Rosé has long been the unofficial wine of summer, and the wild popularity of the pink stuff isn’t abating anytime soon. The best rosés are cold, crisp, refreshing and fruity (but not overly so), and go great with shellfish, summer salads and cold cuts, as well as heartier bbq fare like burgers, steaks, chops, and ribs.
Rosé's appeal also lies in its signature color--spanning salmon-hued, dark pink and sunset orange—that makes these warm weather wines so undeniably eye-catching, especially when stacked at your local wine store like so many crates of candy.
So which rosé's are the best to quaff this summer, or any other time of the year? We consulted top sommelier and inveterate rosé aficionado John Slover of Dirty French in New York City for his top ten picks.
“The ones I like are crisp and dry, not too fruity rather more restrained, mineral and subtly aromatic,” Slover says. “I tend to favor rosés from the Loire made from Pinot Noir/Sancerre, and Cab Franc/Grolleaux."
“The northerly climate ensures thirst-quenching acidity and restrained fruit. I also like Provence for rosé, particularly Bandol, which being right on the Mediterranean moderates the heat of the Provencal summer, so the wines aren’t over-ripe. They have salty minerality and restrained red fruit. Corsican rosé similarly has that minerality because of proximity to the ocean, and moderate temperatures.“
“The outlier in my list is the Tavel rosé, which is from Southern Rhone far from the ocean, and it's hot, hot, hot and ripe, ripe, ripe. Sometimes I just want a mouthful of big, sweet, ripe red fruit in my rosé. And of course, rosé Champagne needs no explanation.”
Here, 10 rosés that Slover recommends uncorking right now:
Gassier Cotes de Provence “Pas du Moine,” 2018
“A fruit and flower forward rosé made of a traditional provencal rosé blend.”
Sulauze Coteaux d’Aix en Provence “Pomponette,” 2018
“A clear pale rosé made of grenache, syrah and cinsault. Citrus-driven with notes of peaches and white flowers.”
Bastide de la Ciselette Bandol Rosé, Provence, 2018
“A relative newcomer to the Bandol rosé scene, Bastide de la Ciselette is a classic Bandol rosé in style with herbaceous notes and fresh tart red fruit.”
Tempier Bandol Rosé, Provence, 2017
"One of the standard bearers of all rosé, anywhere. Juicy fruit, salinity and a surprising amount of structure. I buy this in every vintage. It's my top pick on this list. This is not a simple, easygoing rosé. It’s a serious wine.”
Thibaud Boudignon Rosé de Loire, 2017/2018
“This bright, savory rosé made of Cabernet Franc and Grolleau is a real crowd pleaser with a clean dry finish.”
Alphonse Mellot Sancerre, 2018
“A delicious pinot noir rosé with crisp, bright red fruits and minerality.”
Vetriccie Vin de Corse 2018, Corsica
“Made of a blend of native Corsican grapes the Vetriccie is salmon in color and full of ripe fruit, but well balanced.”
Trinquevedel Tavel Rosé 2017, Southern Rhone
“Tavel rosé is unique in that the grapes come from the best parcels of the vineyards, not young vines and lesser parcels. 30-year-old vines, ripe red fruit with a vegetal backbone.”
Gaston Chiquet Brut Rosé NV, Champagne
“Coming from the Vallee de la Marne, one of the great growers of Champagne makes this pinot noir-dominant blend juicy, chalky and refined.”
Ruinart Brut Rosé NV, Champagne
“Dating back to 1729, Ruinart makes a non vintage medium salmon in color rosé Champagne with under ripe strawberries and fresh mint.”