this list come from all over the world and a couple dozen different varietals. Thus, they are listed alphabetically, not ranked. There are very intense rosés and very light, whispery ones, very traditional ones and some oddballs-in other words, something for everyone. None of them should tax your wallet to the tune of more than $25, and some are quite a bit less. This is often an indication of more overlooked regions or unconventional varietals, not quality. Everything here has been tasted and vetted. You’re welcome!
3) Rosé wine can be made from any red, black, purple or at all tinted grape. A couple of the wines on this list are technically “ramato” or orange wines, which are lightly tinted grapes fermented on the skins.
4) What rosé wines should not be: Snooty, fussy, difficult, impenetrable, or confusing.
5) Rosé are almost always stellar and versatile food wines, but they also stand alone beautifully, especially on a warm afternoon. They are refreshing and pleasant and will not weigh you down (for those of us who don’t enjoy the “liquid loaf of bread” effect of beer, this can be a welcome change of pace for your taste buds and your waistband). The south of France is usually considered the Promised Land for pink wines-but they say “summer evening get together” in any language.
A to Z Wineworks Rosé (Oregon) $15
Ah, Oregon. The Pacific Northwest is the Land of The Rules Don’t Apply To Me, and that can be a good thing. This is a brash but still approachable wine with a vivid color and extreme juiciness. Roses, citrus, plum, a little pomegranate. Some lemon thyme. A bit of wet gravel. There’s even a touch of hibiscus, which is funny because this stuff looks a lot like the “Jamaica” hibiscus agua fresca at your local taqueria. In fact, I’d call it a very sane choice for pairing with good Oaxacan food. Salty cheeses like feta or pecorino are probably excited by this wine, too. In fact, it might be a great pairing for Roman cacio e pepe if that is your thing (it is mine). Big personality, a little eclectic. Very tasty.
Argiolas Serra Lori Rosato Isola dei Nuraghi (Sardinia) $15
This rosato is composed of four Sardinian grapes that are ideally suited to rosé styles. Cannonau (Garnacha) and Monica lend strawberry fruitiness, while Carignano and Bovale Sardo bring freshness and aroma. Serra Lori is a beautiful rosy-pink wine full of juicy, vibrant raspberry and alpine strawberry flavors. It’s vivacious and affable and while it can certainly stand on its own, it’s a wine that’s happiest paired with a bunch of friends and a nice dinner party. It is a fan of outdoor cookery, and will hang out happily with grilled veggies, oily fish-it has enough body and structure to hold its own with burgers or grilled lamb, too.
Arrogant Frog (Languedoc, France) $10
I say it a lot and I’m just going to say it again: French wine can take itself kind of seriously. Not this guy. From the Mediterranean coast, Rosé Ground Zero, this is a 100% Syrah made in the sometimes-abused “saignée” method, meaning free-running juice is “bled” off a batch of juice in contact with the skins. Many California White Zinfandels were made this way in the 1980s and it didn’t always produce awesome results, but this stuff is delicious. Intense cherry-pink color. Complex with cherries and floral aromatics and strong minerality; somewhat candied character with a long finish. This is a great wine to enjoy on its own; its ideal pairing might be a porch swing or a large shade tree and a hot afternoon (it’s the kind of wine I like to keep chilling in the shade while I’m gardening, and at this price you really don’t need more of an occasion than that). You’ll also find it goes nicely with charcuterie, and pasta.
Artner Rosé (Austria) $14
I’ve tried to concoct this list without wines that are difficult to locate; this is probably one of the more obscure ones, but that’s where we all give thanks that there is this Internet Shopping Thing. This is a Blaufrankisch (Lemberger, if you’re in Germany), a tasty grape that makes very aromatic and spicy wines. This one has a blushy rosepetal pink hue, fairly light body but with enough tannin that you notice it. The nose is predominantly black cherry and spring flowers, and on the palate, there is a spicy overlay on a strawberry jam character, with strong minerality and lots of backbone. One of those “But seriously, pair it with anything” wines, it also stands its ground as an aperitif. Fairly high acid, in a good way-it’s bracing and fresh.
