Wouldn’t it be nice to know that wine can be easy to understand, easy to buy, easy to pair with food, didn’t require aging or decanting and was easy to drink? If you could produce a wine like this, people would beat a path to your door — and they do. We are talking about dry rosé, a small but growing segment of the wine market that has captured the attention of insiders and won the hearts of anyone willing to give it a chance.
Like white wines, rosés are affable and easy-drinking wines, but they take it a step further by being super food-friendly. Being lighter hued wines made from red grapes, they have an affinity for a wide range of food, and probably go with an array of recipes that are more diverse than any other style of wine. They also don’t require or even benefit from aging, nor is a decant necessary. They do like to be chilled (45 to 55 F), but that is what makes them so appealing on a spring or summer afternoon or, say, at a football tailgate.
The French already drink more rosé than white, and they arguably make the finest white wines in the world.
There is one caveat. It might take a while to get used to drinking pink wine — for men, anyway. It took me three years to get used to the idea, but now I’m hooked. Rosés are some of my favorites, particularly with food.
The French pioneered the dry rosé style, but the market has responded quickly. We tasted wine from most European countries as well as California, Oregon and Washington, but rosés seem to be coming from everywhere. Just look at our list of recommended wines.
Rosés were originally produced when winemakers bled (saignée) the juice from a barrel of red wine to concentrate the juice; rather than waste the bleed juice, the winemakers would ferment it into wine for the locals. There is one village in the southern Rhône (Tavel) that only makes rosé using this method. But the Provençal wine makers turned the wine world on its ear by making a very lightly colored wine using a very gentle press method, which minimizes skin contact and produces an ever-so-slightly colored wine. Pale pink and salmon can best describe the light colors of these popular wines. Other producers, particularly in the southern Rhône, have emulated the style.
We tasted an assortment of rosés, along with goat cheese, crackers, olives, and salami, to give you some ideas, but honestly, they were all refreshing and enjoyable. So try different ones over the summer and see what you like best, but get with it and get your pink on before summer gets here.
Free Times Rosé Reviewscore – notes – region – price
La Gordonne ’11 Côtes de Provence ★★★★ Best of Tasting — France, $18
Charles & Charles ’12 Rosé ★★★★ Very Nice and Best Buy — Washington, $10
Belle Glos ’12 Sonoma Coast ★★★★ Another Star — California, $18
Guy Mousset ’12 Côtes du Rhône ★★★★ Delicious and Best Buy — France, $10
A to Z ’12 Oregon Rosé ★★★★ Another Best Buy — Oregon, $13
Ontañon ’11 Vetiver Rosado, Rioja ★★★★ Tasty, and a Best Buy — Spain, $12
Marqués de Cáceres ’11 Rioja Rosé ★★★½ Another Winner — Spain, $12
La Rabiotte ’12 D’Aix en Provence ★★★½ Favorite and Best Buy — France, $12
Dom. du Vieil Aven ’11 Tavel ★★★½ Nice Color and Aroma — France, $13
Dom. Fontanyl ’11 Rosé, Provence HHH Group Favorite — France, $15
Santi ’11 Infinito Rosé ★★★ Good Value Here — Italy, $10
Colombo ’11 Cape Bleue Rosé ★★★ Nice Easy Wine — France, $12
Sofia ’12 Rosé, Monterey County ★★★ Nice Bottle, Nice Wine — California, $14
Our four-star rating system and how it might compare to the Wine Spectator 100-point scale:
★ Good (80-84), ★★ Very Good (85-87), ★★★ Very Good/Excellent (88-89), ★★★★ Excellent (90+).
All ratings are only opinions of our tasters and not meant to detract from your personal favorites.
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