Now that summer is right around the corner, it’s time to stash those big, bold reds and make your way to something a little lighter and a little more fun. Of course, rosé is the obvious option. With its gorgeous range of hues, its refreshing flavor and its widespread availability, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to indulge in some fantastic rosé this season.
However, if you’re looking for something to drink poolside or bring to the beach, you’re probably not going to want to spend a ton of cash on it. While some rosés can be on the expensive side, luckily, there are plenty of affordable options that taste great and will offer the flavor profile you’re looking for… without breaking the bank in the process.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the most affordable—and most enjoyable—rosés on the market.
The region most well-known for its rosé wines is Provence, and there’s one Provence rosé that seems to be everywhere you look: Château d’Esclans Whispering Angel. It’s made from a combination of three grapes: Grenache, Cinsault and Rolle, which gives it some depth you won’t always find in a rosé. I’m in love with its super-pale hue—you can tell it’s going to be easy to sip on this all afternoon right away.
Strawberry and raspberry take the lead roles on the palate, but there’s also a creaminess to this wine that I wasn’t expecting. The flavor is light and unassuming, so my guess is that just about anyone is going to be able to appreciate this bottle. It’s sold all over the world, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to locate, either.
If you’re looking for something that’s slightly bolder and a bit more out of the ordinary, you can’t go wrong with a bottle of Castello Moaci Kreos Rosé. As opposed to the Whispering Angel, this wine is bright pink—just a few shades off from a very light red. When you first take a whiff, you might notice all the usual red fruit notes you’d expect from a rosé but with a bit more complexity. And once you take a sip, it’ll all come together.
On the palate, watermelon, mango and blood orange stand out where they make a big impression. The tannins in this wine are noticeable but not too intense. Best of all, I love that this wine tastes super juicy and acidic, which is just what you should be looking for when the days become unbearably hot. This wine will undoubtedly be at my dinner table a lot this summer.
Here’s another one you’re not likely to have a hard time finding: Gérard Bertrand Côte des Roses Rosé. I’ve seen this stuff everywhere—even the grocery store—so it should be easy to locate if you’re interested in giving it a try. Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah all play an important role in this wine’s lovely, fresh flavor, and all of the grapes were picked separately to ensure that they had reached the perfect level of ripeness before they were harvested. This kind of care and attention to detail is obvious upon your first sip.
I got a dose of redcurrant and red raspberries on the nose but picked up an intense grapefruit flavor on the palate. Although this one isn’t too wild, it makes for the ideal crowd pleaser. Open it at a seafood boil or a backyard barbecue, and you’re likely to become a little more popular at the party.
Searching for an exceptionally dry, exceptionally enjoyable rosé? Then you may want to look into a rosé of Pinot Noir. And if you’re trying to do it on the cheap, I’d suggest giving Willamette Valley Vineyards 2021 Whole Cluster Rose of Pinot Noir a try. The color is bright and vibrant, which is a nice change from the super-pale rosés you can find everywhere. On the nose, you get a strong dose of orange and grapefruit, which makes this feel like the perfect wine for the summer months. When you take a sip, you may notice more of a red fruit component, but the citrus is still there playing in the background.
This is a very versatile wine, so enjoy it with whatever summer fare you already had planned. From seafood and salads to pasta and charcuterie boards, this rosé of Pinot Noir will make for the perfect food wine all summer long.
One of the most inexpensive, approachable rosés on the market is La Vielle Ferme Rosé. Despite its very low price point, this is a simple but delicious rosé that’s perfect for a picnic in the park. The classic combo of Cinsault, Grenache and Syrah results in a wine that will be appealing to pretty much every palate—nobody is going to turn down a glass of this stuff. It’s intensely fruity with lovely rose notes on the nose. A slight citrusy flavor adds a touch of acidity that makes this wine extra refreshing. Fun, easy and delicious. What’s not to love?
I know that not everyone is keen on drinking wine from a box, but it’s about time that the boxed wine stigma be broken. Unless a wine is going to be aged, there’s really no reason that it should be in a bottle instead of a box. And even though glass bottles seem more sustainable, in reality, boxed wine is much better for the environment than the bottled stuff.
All that being said, the incredibly widely available Black Box Rosé is definitely worth a try. It’s simple with prominent notes of watermelon, strawberry and peach, but it’s definitely an enjoyable wine that’s great for when you’re throwing a party. When you buy one of these boxes, you’re getting the equivalent of four bottles of wine, so it’s a great deal if you want to enjoy your rosé on the cheap.
Samantha Maxwell is a food writer and editor based in Boston. Follow her on Twitter at @samseating.