Attems Pinot Grigio Ramato 2016 (Venezia-Giulia, Italy) $14
“Ramato” or copper (orange) wine is a specialty of the Venice area and has caught on in many other regions. Though I include it with the pinks here, it’s technically almost the opposite of a rosé. Rosé wines are pressed from red grapes that have had little to no skin contact. Orange wines come from grapes that normally produce white wines, but whose skins have enough tint that, if left in contact with the juice for a few hours (or a few weeks) will develop a faint coppery sheen (in some cases, an almost electric orange color), a more unctuous texture and a totally different flavor profile than you’d get from the plain-white expression of that fruit. Attems is a traditional Venetian with a wildflower nose and a lot of minerality. Peach and apricot notes are prominent. It’s a great aperitif and you couldn’t ask for a nicer wine with fatty fish, antipasti, or spring veggies. Generally available for about $15, and tastes a good deal more expensive.
Bairaktaris Monolithos Rosé (Greece) $17
This delectable Greek rosé comes from Assyrtiko and Agiorgtiko grapes, and has an eye-popping clear cherry-red color. It’s a great addition to a summer meal, providing both refreshing fruit and fuller structure that pairs excellently with fruits and grilled meats. The nose emits intense aromas of cherry and strawberries. Gentle tannins provide structure in the mouth, and it ends with an impressive full and fruity finish. This family-operated winery is very sustainability-focused, as well, for those who care about the footprint of their wine (arguably this should be everyone). This is one of the planet’s most ancient and venerable winemaking regions-take advantage of centuries of knowhow at a fantastic price point.
Banshee Rosé Pinot Noir (Mendocino, CA) $18
Every once in a while, I just flat-out fall in love with a winery, and lately I can’t say enough gushy, crushed-out stuff about Banshee. This rosé pinot is flat-out gorgeous. Biodynamically-farmed pinot noir is blended with Barbera, Grenache and Syrah. The result is a peachy-pink wine with complex layers of floral notes including rose petal, violet and almond blossom, followed by deep yet subtle red plum core with traces of ripe melon and nectarine with a tiny hint of marzipan. Vivid acidity, lovely structure, and just incredibly good. This is one of my current favorite wines for white pizzas, especially if there is truffle oil involved. But like most self-respecting rosés, it is a generalist and will enhance virtually anything (it’s also equally well-suited to company and solitude). Happiness in a bottle.
Bonny Doon Vin Gris de Cigare (Central Coast, California) $17
I am a novelty-seeker and will gravitate toward wines I have never tried – usually. This is an exception: If you don’t want an unpleasant surprise, you’re never going to get one from the original Rhone Ranger. The Vin Gris de Cigare is a genre-defining and yet genre-defying little minx with a pale-salmon tone behind which there is an almost dizzying, but still elegant, array of continuously unfurling aromatics. Bergamot and green tea, something almost smoky, something marine, and a base of alpine strawberry and chalk. It is a lithe and vivacious wine with a very firm grip. I cannot think of a single food that would disagree with this stuff. And it’s in the $15-20 range depending on where you encounter it. This is a wine with serious moxie, epic wit, and a lot of layers. Always correct, always absolutely fab. The 2016 release is a bit deeper and fruitier than the last few versions, but it’s still identifiably le Cigare, just with a bit more redcurrant and plum and a trace of linden blossom. May I suggest shellfish? And if that’s not your thing, I’d suggest whatever is your thing because, you know, versatile.
Castello di Bossi Rosato Toscano (Tuscany, Italy) $18
Like most Tuscan wines, this is mostly Sangiovese fruit, with a hint of Cabernet Sauvignon. Lavish pink hue, and the minute the aromatics hit your nose you know this one’s not from France. It showcases the classic Tuscan notes of earth and herbs. On the palate, tart cherries and cranberry. Very defined structure, long finish, excellent depth, fine acidity. Delightful with herb-crusted roast chicken but absolutely unlimited on the food-pairing side. It can handle grilled red meat, sharp cheese, assertively-flavored fish. It can also handle flying solo. A beauty.
