Ahh, Rosé. Seriously my happy drink. I love when the year’s newest crop of Rosé starts showing up on the shelves and I start thinking of Rosé wines for summer. Of course, it’s Rosé Season in Houston year round so I always seem to have a few on hand from the previous season. But I generally make sure to clear them out as they aren’t the best candidates for aging beyond a year or two.1 Freshness is your friend when it comes to Rosé.
It seems that it wasn’t all that long ago when people shunned Rosé as they equated it with the awful White Zinfandel that flooded the market once upon a one time. But thank goodness most of that is gone now. Rosé is as great for quaffing as it is at being a versatile pairing partner. And the great thing about Rosé is that its made all over the globe. With so many choices, it can be difficult to decide what to buy. While my go-to Rosés are the wines of Southern France, there are many great ones from all over. And some not so much. Just remember that alcohol is NOT your friend when it comes to Rosé. These wines should be fresh and refreshing. Your Rosé should not be as high in alcohol as your red wine.
Here are a few that I’ll happily fill my glass with.2 And I have to tell you that I sloughed it out and tasted a LOT of Rosés. It was so tough!
2017 Kuhlman Cellars Cinsaut Rosé, Texas High Plains (~$14)
Cinsaut, Cinsault, it’s all the same, but I must say that this is the first time I recall encountering this spelling without the “l.” Or perhaps I just wasn’t paying attention. Who knows? I hear there’s a story behind this but that’s for another time. Showing a pale peach color in the glass, there is quite the aromatic nose on this one with aromas of strawberry, watermelon, nectarine, and white flowers. Crafted of 100% Cinsaut, it is smooth and supple in the mouth. Peach, melon, and red berry fruit bursts forward on the palate along with minerality and moderate acidity. Pretty sure I’m going to get more of this one. To learn more about Kuhlman Cellars, check out my visit there.
2016 Olema Rosé Côtes De Provence, France (~$17)
Provence is the gold standard for Rosé and this one certainly does its job. 3Wine has been made in Provence for years and is considered the birthplace of all French wine. Being the classic home of Rosé, many have tried to emulate the pale, dry, light-bodied, and delicate wines of the region. The Olema Rosé is crafted of 40% Grenache, 25% Cinsault, 15% Syrah, 10% Carignan, and 10% Mourvèdre and showed a translucent light salmon in the glass. Strawberry, citrus (grapefruit and orange peel), melon, and rose petals on the nose. On the palate, lots of fresh juicy fruit with strawberry, tart cherry, and melon balanced by minerality and bright acidity. Classic Provençal Rosé that’s just darn tasty. I foresee more of this on the front porch.
2017 Ferraton Père & Fils Samorëns Rosé, Côtes du Rhône, France (~$15)*
I. Love. This. Wine. Comprised of Grenache, Syrah, and Cinsault, which are classic grapes for Rosé, it was a delight to drink. Beautiful light salmon color in the glass it reminded me of strawberries and cream both on the nose and palate. There was also a hint of pineapple on the nose followed by lush strawberry and cherry on the palate. While it wasn’t heavy or bold by any stretch, the wine just seemed to coat the mouth with a creaminess and offer nice acid all at the same time. A quite enjoyable wine that would appeal to many. Did I mention strawberries and cream?! The only problem is that it went down way too easy! They also made a Syrah that I love.
2016 Tiny House Rosé of Pinotage, Sonoma Coast, CA (~$22)
As a Pinot Noir lover, I’ve been curious about the Tiny House wines for a while. I finally took advantage of a Christmas special and ordered some Pinot as well as some of their Rosé. The Pinot is still hanging out in the cellar, but I did indulge in the Rosé. Let me just start by saying that I am not a fan of Pinotage. I keep trying to find one I like with no luck. This Rosé was an altogether different story. A pale peachy orange in the glass, it’s very different from any other Rosé I can recall. In some ways, it reminded me of some of the orange wines I’ve had. Lots of minerality, slate, and an almost saline quality as well as tart green melon and citrus. It offers up complexity that you don’t often get with Rosé. This is not your typical fruity Rose. I think this would be great with a rich, creamy pasta.
