A crisp bottle of rosé is the ultimate warm-weather wine. From its distinct pink hue to its light and refreshing flavors to the simple fact that it is best served cold, rosé practically takes itself to a picnic.
"Rosé is the quintessential summer wine," notes Tom Wark, a wine blogger and president of Wark Communications. "It looks like summer and it tastes like summer. That’s what you want to haul out on the deck when it starts getting warm."
We couldn't agree more. Rosés, however, are a bit of a mystery to the average consumer, unless they happen to live in Provence. For the rest of us, navigating our way through the increasingly plentiful pink offerings can be a challenge.
Rosé is typically made from red wine grapes (though white grapes may be added to a blend), but instead of fermenting the wine with the skins still in the juice -- as is done with red wines -- they are removed from the mixture anywhere from a few hours to a few days into the process. The result is a pink-colored wine that tends to taste more like a white wine than a red. (Red grape skins provide much of the tannins generally associated with red wines.)
Now that you know how they're made and when to drink them, how to find the right one for every summer occasion? Don’t fret, we've consulted the experts and come up with a list of 10 rosés, all at price points that won’t break your budget.
10. Perrin Reserve Cotes du Rhone Rosé 2006, France ($10)
An intense pink with a fresh nose and hints of red currants and yellow raspberries, this wine is supple and fruity while boasting a lively and satisfying finish.
9. Goats do Roam Rose 2007, South Africa ($10)
Made with a mix of Shiraz, Pinotage, Cinsault, Grenache, Gamay, and Merlot grapes, this vibrant South African wine offers hints of berries and red fruits. It has a lovely character and a clean, dry finish.
8. Cune Rosado 2006, Spain ($10.79)
A Spanish Rioja made from mostly Tempranillo grapes with some Garnacha blended in, this lovely wine has a raspberry-pink color, summer fruit flavors and a more complex finish than you’d expect from most rosés. A no-brainer.
7. Yering Station Extra Dry Pinot Noir Rose 2006, California ($10)
Highly rated by International Wine Cellar, this California Pinot has a medium pink color, clear raspberry and cherry aromas and a light floral accent on the nose. Slightly acidic, it also boasts an "exotic blood orange quality on the long, juicy finish." Their conclusion: "Delicious." No arguments here.
6. Skin Flint Dry Rosé, California, NV ($9)
It’s a screw top, but don’t let that fool you, Skin Flint is the perfect cheap rosé to stock up on for the beach or barbecue. Unpretentious, dry, and surprisingly refreshing.
5. Chateau Ste. Michelle, Nellie's Garden Dry Rosé 2006, Washington ($10)
A beautiful deep pink, this Washington rosé is a blend of Syrah, Grenache, Viognier, and Mourvèdre grapes. Well balanced flavors and not too sweet, with hints of rose petal, this is a great pick to serve with that evening meal on the deck.
4. Gran Feudo Rosado 2005, Spain ($10)
Made entirely of Garnacha grapes, this is a deeper-colored rosé than most. Medium-bodied, it’s more complex than its average light brothers and sisters in pink, but nonetheless has the quintessential dry finish you look for in a good rosé.
3. Folie a Deux Menage à Trois Rosé 2006, California ($10)
A blend of Merlot, Syrah and Gewürztraminer, this has everything you want in a rosé. A flavorful mix of fruit aromas and flavors from raspberries, strawberries and even lychee nuts, all paired with a smooth and clean finish.
2. Lisa Terras Do Sado 2005, Portugal ($6)
The lone Portuguese choice on our list, this beauty has the full package, at a price that makes it, arguably, the pick of the bunch. Fruity flavors with a gentle touch of spice. Buy two.
1. La Vielle Ferme Cotes du Ventoux Rose 2006, France ($9)
Wine Spectator calls this Rhone Valley rosé: "Effusive and bright, with…mineral notes followed by a refreshing finish." Made with a blend of Cinsault, Grenache and Syrah grapes, it is intensely fruity and simply put: Marvelous