Center of Effort Pinot Noir Rosé (San Luis Obispo, CA) $22
I love these guys, who hail from the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay dominant San Luis Obispo region. Their pink pinot is a nice blend of sweetness and salinity, with a ghostly-pale apricot tone and delicate notes of watermelon, strawberry and tangerines (a tiny trace of licorice or fennel on the finish). Despite its lightness, it has good structure and the intriguing minerality that seems to unite the wines of this area. Lovely on its own, easygoing with a wide range of foods (oysters come to mind, as do wild mushrooms). Also, a very decent companion if you’re on grill detail.
Charles & Charles Rosé (Washington) $14
Charles Smith wines are, by and large, exceptionally high quality for the price point, and this Syrah-based pink blend is made to be approachable and party friendly. If you like your rosé fruity, this is your guy. A salmon-to-rose colored blend, this wine is vibrant and not one to hold back. Red fruit, red fruit, red fruit, with a little hint of lavender, a soft grassiness and a bit of stone. Relatively low acid, high vivacity. A great backyard party wine. Pair it with a poolside chaise longue and a patch of shade.
Chateau D’Aqueria Tavel (Rhone, France) $22
Anything labeled “Tavel” is a Grenache-based Rhone blend. Vivid salmon color. Full bodied and super dry, with good earthiness and raspberry notes. A little bit of lemon and some herbaceous subtones. Really good food wine, though certainly holds its own as an aperitif. Excellent foil for cream-based sauces, grilled meat, goat cheese, and… well, dinner.
Chateau de Compuget (Languedoc, France) $11
Some rosé wines look like they will taste like fruit punch and are shockingly minimalist on the palate. This is an example of a very pale one that packs a little bit more of a punch (but not fruit punch). Dry and earthy, very structured, with a lot of cherry and some wild strawberry. Beautifully balanced.
Chateau D’Esclans Whispering Angel (Cotes de Provence) $20
According to the producer, the best rose in the world. Huh. Well, I love this stuff, from the voluptuous bottle to the beautiful barely-there pink color to the lovely, balanced dry yet juicy palate-palette, which leans toward strawberries. Super light, a guaranteed crowd-pleaser on a hot afternoon, just an all-around great go-to bottle. This is the kind of very restrained, refined, elegant rosé that defines “drinkable.” It’s a people-pleasing Grenache-Syrah-etc blend with a soft approach, predominantly strawberry and citrus notes, and a lovely berry bouquet. The world’s greatest rosé? That’s not my call. Worth putting into the shopping cart? Always.
Chloe Rosé (Central Coast, CA) $17
Light salmon-pink color, disarmingly ripe bouquet-dried fruits, peach, blackberry. Very fruit-forward but definitely dry. Brisk on the finish and firmly in the “quaffable” category. This wine lends itself nicely to poultry (or duck) as well as oily fish. Happy to stand alone too. Friendly, approachable, summery.
Clos Pegase Rosé (Napa Valley, CA) $22
Bright pink, highly perfumed, very nuanced. Expresses a lot of nifty herb notes (I get chamomile and fennel), blood oranges, and tart cherries. Dry yet juicy, great mineral finish, balanced acidity. Totally solid.
Costadolio Rosato Breganze (Veneto, Italy) $15
100% Merlot, light pink with violet notes. Intense fruity bouquet, plum-heavy but also apple and white peach. Medium-bodied and on the intense side. Pleasantly bracing acidity and great structure. I would be inclined to pair this with shellfish or grilled chicken. Also a pleasure to drink solo. Veneto is a great region for warm-weather-friendly wines and this is a great example at a great price.
Cote Mas Rose Sud De France Aurore (Languedoc, France) $11
A blend of Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah (destemmed and vinified separately in coated cement vats, then blended before bottling), this expressive wine is pale salmon-tinted in the glass; the nose is not pale, it’s complex and quite fruity. Cherry and strawberry jam notes kind of jump out of the glass at you. It’s smooth, well-balanced and richer than its pale hue would lead you to believe. On the palate, ripe red fruits dominate, but are tempered by the chalky minerality that lets you know the stuff came from the limestone soils of the south of France. Like almost all pink wines, this will pair with an extremely wide range of foods, but I’d probably be inclined to serve it with light, hot-weather-friendly dishes like salads (poultry would like it, too). Festive, friendly, unfussy, and screw-capped, reminding you that it would be happy to follow you to the beach or hang out in the panier of your bike on the way to the park.
