This month, we’re heading outdoors with the best drinks for the backyard, beach, and beyond. In Take It Outside, we’re exploring our favorite local spots and far-flung destinations that make summer the ultimate season for elevated drinking.
With its blush hue and easy-drinking palate, rosé is a warm-weather staple with undeniable appeal. Between 2016 and 2020, the increasingly popular category saw a 281 percent increase in sales — and has gone from beach bag essential to mainstay on serious wine lists. That’s because the rosés on wine shop shelves are no longer the saccharine pinks of generations past. Today, options on the American market are vast, with profiles from floral and fresh, to earthy and herbaceous.
And we’re no longer relying on Provence to provide us with top tier rosés, either. This year, many of the bottles that impressed VinePair’s tasting panel hail from California, as well as some standouts from Greece and Italy.
To compile this list of the best rosés of the year, our team safely reunited at VinePair HQ to taste (and retaste) a whole lot of pink wine. Our rankings then took into account value, availability, and, of course, flavor. The result is a list of bottles both affordable and splurge-worthy, many of which can be found in just about any grocery store or wine shop around the U.S.
One of our favorite things about rosé is its accessibility; over half of the bottles here clock in at under $25, making them great case-buys for toting along to picnics or serving at summer barbecues. But with a dynamic assortment of punchy, exciting, and just plain delicious wines to choose from, it’s hard to go wrong with any bottle on this list.
Here are the 25 best rosé wines for 2021. Looking for our 2020 edition of this list? Head over here.
25. Pinot Project Rosé IGP Pays d’Oc 2020
For a dependable summer go-to, look no further than this rosé of Pinot Noir. This wine is begging to be poured at pool parties, picnics — pretty much any outdoor occasion. From the Pays d’Oc region off the southern coast of France, this is an endlessly crushable pale pink wine with delightful notes of sour cherry, peach, and bubblegum. Average price: $12.
24. Sonoma-Cutrer Rosé of Pinot Noir 2020
This widely available gem is refreshing and inviting. With aromas of fresh pastries and lightly salted strawberries, this slightly bubbly wine awakes the palate with grippy acidity. Average price: $22.
23. Decoy Rosé 2019
With aromas of butter and tropical fruit, this is a crowd-pleasing wine that’s ideal for pairing with fresh spring and summer salads. It is flavorful yet approachable, and its availability at wine shops and supermarkets alike makes it an ideal weeknight pour. Average price: $17.
22. Calera Central Coast Vin Gris of Pinot Noir 2020
From California’s Central Coast comes this slightly funky bottling that will impress any rosé skeptic. On the palate it’s like biting into a wedge of ripe honeydew, but it would pair beautifully with grilled fish or your favorite seafood pasta. Average price: $26.
21. Channing Daughters Rosato di Cabernet Franc 2020
A prime example of florality done right, this wine smells like honeyed pollen falling on a rose garden. With slight bitterness and a botanical finish, this is a bright, inviting wine that displays the quality of wines coming out of Long Island’s North Fork. Great drunk on its own, this wine can also be paired with a variety of small plates and snacks. Truffle fries, anyone? Average price: $21.
20. Gabriëlskloof Rosebud 2020
From Bot River, South Africa comes this herbaceous rosé that’s not wanting for flavor. Its slightly fizzy acidity brightens the palate, while a full mouthfeel rounds out the experience. Priced at just $15, this is a great case-buy for all your summer drinking needs. Average price: $15.
19. Dutton-Goldfield Rosé of Pinot Noir 2020
This briny, food-friendly rosé is a gem from California’s North Coast. On the palate, expect notes of pickled watermelon and salty cheese. It’s a great pairing for feta-heavy Greek salads and all the fried foods. Average price: $30.
18. Marietta Cellars OVR Old Vine Rosé 2020
With aromas of salted watermelon and beachy breezes, this California offering is tart on the palate with a strong concentration of fruit. This wine is unique, exciting, and ready for lake day adventures. Average price: $15.
17. Chêne Bleu Le Rosé 2019
A rosé with rare savory notes, this wine’s flavors reminded our panel of cheese, olives, and salty prosciutto. Its millennial pink color will draw you in, but its tangy, lemony palate will keep you sipping all season long. Average price: $29.
16. Château Minuty M Rosé Côtes de Provence 2020
This is everything we look for in a Provence rosé. With a chewy yet refreshing texture and balanced acidity, this elegantly creamy wine finishes with a subtle fruit note that stays with you long after the last sip. Average price: $21.
15. Sable de Camargue ‘Pink Flamingo’ Tête de Cuvée Gris Rosé 2020
With balanced minerality and florality on the palate, this is a light, easy-drinking, versatile wine that goes with everything. . Pair it with fresh berries and French toast at brunch or flaky white fish at dinner — either way, it’s sure to be the star of the meal. Average price: $15
14. Ram’s Gate Winery Sonoma Coast Rosé 2019
This Sonoma Coast rosé has the oaky notes of a California Chardonnay with great weight and high acidity. With flavors of tart, under ripe strawberries and ripe rhubarb, this wine holds its own with food (think grilled veggies) but is just as delicious on its own. Average price: $38.
