Even a global pandemic can’t dampen interest in the pink wine juggernaut. According to VinePair’s internal data, rosé is off to an earlier than usual start to its strongest seasonal period, with a 19 percent increase in reader interest this March compared to 2019.
That interest comes off the back of four years of solid growth. According to Nielsen data, off-premise sales of pink wine increased almost 300 percent between January 2016 and January 2020, starting the decade with a value of over $576 million. It’s a remarkable success story, and one that looks set to continue based on the increasing diversity and elevated quality of wines VinePair recently tasted for our annual rosé ranking.
This year’s list encompasses bottles from mainstay regions like Provence and southern Italy, with fresh additions from throughout the Mediterranean, including Spain and Greece. There’s also a strong selection of domestic offerings, many of which can be purchased and shipped right from the wineries. Winery-direct sales are particularly resonant right now, as much of the country is sheltering in place; it’s a sales channel we expect to see grow in importance moving forward in the new normal.
The number of bottles tasted for this year’s list surpassed 100 labels. With a staff panel of tasters, we hotly debated our selections and rankings based on drinkability, mass appeal, quality, and value for money, with prices taken from wine-searcher.com or the winery itself, in the case of direct-to-consumer (DTC) offerings.
On the topic of price, the top 25 bottles of 2020 offer further proof of the value offered by the rosé category: More than half of the bottles on this year’s list deliver change from a crisp $20 bill. At least 10 come in at $15 or less.
Here are VinePair’s 25 best rosés of 2020.
This Napa Valley wine uses the traditional Bordeaux red pairing of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, and delivers a concentrated, full-bodied rosé. The nose and palate evoke strawberry jam and yogurt, while subtle tannins make it an ideal match for a range of dishes, from ingredient-packed salads to grilled fish to roasted white meat. Average price: $32.
A Spanish rosé made from the nation’s superstar red variety, Tempranillo, this wine blends red fruit notes with easy-drinking acidity and just a hint of complexity. For less than $10, it’s a winning combo and the type of bottle you can buy a couple of cases of to get you through summer. Average price: $8.
This 100 percent Merlot from Virginia is vibrant, fruity, and well balanced. With notes of sweet watermelon and tart grapefruit, it offers the perfect match to lobster rolls or a stacked chicken sandwich. Mainly available online from the winery, this is a great reason to start ordering DTC. Average price $22.
The lightly effervescent Txakoli wines of the Basque Country in Northern Spain are sprightly, refreshing, and always offer a fun drinking experience. This bottle is a wonderful, strawberry-rich example that’s ideal for aperitivo hour. Average price: $21.
This southern French rosé wine is all about complex, savory character. Dried herbs lead the nose before a jolt of juicy strawberries and tart cherries arrive on the palate. This is a robust rosé that will comfortably pair with stinky aged cheese and cured meat platters. Average price: $15.
A 100 percent Pinot Noir from California’s Santa Maria Valley, this is a lively, fruit-forward rosé. Generous acidity lifts its ripe watermelon and plum core, while hints of white pepper add a dash of nuance. Average price: $25.
This Oregon rosé smells like a breakfast bowl, with aromas of strawberries, honeydew melon, and yogurt. The palate has a slightly creamy texture, but a fragrant mint note helps cut through the richness. No food needed here; this is a wine to savor on its own. Average price: $21.
A big, bold rosé from Monterey County, Calif., this wine showcases the weightier side of Pinot Noir. The palate serves rich doses of ripe red berries, but there’s more than enough acidity to keep things lively. Serve with fruit platters at brunch or a sizable cheese plate as the sun goes down. Average price: $13.
An affordable Loire Valley rosé that’s full of character and sealed with a screw cap, this is perfect picnic wine. The aromas recall tart stone fruits and wild strawberries, while the palate is fruity and refreshing with a hint of minerality. At well under $20, this is a bargain. Average price: $13.
Made from Grenache, Cinsault, and Syrah, this is archetypal Provençal rosé. It’s light and acidic, with subtle red fruit defining the nose and palate. Mineral notes and a touch of savory character add depth and keep things interesting. Average price: $15.
This Oregon Pinot Noir pours a delightful cotton-candy hue. The nose is floral, while the palate offers concentrated fruit (mainly sour cherries) and light tannins. Avoid serving too cold or you’ll miss out on its interesting textural character. Average price: $32.