2017 M. Chapoutier Domaine de Bila-Haut “Les Vignes” Rosé IGP Pays d’Oc, France (~$15)*
This elegant Rosé is comprised of Grenache, Syrah, and Cinsault and hails from the Languedoc-Roussillon area in the Mediterranean. Y’all know I do like these Bila-Haut wines (not to mention just about anything by Chapoutier) as they offer such a great QPR. Read about the red here and the white wine here. This one was a beautiful pale rose pink in the glass (I could just gaze at Rosé all day) and offers up white peach, pear, banana, and floral notes on the nose. In the mouth, the wine exhibits a freshness along with nice crisp minerality and acidity, followed by a tart citrus and peach finish. Classic food friendly profile that would pair with fun grilled summer fare including hot dogs and burgers.
2016 Conundrum Rose, CA (~$20)
I saw someone post about this wine on Twitter (thanks Suzi Day!) and knew I needed to give it a try. Great decision! It’s made with the Valdiguié grape which I only recently discovered at a wine tasting. Valdiguié is grown mostly in the Languedoc-Roussillon region of southern France, where it is known as Gros Auxerrois as well as California. In California, it used to be referred to as Napa Gamay due to a case of mistaken identity. I loved the nose on this one with strawberries, melon, apricot, and rose petals. In the mouth it was bright, crisp, and fresh, with tingly citrus and strawberry. Had this one with a garlic honey chicken and it was fabulous!
2017 Tasca d’Almerita Regaleali Le Rosé, Terre Siciliane, Italy(~$15)*
Being firmly on the Wines of Sicily bandwagon now (here are some other recommendations), I was excited to try this wine. Crafted of 100% Nerello Mascalese, it was a beautiful dark salmon in the glass. Giving the glass a swirl, I was met with a bowl full of berries – strawberry, raspberry, blackberry – along with rose petals as the name implies. Showing a little more body than some other Rosés, this was lush in the mouth with more of the ripe red berries as well as citrus and watermelon. Great balance of fruit and acid. This would be fantastic in the pool but would also pair nicely with roasted chicken, grilled eggplant, or even salmon. Just be careful as its easy to drink.
2017 Browne Family Vineyards Grenache Rosé, Columbia Valley, WA (~$18)
Rosé made from Grenache is one of my favorite expressions of the pale pink nectar because you always get those fresh berry aromas and flavors. Add in the fact that I loves me some Washington Wine (remember when I visited), I knew this one would be a sure bet. In fact, I’m now wondering why I didn’t have more Washington Rosé in the rotation.4 Pale rose pink in the glass, it offered up fresh strawberry, watermelon, and citrus aromas. Smooth and round with a creamy richness in the mouth, it was juxtaposed with crisp slate and tart red berry fruit. I loved the contrast and would love this with grilled shellfish.
2017 Casillero del Diablo Rosé, Central Valley, Chile (~$12)*
I always have fun with the “Devil’s Wine”5 for Halloween, so why not for for spring and summer? Crafted of 60% Syrah, 30% Cinsault, and 10% Carmenere and showing an intense strawberry color in the glass, this one had aromas of raspberries and blackberries, citrus, as well as a bit spice. Tasting the wine reveals a light bodied wine with medium acidity and fresh ripe berry flavors that give the perception of a hint of sweetness along with a bit of lemon and some minerailty. It’s great on its own but I would love it with a cheese pizza. And like so many Chilean wines, this one provides quality at quite a bargain.
What are your Rosé wines for summer?
- As with anything, there are a few exceptions out there.
- All Wines denoted with * were provided as a sample for review – all opinions are my own. The rest were purchased with #LawyerCash. Is that a thing?
- I’ve only seen this one at Total Wine so they may have some sort of exclusive distribution.
- I SHALL remedy that.
- Casillero del Diablo translates to the Devil’s Cellar. According to the legend, when winemaker Don Melchor Concha y Toro started producing high quality wines back in 1883, the reputation of his wines spread which caused people to steal wine for the “Casillero” beneath his home. To prevent further theft, Melchor Concha y Toro spread the rumor that the Devil appeared on the winery among the workers in the vineyard. And it must have worked because today, Casillero del Diablo is Chile’s best-selling wine and known throughout the world.