Saturday, May 25, 2024

Rose: Summertime’s Perfect Wine

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Rosé is having a moment.

Serious wine drinkers used to dismiss it as backyard barbecue wine or drink it almost apologetically. The sweetish pseudo rosé dubbed White Zinfandel, first marketed in the 1980s, didn’t help its reputation.

Americans started paying serious attention to rosé around 2010, and by the end of the decade, sales had soared by an astonishing 1,400 percent. What uncorked the bottle? Analysts credit the rise of Instagram (rosé looks so pretty in pictures), the televised rosé-swigging habits of various “housewives,” and the developing drinking habits of millennials.

Online wine retailers like Drizly report that about 70 percent of their rosé sales are French, and we now consume more than 4 million cases of rosé français annually in the U.S. That includes Brad Pitt’s Château Miraval and Cameron Diaz’s “vegan friendly” Avaline, both from Provence, and Jon Bon Jovi’s Hampton Water (made in France’s Languedoc  despite its tip-of-Long Island name). It also includes a lot of anonymous, mostly Provençal plonk with about as much character as grape-flavored Dasani.

There’s certainly good rosé made in Provence—look for offerings from Domaines Ott and Château Minuty, for starters—and so much more elsewhere. Here are notes on six terrific rosés from France and beyond.

Mulderbosch Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé 2022 ($14)

The definitive South African rosé, with a coppery pink hue that shines through its handsome bottle; a seductive, slightly citrusy aroma; and plenty of ripe fruit flavors (cherries and strawberries, most prominently) to flood the palate

El Chaparral de Vega Sindoa 2020 ($16)

Spain’s Navarra region is famous for its rosé, and El Chaparral is a premier example. Made from old-vine Garnacha (Grenache),  it is rich, ruby-hued, and vivid in both appearance and flavor, with delicious strawberry-like fruit, a nice mineral edge, and some noticeable reinforcing tannin.

Huber Zweigelt Rosé 2020 ($20)

We tend to think of Austria for its Grüner Veltliner and other distinguished whites, but its rosés deserve attention too. Like this one, for instance, from a grape variety (Zweigelt) first grown in Austria in 1922. It’s simply a joy to drink: light terra-cotta red and juicy, with a bowlful of summer berry flavors and mouth-​coating richness.

Margerum Riviera Rosé 2022 ($26)

A mostly Grenache Provençal-style rosé that hails all the way from the California “Riviera” of Santa Barbara County, it beckons with light pearlescent pink color, abundant fruit, and a clean, crisp finish—the perfect wine for a warm afternoon par excellence.

Sinskey Vin Gris of Pinot Noir Rosé 2021 ($40)

“Elegance” isn’t a term usually associated with rosé, but that’s the operative word here. Vin gris—“gray wine”—is very pale rosé (it’s had only brief contact with red grape skins, which gives rosé its distinctive pink coloring), but this one’s pale in color only. Intensely flavorful and framed with bright acidity, it’s positively suave and very satisfying.

Domaine Tempier Bandol Rosé 2021 ($59)

Here’s a rosé you could drink like a red—maybe not with a cowboy rib eye, but certainly with roast pork or grilled veal chops. It’s a big mouthful of wine, complex and alive with fruit (strawberry, peach, fig) and hinting of that uniquely Mediterranean bouquet of spiky herbs and aromatic shrubs the French call garrigue.

Tip Jar

Overchilling rosé suppresses the wine’s nose and flavor. About 50 degrees Fahrenheit is optimal. Riedel’s Extreme Rosé glass is shaped expressly to capture rose’s unique bouquet. ($49)

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