The best Roses now

Ah, rosé. For half a dozen years or so, blush wines have been the rage, popping up on store shelves in April and May like so many crocuses, daffodils and tulips. The colors add up to a gorgeous spring mosaic with seemingly endless hues of copper, pink and salmon. Brad and Angelina have even pushed the trend with their “Miraval” rosé from Provence.

Beyond their visual appeal, rosés, which are made from red grapes with only brief contact with the color-producing skins, can be deliciously refreshing wines on their own and worthy partners, depending on their character, to a variety of foods, a fact that is still under-appreciated. Most of the wines listed below will match well with everything from simple fish and vegetable dishes to grilled chicken, pork and even lamb.

And most come with a great price. With a couple of exceptions, these 10 standouts from five countries are all in the $12 to $20 range. Another part of the appeal of rosés is that they tend to be lower in alcohol, typically 12 to 13 percent.

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The biggest problem with the wines is that they tend to have a sameness, at least at the budget level, which accounts for the vast majority. I find that many are all but interchangeable, with red fruit and perhaps watermelon tastes and not much else. The wines I discuss here are a cut above in their complexity and quite a few are memorable.

Ponzi 2015 Pinot Noir Rosé, Willamette Valley, Oregon. ($22)

A lovely rosé with raspberry and strawberry notes, spice and a touch of cream on the long finish.

Hecht & Bannier 2015 Cotes de Provence Rosé, Provence, France. ($18)


A delightfully fresh and easy to drink Syrah-Grenache blend with ripe red fruits, herbs, touches of lime peel and pink grapefruit. Subtle and complex.

Castello Monaci 2015 “Kreos” Rosato Salento, Puglia, Italy. ($16)


A real food wine from 100% Negroamaro with deep color and blueberry, strawberry, floral and pepper notes. Try it with grilled lamb and pork.

Charles Smith 2015 “Vino” Rosé, Columbia Valley, Washington. ($13)

smith-vinoYes, the name of the wine is Vino, a nicely complex rosé made from 100% Sangiovese. Refreshing with lively acidity, including notes of strawberry and red cherry, yellow peach and a hint of orange peel.

El Coto 2015 Rosado, Rioja, Spain. ($12)

cotoAlways a great value, this Tempranillo-Garnacha blend has concentrated fruit with notes of raspberry and spice, including a little white pepper. A good beach wine.

Pascal Jolivet 2015 Sancerre Rosé, Loire Valley, France. $25.


Real pinot noir character with subtle cherry, raspberry and white peach notes, minerals and a hint of cream that softens the finish. Complex and memorable.

Guigal 2015 Côtes du Rhône Rosé, Rhône Valley, France. ($15)


Made in a richer style with ample mouthfeel, concentrated red fruit tastes, cream and a floral note. Made from Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah. One of the best recent vintages of this wine. 

Hacienda de Arínzano 2015 Rosé. Navarra, Spain. ($20)


This rosé of Tempranillo is the most exciting of more than 20 rosés I’ve tasted in recent weeks, notable for its wonderful mineral core, its lovely, concentrated red fruit, its citrus and herbal touches and its brightness and balance.

Les Hauts de Lagarde 2015 Bordeaux Rosé, Bordeaux, France. ($13)


An elegant well-priced rosé with a good mix of red fruit, blueberry and floral notes. The blend is mainly Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon grown organically.

Biokult 2015 Rosé Secco, Neusiedlersee, Austria ($17)

This lightly sparkling rosé of Pinot Noir is made from grapes farmed biodynamically and is almost lighter than air. With cherry, strawberry and floral notes, it’s fresh and bright and hard not to gulp. Perfect as an apéritif and for summer parties.

All of the wines above were provided to VinePair as samples.