Spring is here and rose wine is the perfect partner for everything from picnics to a day on the beach. So, we asked our wine experts to find us the best of the bunch.
There’s a style for everyone, from light, fresh and easy-going to more sophisticated, complex and dry. And there’s rose wines for every budget – so you can satisfy your pink wine fix no matter how you like to enjoy it.
1. Chateau Minuty 281
The best rose wines for Spring can be found at all price levels and in many styles, from light, crisp and dry to elegant, complex and minerally. From Oregon’s Stoller Family and Bouchaine to Texas Hill Country’s Reagan Sivadon and Ancient Peaks Winery in Santa Margarita, there are several options to choose from.
A blend of 90% Grenache and 7% Cinsault, this attractive pink from Minuty shows florals, crushed stone and a touch of brine. Despite its richness, it is refreshingly lively with ample concentration and a gentle finish.
Founded by the Matton-Farnet family in Cotes de Provence, Chateau Minuty is now run by Jean-Etienne and Francois Matton. Their commitment to quality and to sustainability, combined with their high level of expertise, has placed them among the world’s top producers of premium rose wines.
Today, they are defining what a great, luxury rose should be: fresh and vibrant, perfectly balanced and fantastic quality. Their Prestige, Rose et Or and rare 281 are the true concentrate of their estate, made from select Grenache clones that they began grafting on in the 70s, and cradled by the maritime influences of their terroir.
A glass of this incredibly fresh and perfectly balanced rose brings you to the beach and the French Riviera lifestyle like no other rose. A classic example of the quality that defines the Minuty brand, it is perfect for summery salads and seafood dishes. It is also an excellent match for a wide range of sophisticated berry desserts. It should be consumed chilled, at around 10-12 degrees centigrade.
2. Gobelsburg Rose
It’s time to celebrate the arrival of spring and the unofficial start of rose season with some of our favorite bottles to sip. This collection includes everything from sparkling wines to stills, from the best producers in Germany and Austria, all available at prices that won’t break the bank.
Gobelsburg is a name you’ll recognize from their many top-notch vintages. Their Brut Rose is a fascinating blend of Zweigelt, St. Laurent and Pinot Noir. It’s indescribably thirst-quenching and deeply mineral, with a touch of savory from years in bottle.
This Rose from Karina and Guillaume Lefevre is a perfect example of a producer who takes their wines seriously. Located in the Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence, they produce nearly 30 hectares of grapes and are committed to organic and biodynamic farming practices.
In addition to their estate vineyards, Karina and Guillaume work with local growers to source grapes from all over the region. Despite the hot climate, they manage to retain the integrity of their grapes and produce lovely wines.
A blend of grenache, grenache blanc, mourvedre, carignan and cinsault, this is a pretty wine with pretty aromas of wild strawberry and raspberry with hints of rose and citrus. The palate is round and a little lighter than previous vintages, showing lovely berry and stone fruit with a fresh and vibrant finish.
Another rosé from one of the most renowned Austrian cellars, this is a youthful wine made from organically farmed zweigelt that has an anise and tomato leaf quality with a bit of petrol. It is a wine that would benefit from a few years in the cellar and is a great pairing with spicy Indian curries, delicate fish dishes or Thai-style tofu and pho noodle soup.
Also Read: How to Make Dandelion Wine
3. Vin Clair
Spring is a time to refresh, and rose wines are a great way to do so. They’re a little lighter than white wines and they come in a wide range of flavors. They’re also a great way to kick off the season without breaking the bank.
Despite their popularity in Provence, it’s only recently that the rose movement has started to make a significant impact on American consumers. That’s thanks to a number of producers who have expanded their offerings beyond the pale, fruit-forward pinks that are so ubiquitous in that region.
For example, Long Island’s Wolffer Estate has significantly increased their rose offerings in recent years, and its flagship bottling, the Pinot Noir Rose, remains a standout for its depth of flavor and accomplished balance. The light pink wine blends red and white varieties to offer a juicy, fruity core while the Pinot Gris and Chardonnay add floral aromas and flavors.
Meanwhile, in the Languedoc, Domaine Ray-Jane focuses on organic practices and blending to preserve terroir. They believe the key to making a terroir-driven rose is finding a balance between the three principal grapes—Mourvedre, Cinsault and Grenache—that each offer something unique.
The result is a wine with the structure and depth of Mourvedre, the freshness and generosity of Grenache, and the perfume and elegance of Cinsault. That’s why, even if it’s more expensive than your standard blush, you should try to stock this bottle in your wine cellar.
If you’re a lover of bold, complex wines with great age potential, consider trying a Vin Clair from Bollinger. It’s the only House that makes a rose each year, and it’s worth tasting the different styles of Vin Clair to get an idea of how they will be blended into the blend that makes up the House’s top cuvee.
4. Vin de Pays de l’Alentejo
Located in southeast Portugal, Alentejo is home to many of the country’s finest wines. The region’s warm climate and rocky, calcareous soils give winemakers the perfect place to experiment and create unique wines.
There are a lot of grape varieties grown in Alentejo, with most reds made from the Tempranillo variety. Other popular varieties include Alicante Bouschet, Alfrocheiro, Trincadeira, and Moreto. The region also produces a wide range of whites, from vinho verde (a refreshing wine based on a blend of a few different aromatic varieties), to white port and rosé.
Most wines produced in Alentejo are labeled as DOC, which is like the French Vin de Pays. These wines are often named for a specific area of the Alentejo, such as DOC Alentejo-Borba or DOC Alentejo-Moura.
A great example of a DOC Alentejo wine is this Esporao Reserva White 2020 ($20), which was fermented in stainless steel tanks and matured for 6 months in both new and used American and French oak. It had beautiful aromas of peach, citrus, and mint on the nose and on the palate was creamy with a lingering finish.
Another great DOC Alentejo rose is this Chateau d’Esclans Whispering Angel, which was aged for 12 months in 600-liter oak barrels. It is an incredibly complex and rich wine that will delight your guests, especially those who are new to the rose movement.
5. Vin de France
With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, it’s time to break out the pink wines. With a variety of styles and price points, rose has become more serious than ever, with many winemakers taking it as seriously as they do white and red.
Often overlooked, Vin de France is a great way to explore new terroirs and grape varietals. The lowly classification offers freedom of expression that allows winemakers to mix renowned varieties in new and innovative ways, while still maintaining quality and French savoir faire.
There are a variety of Vin de France wines to explore, from high-end artisan producers to wine designers looking to take their craft to the next level. The key to a successful Vin de France experience is knowing your producer and their wines.
The incredibly versatile grape variety of Pinot Noir makes it a wonderful choice for making a rosé. With a light color and delicate fruit aromas, this wine pairs well with grilled fish or even cheese and crackers.
For a less expensive alternative, look to Spanish Roses such as the Hondarrabi Zuri and Hondarrabi Beltza from Basque Country in northern Spain. These wines are crisp and fresh, with a citrusy flavor that goes down easy in a porron (if you don’t know what this is, you’re not doing it right).
If you’re a fan of the Provencal style of rose, check out Chateau Minuty 281 from Minuty Winery. This bright, juicy, effervescent rose features flavors of wild strawberries and peach accompanied by notes of lemon zest and orange zest on a palate that’s vibrant and refreshing.
The light, floral, fruity scent of this pink-hued Rhone rose combines with fresh-snipped herbs and a gamut of stone fruits on the palate, with hints of apple skin and orange zest. A touch of acidity on the finish provides balance and a sense of energy.