Domaine de Triennes (Provence, France) $16
A pale Cinsault-driven wine, this is a pretty classic expression of Provence pink. In addition to the fairly ubiquitous strawberry tone, there is a lot of white floral on the nose here, and a soft, rounded, creamy hint of vanilla. It’s restrained and elegant and very, very drinkable. Sunny afternoon in a bottle.
El Coto Rosado 2015 (Rioja, Spain) $12
Rioja is one of Spain’s most iconic wine regions, and their signature grapes are Tempranillo and rosé superstar Garnacha (Grenache). El Coto’s Rosado is a blend of the two, with a clear watermelon tone and a spicy, herbaceous nose. Cherries dominate on the palate. High altitude vineyards give this wine a unique character. It’s light-bodied, juicy, a bit tangy, and very clean on the finish. Really ideal for hot weather, and a good companion for anything from a light salad to a feisty Thai curry. Will wake up a tired palate. I think this is a great party wine and worth buying in quantity. Rosésdon’t age indefinitely but you don’t have to worry: You’ll polish it off before that ever becomes an issue.
Elizabeth Spencer Mendocino Rosé of Grenache (Mendocino CA) $19
A beauty, with a luminous clear pale pink color and ethereal, layered aromatics: Strawberry, raspberry, white flowers, mandarin zest. Fabulous minerality and tart, bold acidity playing against tropical fruit notes on a long finish. This is something you pour because you’re in a good mood. Or because you would like to be in an even better one.
Falesco Vitiano (Umbria, Italy) $14
This bright-pink rosé is packed with summer strawberries, watermelon, white pepper and rose petals (the latter thanks to 10% Aleatico in the blend). It is a vibrant coral color with juicy acidity. Pair it with other Mediterranean flavors, smoky things, seafood.
Figuière Magali Rosé (Provence, France) $18
Figuière aims for tight wines that express the unique terroir of coastal Provence. Magali Rosé is a medium-bodied rosé with aromas and flavors of strawberries, orange peel and white flowers. The wine shows bright and refreshing acidity and salinity thanks to the influence of the nearby Mediterranean Sea. Barely-there coral-pink color, delightful minerality. Any Mediterranean dishes in your repertoire would be happy to find themselves on the table with this wine.
Frescobaldi Alie (Tuscany, Italy) $18
Named for a mythical nymph who symbolizes sensual beauty, this Tuscan rosato is made from Syrah with a little Vermentino. Luminous pale pink in the glass, this wine is made from coastal climate fruit in the Maremma area of Tuscany and expresses marine notes, wildflowers, berries and orange zest, along with a satisfying, substantial mineral character. Delicately structured, stylish and complex, it’s a fabulous aperitif that, like most wines of this list, also goes with nearly anything you’d put on the dinner table, including difficult-to-pair Asian dishes. It’s sleek and soft and beautiful.
Hendry Rosé (Napa Valley) $15
So pretty! This wine has a gorgeous, rosy-pink hue with great clarity. This is a saignée style wine blended from several normally very full-bodied red grapes, but they wind up with a very very dry, very crisp result. Strawberries and herbs. Drink it quite chilled.
Herdade do Esporao Vinha da Defesa Rosé (Portugal) $13
Adorável! Pinks from the Iberian Peninsula are not shrinking violets, generally speaking, and this baby’s no exception. Deep pink with violet reflexes in the glass, this is a Syrah rosé with the watermelon core common to many Spanish and Portuguese pinks – it also sports a nose full of earth notes and nifty spices with a little blue-note of raspberries.
