See our Best Rosés of 2019 here.
With skyrocketing sales and tireless marketing, rosé is a 21st-century American success story. Previous generations of star-spangled wine consumers dismissed it as too French, too gendered, or too reminiscent of black-sheep White Zinfandel.
Of course that’s all grainy, black-and-white history now. In our rosy-hued present, pink wines have come to symbolize “all that is good about summertime,” writes Vanity Fair. They drive innovation and expansion, and empower juggernauts like Chateau d’Esclans’ Whispering Angel, the world’s most popular rosé, known to release 3.2 million-bottle vintages.
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To determine our list of the 25 best rosés of 2018, we released an open call for submissions, scoured wine shops, and gathered a panel of beverage industry experts to taste as many pink wines as humanly possible. We opt not to taste blind, figuring modern consumers rarely shop without considering prices. This led to some tough decisions, like eliminating Garrus, Whispering Angel’s top-tier offering, from our ranking. Although our panel found it subtle, sophisticated, and undeniably tasty, we couldn’t justify its $104 price tag.
All of the bottles on our list are less than $37, and many come in under $20. Origins span Provence, the Willamette Valley, and sun-swept Greek isles. All are available nationwide.
Here are VinePair’s top 25 rosés of 2018.
25. Falesco Vitiano Rosato Umbria, Italy, 2016
Red berries, light florals, and honeysuckle are among the aromatics of this garnet-hued option with a creamy mouthfeel and tart finish. Average price: $11
24. Clos Cibonne Tibouren Cuvée Speciale des Vignettes Rosé, France, 2015
An excellent foil for everything from grilled fish to lamb, this versatile Provençal has an earthy nose and pale, almost coppery color. Its round palate gives way to bracing minerality. Average price: $32
23. Mas de Gourgonnier Rosé, France, 2017
Certified organic since 1975, this Les Baux-de-Provence house produces exceptional wines, including a crowd-pleasing rosé. Expect bright, clean flavors with lovely minerality on the finish. Average price: $18
22. Winter’s Hill Estate Dry Rosé, Oregon, 2017
A funky nose with faint barnyardy notes meets creamy roundness in this dark pink rosé made from Willamette Valley Pinot Noir. “It tastes organic,” one of our panelists commented. Fittingly, the house prides itself on sustainability. Average price: $22
21. Wolffer Estate Rosé, New York, 2017
The Long Island legend has expanded its rosy-hued lineup to include “lifestyle wine,” cider, and even gin. The O.G. is your best bet for bone-dry rosé with minimal fruit and ample refreshment. Average price: $18
20. Ehlers Estate Sylviane Rosé, California, 2017
Made from Napa Cabernet Franc, this Barbie-pink bottle has cotton candy undertones on the nose, but the palate is bracing and balanced, with a citrusy finish. Average price: $36
19. Jean-Luc Colombo Cape Bleue Rosé, France, 2017
This affordable bottle comes from one of the most reliable names in the game (another rosé from this producer landed higher on our list). Its floral nose and tropical fruit flavors are balanced by acidity. Average price: $12
18. Vrac, France, 2017
It’s worth seeking out this stellar-value Vin de Pays de Mediterranée, which has a light, clean nose, off-dry palate, and creamy mouthfeel. Average price: $10
17. Fullerton Three Otters Pinot Noir Rosé, Oregon, 2017
Made with a mix of Pinot Noir and Pinot Grigio, this Willamette Valley bottle has slight carbonic on the palate, a short-to-medium finish, and excellent food pairing potential. “It has wine umami,” one of our panelists commented. Average price: $21
16. Prieure de Montezargues Tavel, France, 2017
A tropical nose with notes of pineapple won over our tasting panel, which noted the body was fuller and juicier than many others. A great option for those who prefer a sweeter rosé. Average price: $21
15. Gran Moraine, Oregon, 2017
From Oregon’s Willamette Valley comes this light, sophisticated Pinot Noir rosé, which has balanced fruit and acidity, and a dry finish. “I’d serve it with a nice chicken dinner,” one taster commented. Average price: $29
14. Chateau Maupague Sainte-Victoire Rosé, France, 2017
