If you know me, you know how much I LOVE pink. From clothing to handbags to bedding – WINE! Yes, it’s rosé season and I know I missed National Rosé Day but really – every day is Rosé Day in my world! I’ve been tasting some beauties lately so thought I would drop a few recon on you.
First, let’s up our rosé IQ:
- It all started in the south of France back in the early 1900s, when the posh people of the Cote d’Azür started crushing bottles and bottles of Provence rosé at the elite beach clubs on the Mediterranean. It took Americans a while to get on the dry rosé bus, but now you see a wall of pink in nearly every wine store
- Almost all rosé is made from red grapes – the skins are where the pink hue comes from. After crushing the grapes, the wine is fermented for a short period of time with the skins, seeds and stems – to pick up color. It might be just a few hours, sometimes a day, sometimes up to two days. Then the wine goes into a tank, leaving the skins, stems and seeds behind.
- Who remembers Lancers? Mateus? Those sweet pink wines from Portugal were the first taste of rosé in the U.S., back in the 1970s but alas … they fell out of favor by the 1990s, when Americans developed more refined palates and starting reaching for drier, more balanced rosés.
- But dry rosé took its sweet pink time building popularity in the U.S. It started its gangbuster run in the U.S. around 2013, when chain stores in major markets started rolling out the pink carpet, making room for hundreds of rosé wines from all over the world
- Prosecco DOC just launched this year, after producers lobbied the DOC to change the rules, to permit it. The wines get their pink hue from up to 15 percent of pinot noir, bringing pinkness and fruitiness to the Glera, which is the main grape in Prosecco. It’s already a huge hit and why not, because at $15 and under, it’s a great bargain!
Okay, let’s taste! We’ve got rosés from Washington State, Argentina, Portugal, California and Mexico!
L’Ecole 41 2020 Grenache Rosé ($20)- Okay, before you hammer me, I’ll just say it: this wine already is sold out. I know, I know – but I’m telling you about it because A) it’s freaking delicious and B) so you can get a jump on it next spring! It’s all Grenache and all delicious. It’s loaded with strawberries, watermelon and – wait for it – a slight whisper of marshmallow (but the wine is dry!). It’s calling you outdoors to sit on your deck and enjoy – a picnic sipper for sure! They only made 1,000 cases, and winemaker Marcus Rafanelli promised he’ll make more of the 2021 (which will be available next spring). It comes from grapes grown in the Alder Ridge Vineyard in Horse Heaven Hills, near Walla Walla, WA. This wine over-delivers on quality for the price and whoever is next on my deck might get lucky, because, I have one more bottle hiding in the fridge – wee!!
Gaia Rosé 2020 ($20)- New from Argentina’s Domaine Bouquet – Well. I mean – look at this bottle! It’s GORGEOUS! Who doesn’t want this on their picnic table? This is the first vintage of this wine and it’s made from 100 percent organic Pinot Noir grapes, high up in Mendoza’s Uco Valley. The wine is named after Gaia, the ancient Greek goddess of the earth who has been an inspiration for the Bousquet family since the late 1990s, when they left France to make wine in the new world, on virgin land in the remote foothills of the Andes. The wine is dry, medium-bodied with a burst of red fruit and a very slight orangey note. I really, really like this one.
Ryder Estate Pinot Noir Rosé 2020 ($15) – This is a sample sent to me with two other bottles from Scheid Family Wines, which I had heard of – but was curious about. They are big into sustainability (love). Scheid believes the best wines come from healthy vines and they are 100 percent correct on that. This is a delight to drink, offering generous strawberry, raspberry and cherry notes balanced by crisp acidity. A perfect pink for any porch!
Casa Relvas Herdade São Miguel Rosé 2020 ($15) – You can always count on Portugal for excellent quality for an excellent price and this is no exception. Using funds from the EU, Portuguese wineries have invested heavily in winemaking, viticulture and marketing, to bring their world-class wines to more happy wine drinkers. This wine is a “sur lie” aged rosé – meaning that the wine spent some time with the spent yeast cells (lees) – giving it some tasty, toasty yeast notes.
The other thing about Portugal is that they rarely make single-varietal wines – most are blends of many grapes and this one is Touring Nacional, a bold red grape that is Portugal’s unofficial national grape, plus Syrah, Aragonez (aka Tempranillo)and others. (No one is every quite sure what all the grapes in mot Portuguese wines are – maybe not even the winemaker!) All I am sure of is this: this rosé tastes expensive and I want more of it.
Rose-Fuscia 0120 Ritualista Bodega – Okay, I know this is crazy – because I’m 99 percent sure this wine is not sold in the U.S. and I cannot even find any info about tit online – but I had it at my friend Stacey’s house – they were gifted this bottle by a chef friend who brought it back from Mexico and it was REALLY delicious! So my point of sharing this is: if you find wines from Mexico – you should try them, because the quality is awesome. The bummer is that they don’t quite have the distribution in the U.S. yet to be widely available, and they tend to be expensive – like U.K. sparklers – because the import taxes are really high – but man, I hope we see more Mexican wines in the U.S.