Horse and Plow Rosé (Sonoma County, CA) $20
I buy this old vine, organic Carignane a lot when I’m not sure which direction to go. My local market always has chilled and it’s always rock-solid. That said, it might be one of the slightly tougher wines on this list to find outside California, so consult your local Internet. It has a lovely orange-zest character, with strawberry and watermelon accompaniment. It’s never disappointing. Ever. Very summery, very light, very sensuous. Worth seeking out if you are not a lucky person like me whose shopping cart it just falls into.
IBY Rosé Blaufrankisch (Austria) $14
This delicious rosé is made by Anton and Johanna Iby on 81.5 acres in Mittelburgenland, Austria. Medium-bodied, very slightly off-dry. Ripe red berries, nectarine, and touch of red plum on the nose and palate. High acidity, pepper notes, red apple, and a slightly shivery finish. Pair with lightly seasoned meats, grilled turkey sausage, potatoes. Probably a good partner for spicy stuff.
Jada Vineyard 1149 Rosé (Paso Robles, CA) $25
Caveat: I have seen this bottle available both over and under the $25 mark. 100% Mourvedre, Bandol-style pink with a ton of color and a nose of watermelons with an unexpected coniferous note (cedar or even pine). One the palate, roses, sour cherry, wet stone, saline and bakery notes. Something a bit candied. This is an interesting wine for sure. Biodynamically grown fruit.
Julia’s Dazzle (Washington) $20
Interesting: I actually really disliked the first vintage of this wine I tried (I think it was 2014). I’m not sure if the wine changed or my palate did, but the 2016 iteration is really nice! This unique Rosé of Pinot Gris is named after Allen’s granddaughter, Julia, and is sourced from a special block from The Benches Vineyard at Wallula in Horse Heaven Hills. Pinot Gris usually makes white wines, but the grapes have a significant enough tint that they will produce a colored wine if you give them time. These grapes were left to hang until they developed a bright hue, then gently pressed and the clarified juice slowly fermented at cool temperatures to retain the wine’s intensely vibrant aromatics and flavors. Lively, though voluptuously ripe and slightly off-dry, this has concentrated aromatics of ripe strawberry and melon; brisk acidity saves the finish from any potential flabbiness. It’s richer than some rosés, but clean and not heavy. Try it with seafood dishes, or eggs (I’d pair it with a goat cheese soufflé in a hot second). It’s substantial enough to stand up to meat as well, so don’t take it off your BBQ-companion list.
Kerloo Cellars Grenache Rosé (Washington) $22
From the exotic wine region of Seattle! (OK, Columbia Valley fruit.) Kerloo does some fabulous things with Grenache and this is one of them. It’s just plain lovely. Pale and restrained with tremendous minerality. Wild strawberry, cherry, herbal notes, blood orange and grapefruit on the finish. Lively, snappy acidity. This wine isn’t the easiest to come by on this list-they’re not a massive operation-so perhaps this is on the special occasion side of things versus something you can find in large quantities at BevMo. Then again, if you can swing a visit to Kerloo’s website and order yourself, say, a case, you won’t have to wait for a special occasion at all. You’ll have a case of special occasions waiting to happen.
Lavau Tavel (Rhone, France) $15
This is a fleshy, bold-pink Grenache blend with a snappy, super-crisp character, full-bodied but still fresh and balanced. While certainly friendly to Mediterranean cuisine, it will also pair well with spicy Thai and Szechuan dishes. Fairly intense fruitiness with notes of stone, nuts, and flowers as well. Great acidity, fine long finish.
Leyda Rose of Pinot Noir (Chile) $14
Pinot Noir just loves beachfront property. This wine comes from vineyards just a few kilometers from the Pacific, and expresses all the lovely subtleties of cold-climate pinot: Strong acidity, but a surprisingly creamy texture. Subtle aromatics with an emphasis on herbaceous notes (is that rosemary?) and red fruits (cherry and strawberry mostly). There’s some citrus on the finish as well-I get blood orange. Lingering finish. This is a restrained and subtle pink with good structure and it’s really refreshing. Pair it with whatever you want-I find it’s attracted to smoked fish, BBQ, roast chicken, and herbed potatoes, for example. You’d honestly have a harder time finding a bad pairing for this stuff.