13. Wölffer Estate Rosé Table Wine 2020
This is a quintessential Long Island rosé. It’s mellow on the nose, but kicks into high gear on the palate with vegetal notes of bell pepper and the tartness of lemon candy. Though the brand’s Summer In a Bottle may be more well-known, our tasting panel found that this bottling was the clear winner between the two. Average price: $18.
12. Sullivan Rutherford Estate Rosé of Pinot Noir 2020
This wine is a prime example of the quality that Napa rosés have to offer. With aromas of strawberry cake on the nose, it surprises the palate with the tart flavors of pineapple and rhubarb. With its high levels of acidity, this is a great rosé to pair with a big, juicy burger. Average price: $40.
11. Tolenas Vineyards and Winery Suisun Valley White Pinot Noir Eclipse 2019
This rosé evokes the flavors of a cheese board, specifically quince paste slathered on brie, and that’s a compliment.. The minerality and savory undertones of this wine give it a mature quality that make it an ideal companion for foods like watermelon salad or hearty grain bowls. Average price: $20.
10. Ladera Vineyards Pinot Noir Rosé Pillow Road Vineyard 2020
This Russian River Valley selection smells of fresh dough and warm pastries. It’s fruit-forward on the palate and sweet but not cloying. Bring it to your next pool party or weekend lunch date. Average price: $36.
9. Tormaresca ‘Calafuria’ Rosato Salento IGT 2020
This slightly fizzy rosé comes from Salento, Italy. With strawberry, watermelon, and floral notes on the nose and refreshing minerality on the palate, this is a super bright and balanced wine with amazing value. Average price: $17.
8. Halcyon Wines California Cabernet Franc 2018
A rosé-esque red for the rosé-averse, this deep pink juice tastes like strawberry jam flecked with freshly cracked black pepper. It will impress your natural wine-loving friends with its tangy appeal and will pair nicely with everything from saucy barbecue to zippy noodles. Average price: $25.
7. Ameztoi Getariako Txakolina Rubentis Rosado 2020
If it’s not already, this bottle may become your favorite summer wine. With peppery arugula notes combined with the brightness of crunchy watercress, this rosé is sure to delight any palate, and its delicate effervescence will keep you coming back for more. One panelist said it best: “This wine is f*cking delicious.” Average price: $24.
6. Skouras ‘Peplo’ High Elevation Rosé 2019
A lot of rosés are forgettable, but this isn’t one of them. A Greek wine with legit terroir, this bottle stands out for its beautifully herbaceous and creamy palate. Notes of dill and mint intertwine with the florality we’ve come to expect from pink wine. This wine is begging to be paired with a lamb burger topped with tzatziki. Average price: $15.
5. Feudo Montoni ‘Rose di Adele’ Nerello Mascalese Rosato 2020
From Italy’s Etna DOC comes this pale pink, earthy refresher. Flavors of peach candy and fresh basil sing on the palate along with creamy Greek yogurt. The acidity is strong but incredibly balanced, making for a harmonious palate that’ll call you back for a second glass. Average price: $21.
4. Domaines Ott Château de Selle Côtes de Provence Coeur de Grain Rosé 2020
Ott’s Château de Selle offering is rich with flavors of white pepper, ripe melon, and red cherries, making for a crisp, juicy bottling that represents everything we look for in an everyday rosé. For those looking for an earthier, more unexpected flavor profile, Ott’s Chateau Romassan offering also impressed our panel with its wild, herbaceous, vegetal qualities. Average price: $40.
3. Masseria Li Veli ‘Askos’ Susumaniello Rosato Salento IGT 2020
Deeply flavorful with excellent concentration, this well-rounded rosé wowed our panel. Essences of licorice, basil, and red fruit make this wine stand out among the pack. And with an affordable price point, it’s a great bottle to bring to summer gatherings large and small. Average price: $23.
2. Alpha Estate Hedgehog Single Vineyard Rosé 2020
Alpha Estate, a sustainable winery located in the northwest corner of Greece, has consistently impressed the VinePair team with its standout bottles. Its 2016 Xinomavro took first place on our top 50 wines of 2020 list, and its rosé similarly stood out as one of the best. This wine’s bouquet of strawberries and flowers is reminiscent of pink wines from Provence, but its salinity and quiet minerality reflect the terroir of Greece. Average price: $21.
1. Balletto Vineyards Rosé of Pinot Noir 2020
This is what high-end rosé should taste like. Creamy vanilla yogurt notes pack a punch, followed by ripe farmers’ market strawberries. A bit of acidity keeps this pink wine playful, bright, and endlessly sessionable. Best of all, this Russian River Valley offering is inexpensive enough to buy by the case, so you can have it on hand for occasions big and small. Average price: $20.