We are in the midst of summer and there is no better time to uncork some rosé. Yes we drink the stuff year-round in my neck of the woods because its always so dang hot, not to mention rosé’s versatility as a pairing partner (its a staple for us at Thanksgiving). But there is always something special about toasting a summer day with a glass of rosé in hand. Now I’ve said it before and it bears repeating – do not be afraid to drink rosé from one or two past vintages. While I definitely get excited about the year’s new releases, I always have rosé wines on hand in my cellar which means I’m not always drinking the latest vintage.
It seems I’ve already had my fair share of rosé in the past couple of months as we’ve tried numerous versions. While there have been many, some are definitely standouts worth sharing in many different styles. For me, its not all about the pale pink Provençal-style wines. I enjoy all sorts of rosé wines depending on my mood and what I’m having it with.
And yes, I heard you – you want some wines that have wider distribution. One that you can pop into the local store to buy. I definitely don’t mind including some of those, but do keep in mind that many quality, boutique producers aren’t able to distribute widely so don’t be afraid to go online and buy directly from the winery. And if you’re cheap, err umm, budget-conscious like me, you’ll take advantage of the numerous shipping deals out there. Finally, I do make a conscious effort to not include the same ones each year because I definitely have my faves that I drink year after year, but yeah, there may be some from last year that show up again this year. Sorry, not sorry. And away we go…
DAOU Discovery Rosé, Paso Robles
Grape: 95% Grenache Noir, 5% Sauvignon Blanc
Where: Total Wine, Kroger, HEB, Wine.com
The 411: Family-owned and operated by Georges Daou and Daniel Daou, DAOU is located in the Adelaida District (one of 11 sub-appellations) of Paso Robles. The estate, which is predominantly planted to Bordeaux varieties, is located at 2,200 feet above sea level just 14 miles from the Pacific Ocean. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t have a lot of experience with Paso Robles and at one point, thought I didn’t want to learn more. Many wines I had seemed to be sort of one-note. But a couple of outings with the DAOU folks have opened my eyes to the possibilities of the region. I first had the DAOU rosé last fall at a wine dinner and so enjoyed it. Its more of a Provençal style wine and is crisp and refreshing with subtle peach, tangerine, and floral notes, with a citrus and mineral backbone. Approval from this acid head. I recently purchased the 2020 vintage – again!
Miner Rosato, Gibson Ranch, Mendocino
The 411: I was so surprised at the deep hue (more akin to Tavel) given that this was a Sangiovese based rosé. While the weight of the wine reminded me a bit of Tavel rosé, this is a very fruit-forward wine with lower amounts of acidity and just so dang easy to drink. Almost too easy. Lots of ripe summer berries. Its not complex and full of nuance like some others, and that’s certainly ok. Rather, it’s an unapologetic easy-drinking pink wine that I unapologetically quaffed on my front porch. This could definitely hold its own with burgers and dogs from the grill.
Sokol-Blosser Estate Rosé of Pinot Noir, Dundee Hills, OR
Grape: Pinot Noir
Where: Spec’s, Winery
The 411: Yep, this one gets another spot on this year’s rose list, even though it showed up on my list last year too. Definitely a perennial drinker in our house, so I easily noticed that they switched from cork to screw cap this year. Just makes it easier to get into! They also make a sparkling rosé that I’m quite smitten with. As usual, this one gives me all the juicy fruit (strawberry, quince, pear, apricot) I love with some citrus and acid to balance it all out. It is also a weightier rosé as opposed to delicate and very much enjoyed with chicken fajitas and guacamole. I also found that I enjoyed this one more and more the longer it was open.
Hampton Water Rosé, Languedoc
Grape: Grenache, Cinsault, Mourvèdre, and Syrah
Where: Total Wine, Spec’s, Wine.com
The 411: As a child of the 80s, I was a big Bon Jovi fan. In fact, I was ‘Team Hair Nation’ for real. Saw them in concert while promoting their Slippery When Wet album, was going to marry Richie Sambora, and all that jazz. Of course I’m older (“mature”) now which means that I’m rarely moved when celebrities tout their own products. This has been particularly true of wine. Whether fair or not, whenever I used to see a “celebrity wine” I would run in the other direction. But as I’ve learned, there are some folks that will put their name or image on anything for a quick buck (you know when Kim K was touting liquor even though she doesn’t drink), while there are others that are truly passionate about wine and want to create something special. Well Jon Bon Jovi is definitely in the latter category. I mean I’m a tax attorney that writes about wine! Hampton Water was created in 2017 and is the result of a collaboration between Jon Bon Jovi, Jesse Bongiovi and Gérard Bertrand. Bertrand has seriously put the wines of southern France on the map. And y’all, this is a damn good wine! Crisp red berries, citrus, melon, minerals, a touch of cream. A great acid kick means its at home on the dinner table as well. I paired with ceviche.
Château Miraval Rosé, Côtes de Provence
Grapes: Cinsault, Grenache, Rolle, Syrah
Where: Total Wine, Target, World Market, Wine.com, Costco
The 411: Another somewhat “celebrity wine” from the old “Brangelina” but this one is definitely a perennial drinker in our house. This is especially true after the prices came down. When it first came out, I saw bottles for $30+ and I was like, nah, particularly given the rice points on other pretty good rose wines. Lower to mid $20’s, I can do. I just hope that with everything going on legally in the courts with the brand, that what’s in the bottle is not affected. The Château Miraval Rosé is the flagship wine that we know and love, which first brought it critical acclaim. And yeah, regular folks dug it too. It’s elegant, refined with vibrant red fruits, crisp apples, watermelon and has such a soft mouthfeel. And while its from Provence, its provides a little more body and depth of fruit than many of its regional counterparts. This one never disappoints.
STUDIO by Miraval Rosé, Méditerranée IGP
Grapes: Cinsault, Grenache, Rolle (aka Vermentino), Tibouren
Where: Total Wine, Target, Wine.com
The 411: For those who love Miraval, but want something a little easier on the wallet, try STUDIO by Miraval. After the success of the OG, this line was introduced by the estate in 2018, about six years after. Sourced from the larger French Riviera region as opposed to the Côtes de Provence, this one seems more linear with more pronounced salinity and floral notes, but still with fresh summer berries. The wine’s names comes from Miraval’s recording music studio at the estate where famous bands such as Pink Floyd, AC/DC, Sting, Sade, The Cure, and more have worked. Bring on the grilled shellfish! Also pairs well with sailing.
Chateau Minuty M de Minuty, Côtes de Provence
Grapes: Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah
Where: Total Wine, Wine.Com
The 411: Another classic from the South of France, Minuty is a family-owned estate in Saint-Tropez. While they are France’s leading premium rosé producer, this is definitely a case where bigger does NOT translate to mass-produced ‘meh’ wines. They are practically synonymous with the French Riviera and is one of a small number of estates that have been given Cru Classé status within the Côtes de Provence appellation. I also love that they do a fun, limited-edition bottle each year. This one of from 2020 (remember I’m still drinking last year’s rosé too!) and I haven’t seen the new bottle for 2021. But I may be a little early too as folks have different release times for the current year’s rosé. At any rate, the classic delicate characteristics of peach, white flowers, grapefruit, tangy berry and intense freshness is always welcome in the summer sun.
For more of the pink stuff, be sure to check out my love letter to Texas rosé as well as last year’s lineup, many of which I’m still dinking including Big Table Farm and Benovia. Always gotta keep some in the cellar! Happy summer and happy rosé-ing!