Savoring a good rosé wine is like taking a stroll through a beautiful garden of blooming flowers en route to a sun-drenched, tranquil destination. They’re the perfect wines for casual occasions or for those moments where you’re not sure what you’re in the mood for. But rosés can also be consumed and forgotten (like a summer fling), so with that in mind, I gathered a group of diverse friends and invited them over to taste test 30 different rosés and enjoy a selection of excellent American artisanal cheeses and charcuterie.
I wanted to find what wines the group liked best (and ensure that they were worthy of long-term relationship status). The results were unpredictable as two American versions came out on top, surpassing even the South of France (the benchmark of rosés) selection. Here are the results in order of “likes”:
Wolffer Estate, Rosé 2105 Long Island New York is a blend of 6 sustainable variety of farmed grapes (Merlot, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Riesling, Pinot Noir and Vignoles). Its elegant light pink color, vibrant crisp and refreshing acidity balance, with fresh aromas of peach and pear along with great minerality and classic dry finish, make this a food-friendly wine that can stand on its own. Since its highly successful debut over a decade ago, Wolffer decided to create two new Rosés: their Grandioso Rosé 2015 and the Summer in a Bottle Rosé, 2015. Both distinctively different while remaining faithful to their original Rosé.
Dakota Shy, Rosé of Cabernet Sauvignon, 2015, Napa Valley is not available for sale unless you have an allocation with Dakota Shy Vineyards. But if you get a hold of someone that has an “in”, by all means have them open a bottle of this surprisingly fresh and delicious (for a Cabernet Sauvignon rosé) wine. It is not as light as the Wolffer, but it is spicy with fruity notes of strawberry marmalade and a finish of green grass.
Chateau Paradis, Rosé 2014, Chateaux D’Aix en Provence. A blend of Grenache and Syrah, it displays an intense rose color, a rich taste of white pulp fruits (white peach and pears), flowers and ends with a spicy but flowery note. Pairs wonderfully with grilled white meats and vegetables, salmon and hearty seafood soups. The best of all Provence Rosés!
Chateau Miraval, Rosé, 2015 Cotes de Provence, co-owned by Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, is a labor of love from the Perrins, a noted winemaking family of the southern Rhone region of France. This is a serious Rosé, a blend of Cinsault, Grenache, Syrah, and a dash of Vermentino, creating a refreshing and clean juice filled with the aroma of soft berries and citrus. It has been a favorite of mine since its debut in 2012.
E. Guigal, Cotes Du Rhone Rosé, 2015, Appellation Cotes du Rhone is an amazing rosé that hits your palate with strawberry and raspberry notes and then hits you with a bone dry finish, perfect as an aperitif and a perfect match for spicy foods and curries.
SAVED Magic Maker 2014 Rosé, California is a hearty dry wine created by blending Grenache, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc and Sangiovese grapes. Complex with notes of white peach, tangerine, green apple and strawberry, it is crisp and refreshing. The beautiful packaging is a definite conversation piece.
Domaine de Marquiliani, Vin De Corse Rosé, 1015, Corsica, France, a Corsican gem made with Sciaccarellu and Syrah grapes planted in granite gravel and silt soils, which produce an ethereal wine worth experiencing. It is ultimately the lightest of all the rosés I have ever had.
Daniel Crochet Sancerre Rosé 2014, Upper Loire, France, an excellent Pinot Noir Rosé from the Sancerre appellation in the Loire Valley that displays rich red berry fruit and the stone minerality typical of Sancere wines.
Rosé de Haut-Bailly, 2014 a Bordeaux Rosé and Les Hauts de Smith 2014 Bordeaux Rosé. Both are fantastic examples of sophisticated winemaking. The Haut-Bailly is made with 100% Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, and the Les Hauts de Smith, a Bordeaux blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Both are similarly crisp and aromatic with red cherry, light berry, and light spice, revealing re-defined elegance that is more “couture”, and out of the norm.
Kir-Yianni AKAKIES Sparkling Rosé 2014. After tasting a few Sparkling Rosés, this Kir-Yianni made with Xinomavro grape won our hearts.
Alpha Estate 2014 Rosé, North-Western Macedonia, Greece. A mostly Xinomavro and little Syrah blend from Greece, it’s easy to drink even though its dark pink color distracts from its rose petal and sweet strawberry notes. Great with spicy, fishy, and exotic cuisines. ■