When it’s finally time to safely pack away the puffy coat for a few months, I like to ease into the warmer season with some chilled rosé wine. However, the #RoseAllDay mantra isn’t for everyone. I have a few friends who prefer to stick to the red and white teams when it comes to wine – some who even say they actively hate rosé, probably stemming from an unfortunate white zinfandel incident in the 1980s. This preference is especially challenging if we get together to share full bottles, and I am the only one who craves a rosier hue. Who wants to drink alone when amongst people? There will always be staunch purists for just about anything, but I am of the belief that most people who say they don’t like a type of drink just haven’t tasted the right one yet. Challenge accepted.
I set out this season to find some bottles that could pass muster with the No Way Rosé crowd. Below are several I think could please those palates, especially those more accustomed to sipping bolder red wines. Who knows, these might just have your stubborn friends chanting #DrinkPink!
Caposaldo Rosé 2017 – Don’t let the medium pink hue fool you. Hailing from Veneto, Italy, this wine is vinified the same day as the Corvino grapes in it are harvested. This temperature-controlled process with only a 12 hour maceration period followed by stainless steel fermentation preserves hearty flavors that make it taste more like a chilled red than a pink – with juicy/jammy blackberry, plum and McIntosh apple. There’s only a slight mist of floral essence in there to remind that it’s technically a summer wine. It can easily match ribs, burgers, hot dogs and other barbecue treats, but also has enough personality to join the conversation on its own. $12
Day Owl Rosé 2017 – This wine is produced in a very similar process – with limited maceration and stainless steel fermentation – also made with an Italian red grape (Barbera), though this one is raised in the California sun. The dusty rose color matches the dry palate of deep plum and dark cherry fruits with a hit of orange zest and just a slight tang of watermelon. This is a total chips and dip wine if there ever was one, but will take on the main course too. $15
CasaSmith Vino Sangiovese Rosé 2017 – Are you more of a Chianti or Brunello fan? That wacky Charles Smith out of Washington state has released a 100% rosé of sangiovese, the main grape of those wines, under the CasaSmith label. It’s made from sustainably farmed grapes that were harvested from a balanced Pacific Northwest growing season, whole cluster pressed with 2 months on the lees. Making shish kabob? Here’s what to pour. $14
Alta Vista Rosé 2017 – Aw, there’s a cute little birdy on a twig blossom on the label. That’s the most delicate element of this bracing pink Argentinian Malbec. Two wines that have undergone separate maceration processes and low temperature vinification are blended together to form a harmonized cherry duet – like sipping a handful of fresh bing and sour cherries mixed together with a slight rosey finish. Try this one with acidic pasta sauces or meatballs. $13
Les Dauphines Côtes du Rhône Réserve Rosé 2015 – 75% grenache + 15% cinsault + 10% syrah from the Southern Rhône add up to a dark pink, full-bodied wine with ripe, dark fruit flavors and a hint of spice that even has a little age on it. A refreshing burst of exotic, more acidic fruit (think lychee and yuzu) balances out the intensity. This is a good one to match with cheeses, charcuterie and olives, preferably spread out on a picnic blanket. $11
Underwood Rosé (in a can): No, you don’t need a manbun or a tote bag with a bird on it to drink this canned blush from Oregon. All you need is a way to keep these refreshing sippers nice and cold. Juicy red berry/watermelon flavors have a pleasant earthy, slightly acidic backbone – though varietals are not listed, probably a good percentage of pinot noir in there. Though be warned, each can contains 375 mL of 13% ABV wine, so it will tilt toward tipsy way sooner than a beer. $28 for 4 cans, and some retailers will sell separately.
Campo Viejo Rioja Rosé: This is just about the reddest rosé there is, made from 100% tempranillo grapes pressed using the saignée (“bleeding”) method where the weight of the grapes releases the juice. Some wines really taste how they look, so expect late summer berries, currant with a subtle floral taste in the finish. Here’s another option that’s a natural match with burgers and barbecue, but has enough character to sip while you’re waiting for the coals to heat up. $15
Sutton Grange Fairbank Ancestrale Sparkling Rosé 2017 – For fans of fizzy white wine, here’s a fun one from Down Under made in the petillant naturel (pet nat) style, meaning it finishes primary fermentation in the bottle. It’s almost not pink at all, but rather a light amber/citrine color, and is a blend of viognier, shiraz and merlot. The cool growing conditions in Central Victoria allow these grapes to show their most elegant characteristics – dry, mushroomy and toasty elements layered with strawberry, raspberry and some burnt sugar in the finish. $20