Mathis Rosé de Grenache (Sonoma, CA) $20
Pale pink with faint lavender highlights; Provence style, Sonoma County fruit. Whispery soft, rounded, delicate. Perfumed nose-palate is dominated by raspberries and watermelon. Completely delicious with anything grilled, and one of those wines that Makes It All Better when the heat’s getting under your skin. Dangerously easy to drink.
Michael Mondavi Family Estates Isabel Rosé (California) $20
First of all, it’s really what’s in the bottle that matters, but may I just note that this is a really pretty bottle of wine? This rosé, made by vintner Dina Mondavi, is produced in a Provençal style, but with mostly Napa Cabernet fruit (Barbera and Muscat Canelli make up the rest). Cabernet Sauvignon is not a drag-and-drop varietal for rosé and it can have unpleasant results. Not so in this case. Accessible and friendly, with a salmon tint in the glass, this wine exhibits fresh aromatics (cranberry, strawberry and a touch of Comice pear). Strikingly light-bodied for a Cab, Isabel has a pleasant acidity and a long, lingering finish. This is a straightforward and quaffable wine that will pair with most anything you can think of.
Mulderbosch Cabernet Savignon Rosé (South Africa) $14
Again, Cabernet Sauvignon is not the most common choice for a rosé, but this one proves it’s worth doing. Identifiably a cab, but with wonderful oddball citrus notes, notably a long red grapefruit note on the finish. Terrific coastal minerality. Structured and dry, with a strong dusty-rose color. The proper occasion for opening this bottle? It happens to be in your house, it’s 5:00 somewhere, you’re thirsty.
Notorious Pink (South of France) $11
100% Grenache, gorgeous frosty pale pink tone with a nose of neroli and cherry blossoms. Tastes like someone bottled the spirit of Provence, with unfurling layers of peach, lavender, pears, honey, tangerines, melons, raspberries, thyme, fennel pollen. Less than “bone” dry, but not sugary. Gentle minerality, lengthy finish with a surprise note of apples. This is something I’d buy a case of and have on hand any time a guest showed up.
Psagot Rosé (Israel) $18
A certified Kosher wine from the Jerusalem Mountains, this is a full-bodied and off-dry blend of several varietals. Citrusy nose, grapefruit, pomegranate and shale on the mid palate, spicy finish. A great partner to foods from the same region (it seems to be asking for chick peas). Calm and easygoing.
Quivira Rosé (Dry Creek Valley, CA) $22
Yes, I still love Quivira as much as I did the last 12 times I mentioned them. I swear they don’t pay me. What can I say? They make some of the yummiest wine in Sonoma County and they do it with a strong sense of environmental stewardship. Starring rosé rockstar Grenache with judicious additions of Cunoise, Syrah and Mourvedre, this wine is a medium pink, rounded, with great acidity and a dreamy array of cranberry, strawberry, melon, sour cherry notes. One of those “Happy in a Bottle” bottles you will want to have a few of for special occasions. And by special I mean “Oh look: it’s 5:30!” I dare you to stop at one glass.
Raimat Rosé (Catalonia, Spain) $14
Estate-grown, sustainably-farmed fruit? Check. Extreme tastiness? Check. Budget-friendly? Check! Raimat Rosé is made from Cabernet Sauvignon and Tempranillo grapes, vinified separately and blended following fermentation. Light pink with faint lilac reflexes, this Rosado has a nose of sweet alpine strawberries and cherries and soft florals. On the palate, the same red fruits join with peach and grapefruit with a faint hint of anise. Long, fresh, citrusy finish. An elegant and refined wine, but no snob: It wants pizza. Or tapas. Heck, it’s not fussy, it’ll have whatever you’re having.
Seven Hills Dry Rosé (Washington)
From Washington’s Columbia Valley, this rosé is pale, heavy on the aromatic florals, and quite brisk, with notes of peach and citrus zest, largely grapefruit. Herbaceous and mineral tones on the finish. Really approachable and nicely balanced.