A pale pink, easy-drinking option, this Provençal blend has bright, fresh flavors with bracing acidity and minerality. Average price: $20
13. Inman Family Endless Crush, California, 2017
Bright field strawberries with faint notes of melon on the nose give way to a ripe, fruity palate in this Russian River Valley Pinot Noir rosé. “It has a nice balance,” a taster commented. Average price: $38
12. Domaines Ott Chateau Romassan Bandol Rosé, France, 2017
This elegant, sensually shaped bottle (“It looks like a bowling pin!” exclaimed one panelist) is a longstanding favorite for ballet-pink, Provençal rosé. Clean and easy-drinking, it has grapefruit and florals on the nose, and a light, sweet finish. Average price: $29
11. Bonny Doon Vineyard Vin Gris de Cigare Rosé, California, 2016
Reliably delicious, this salmon-colored Grenache-Mourvèdre blend from Randall Grahm has a clean, crisp palate with notes of grapefruit and red berries followed by bright acidity. Average price: $15
10. J. Vidal-Fleury Côtes du Rhône Rosé, France, 2017
Another exceptional value, this brightly hued bottle is thoughtfully made. “I’d be really happy drinking this all afternoon,” one panelist said. Average price: $11
9. Chateau Gassier ‘Esprit Gassier’ Rosé, France, 2017
“I’d crush the sh*t out of this on a yacht I don’t own,” commented one of our more vocal tasters. Watermelon pink, with strawberries on the nose and palate, this Provençal bottle is well balanced and tastes like summer in all the best ways. Average price: $17
8. Domaine Saint Andrieu L’Oratoire de Saint Andrieu, France, 2017
This bottle won over VinePair’s panel with its sweet, honeysuckle nose and even-handed blend of acid and fruit on the palate. “It’s not too sweet or acidic,” a taster said. Average price: $17
7. Pursued by Bear ‘Blushing Bear’ Rosé, Washington, 2017
Crisp and dry, this pale pink wine from Kyle MacLachlan’s Columbia Valley label has a wonderful balance of fruit and minerality. It inspired one taster to wax poetic — “a kiss of flowers, a kiss of red fruit” — and its bright acidity left all reaching for another sip. Average price: $33
6. Zoe Rosé, Greece, 2017
This dark pink Peloponnese wine redefines easy drinking. A herbaceous nose scented with juniper and flowers gives way to a pleasantly balanced palate, all at remarkable value. Average price: $12
5. Channing Daughters Rosato di Cabernet Franc, New York, 2017
Our top-ranked domestic rosé hails from Long Island’s Bridgehampton, some 25 miles southeast of the region’s celebrated North Fork wineries. It has a pale, copper-salmon color and invitingly floral nose and sweet Long Island fruit on the finish. “Now that’s a good rosé!” exclaimed one taster. Average price: $18
4. Pascal Jolivet Sancerre Rosé, France, 2017
Hailing from the upper Loire, this Pinot Noir blend is salmon-colored with a bright, fruity nose. It has a softer mouthfeel and excellent balance of juicy berries and minerality, with a tight, smart finish. Average price: $21
3. Ameztoi ‘Rubentis’ Rosado Txakolina, Spain, 2017
From Spain’s Basque country comes this consistently excellent wine (it topped our rosé ranking last summer). Frothy and ballet pink, its nose suggests roses and ocean breezes. Tart fruit, elegant salinity, and high acidity on the palate make it “insanely crushable,” according to one taster. Complex and fun, this is one summer crush built to last. Average price: $22
2. Jean-Luc Colombo La Dame du Rouet, France, 2017
With notes of orange, rose, and white peach on the nose, La Dame du Rouet inspired one taster to remark, “This is what Provençal rosé should smell like.” On the palate, watermelon and fruit give way to a hint of cotton candy and delicately matched acidity. “It’s delicious. Actually, it’s really delicious,” said another VinePair panelist. Average price: $21
1. La Chapelle Gordonne, France, 2017
In a sea of crushable summer water, La Chapelle Gordonne is wine. Really good wine. Its herbal, honeysuckle nose gives way to a nuanced, beautifully balanced palate with bright fruit, tart acidity, and a long finish. Tasters commented on this bottle’s fantastic potential for food pairing, not to mention aging. La Chapelle Gordonne is our top pick for summer 2018. Average price: $24