This Paso Robles blend bears all the hallmarks of classic French rosé. Strawberry and watermelon lead its fragrant nose followed by hints of cherry and yogurt. The palate is crisp and refreshing but not lacking in depth. As it opens up, savory tropical fruits enter the fray, leading to a world of pairing opportunities. Average price: $21.
Though better associated with age-worthy reds, this wine highlights Piedmont’s rosé-making potential. Made from Barbera, Dolcetto, and Nebbiolo, it’s incredibly aromatic, with tart cherries shining brightest on the nose. The palate introduces sweet strawberries and juicy watermelon, which stick around for an age on its mouthwatering finish. Average price: $19.
An outlier in many respects, this Sonoma rosé is made from Italian variety Sangiovese, which most will know as the red grape used in Chianti. This bottle offers more than just novel appeal, though. It smells like bubblegum and whiter pepper, and the palate is lean with racy acidity. You’ll need to order directly from the winery, but this unicorn is worth the hunt. Average price: $25.
This Sicilian rosé is a succulent and adventurous departure from the pale-pink mold. Bold red fruits mix with wet rock and mineral aromas. The palate is equally powerful, with lashings of tart wild strawberries. It’s affordable and you can find it everywhere; this is perfect pizza wine. Average price $14.
Like eating strawberries on the beach, this wine smells of wild berries seasoned with a spray of sea water. The palate is crisp and acidic, but a rich fruit core softens its hard edges. Let the salty aromas guide your food pairing: This wine has seafood platter written all over it. Average price: $14.
An affordable Provençal rosé that will take you on a journey, this wine starts with floral aromas followed by citrus fruit and honeydew melon. The palate enters with a refreshing burst of acidity and tart fruit, then transforms into a rounder, more full-bodied style. A splash of salinity gives a subtle yet lengthy finish. Average price: $12.
This rosé’s name references the time period that the pressed Agioritiko grapes spend in contact with the must prior to filtering and fermentation. The extended maceration lends a deep pink hue and extra punch to the palate. Fruity and complex, this is a wonderful rosé that meets the high standards we’ve come to expect from one of Greece’s finest producers. Average price: $16.
White flowers and honeysuckle lead the nose on this perfumed California rosé, followed by a sprinkle of lemon zest. The palate is rich and full of fruit, with notes of cherry, watermelon, and red berries. Bright, refreshing acidity will keep you coming back for sip after sip. Average price: $25.
Few will be familiar with Calabria’s native red variety Gaglioppo, but it’s time you became acquainted. The dark-skinned grape makes attractive, approachable rosés that over-deliver on a budget. This one is energetic, with notes of cherry hard candies, ripe peaches, and grapefruit zest. A fuller, more rounded style, this is great pizza wine. Average price: $15.
When considering which rosé you should have on hand for every possible occasion, look no further than this bottle. Its red berry aromas are seasoned with a whiff of sea spray that whisks you off to the Monterey coast. The palate is simple and refreshing — straightforward in the best possible way. Average price: $11.
This Mendocino County bottle is not just great rosé but a serious wine. Salted watermelon and toasted fennel seed aromas provide a concentrated, nuanced nose. The palate introduces a mix of sour cherries and underripe stone fruits. With well-incorporated tannins, this rosé has the structure to pair with thinly sliced grilled red meat. Average price: $32.
Landing on the bolder end of the rosé spectrum, this Sicilian wine has intense aromas and dense, concentrated flavors. Strawberry and guava notes mix with crushed peach and a hint of savory green olives. This rosé will easily hold its own when paired with the bolder flavors of barbecued meats and spicy tacos. Average price: $16.
Made from a handful of southern French varieties, this complex Paso Robles rosé drinks like a red wine. Fresh berries and stone fruit aromas are matched by dried, savory herbs on the nose. The palate is rich, vibrant, and well balanced. Decant this rosé and watch it evolve by the glass. Pair with flavorful roasted poultry, like duck breast or dark chicken meat. Average price: $28.
A delightful reminder of what makes Provence rosé so popular, this wine ticks all the boxes. The nose is delicate but serves layers of white flowers, red fruit, and a sprinkle of savory spices. The palate is both bold and refreshing, with tangy fruit cut by a piercing jolt of acidity. Add a hint of wet rocks and a dusting of white pepper to the equation, and you’ve got yourself the best rosé of 2019. If you can’t find this exact bottle, the producer’s entire range is equally impressive and should be sought out. Average price: $35.