Seven Sisters Twena Rosé (Swartland, South Africa) $13
An eclectic little wine made from Moscato de Alexandria blended with a Pinotage. If you like your rosé bone-dry, this isn’t your wine. It’s fruity and definitely shows some residual sugar. Fresh floral nose, vivid watermelon-pink in the glass; raspberry, redcurrant, strawberry on the palate, lemony finish. I wouldn’t pair this one with anything heavy. In fact it might be best on its own. Sweet, celebratory, summery.
SIP Rosé (California) $16
Barry Gnekow, who is also the zeitgeist behind Klinker Brick, Educated Guess and Seven Deadly Zins among other ventures, is the unseen hand behind this super-dry pink Pinot noir from Napa and Sonoma fruit. It has the barely-looked-at-the-skins pallor of a Provencal Grenache and a youthful demeanor. Vibrant aromatics, delightful acidity. Very crisp. Strawberry on the nose with an undertone of violet; snappy, slightly spicy finish with some red plum. Picnic-friendly “Le Screwcap” technology and a $16 price point make it a park-bound Saturday no-brainer.
South Coast Winery Rosé Tempranillo (Temecula, CA) $14
From southern California, this Tempranillo Rosado has a very strong pink hue but delicate aromatics and flavors (strawberry, raspberry, orange zest). Very fruity with a tiny hint of sweetness. This is a great seafood wine, and a fine accompaniment to summer evenings generally.
Summer Water (Central Coast, CA) $13
Light, dry, mouthwatering-the perfect antidote to a sweltering day. This barely-there pink made from a Syrah-Grenache blend is eminently approachable, extremely party-friendly, a friend to sushi and salads and ceviche. It’s ethereal and crisp with dominant notes of rose petal, grapefruit, Meyer lemon and strawberry. Warning: It is not water, but it will be shockingly easy to drink it as though it were. Okay, you’ve been warned.
Tournon Mathilda Rosé (Victoria, Australia) $13
Provencal style, Australian terroir-vibrant elegance. Ghostly-pale dry rosé of Grenache, very fresh-tasting with a lot of springy floral notes (violet and rose at the forefront). Fruity on the palate, with a raspberry and pomegranate core. This is a perfect aperitif wine but also a great foil for salty foods (like smoked salmon or seasoned almonds). Exceptionally drinkable, party-friendly, versatile.
Urban Legend Rosato de Barbera (Oakland, CA) $24
Made in the exotic wine-country known as “Oakland,” this under-$20 rosato is a dream-date for BBQ among other things. It’s wantonly fruity but not sugary – strong strawberry note, a little cherry, a little peach. It is super drinkable, a fuller-bodied pink with a clear, almost watermelon-flesh color. This is a good wine for people who think they don’t like pink wine – full of surprises, low on attitude, and highly versatile. This wine’s easily found in local supermarkets where I live, but I live in California. In other markets, there might be an online transaction required to get it. It’s worth doing that.
Urbina Rosado 2015 (Rioja, Spain) $15
With a light, bright pink color, this rosé of Tempranillo from traditional Rioja producer Pedro Urbina features a bouquet of fresh red berries, orange zest and rose petals on the fragrant nose. On the palate, tangy red currant and strawberry flavors with spicy overtones (white pepper predominantly). The florals are present on the persistent finish too. Medium body, fairly intense, very food-friendly and can handle spicy dishes with grace.
Viansa Sonoma Rosé (Sonoma County, CA) $18
Some of the wines on this list are really wine-geek wines. Viansa isn’t. It’s a people-pleaser: Accessible, year-round-appealing, Everyman kind of stuff. Crafted to be shared around a table of fresh food with family and friends, Viansa Sonoma’s Rosé is an elegant, pink-hued wine with bright citrus, raspberry and lychee aromas that arouse the senses. Crisp acidity and pleasant, refreshing finish. Goes with everything. No secret handshake required.
Villa Gemma Masciarelli Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo (Abruzzo, Italy) $15
This complex rosé wine is a deep cherry pink, offering an exquisite floral bouquet with hints of thyme, pomegranate and walnuts. With a palate that is balanced and fresh with subtle tannins and boasting flavors of red fruit, this wine is bold, elegant and a perfect pairing with lighter fare.