The 14 best rosés to try this summer, according to wine experts

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Rosé tends to be the drink of the summer — but experts said it’s a great wine for any time of year. Shutterstock.com
  • As summer approaches, so too nears the time to begin stocking your fridge with one of the season’s favourite adult beverages: rosé.
  • If you’re new to the pink wine, experts recommend trying out a variety of hues from pale to deep to discover what most pleases your palate.
  • If you’re looking for something to complement your fruit and cheese picnic, try a pale Provencal; if you need a pairing for a seafood dinner, go for a robust California bottle.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

With Memorial Day in the rearview mirror, we are officially in the fast lane to summer.

And what does summer signal? Rosé on rooftops, of course.

While this summer you may be sipping your rosé on your own rooftop with a mask firmly at your side, choosing the right rosé can certainly elevate any self-isolation experience, transforming your personal space into a Provencal paradise.

“For folks that may be new to rosé, I would encourage them to try a few different hues,” said Andy Myers, wine director at Jose Andres Think Food Group. “Try a pale Provencal one, a blushing Spanish, and a rich, dark US version. See what you like.”

He adds that rosés should ideally be dry – anywhere from 12.5% ABV or higher is a dry rosé – and loaded with fresh, vibrant fruits like strawberries and raspberries.

A note from our experts: While we tend to think of warm weather as “rosé season,” our experts unanimously agree that there is no such thing, and a great rosé can be enjoyed any time of year. The taste of a good rosé can give us something to look forward to and transport us to a beautiful afternoon at any time of year – which may be just the dose of optimism we need right about now.

“The biggest misconception about rosé is that it’s only for warm-weather enjoyment. The truth is that rosé is fantastic year round,” said Brian Freedman, a wine, spirits, food, and travel writer. He consults on restaurants, is a drinks educator, event host, speaker, and regular wine contributor for Food & Wine Magazine.

“In fact, I love opening a bottle on a snowy evening in the dead of winter. It’s my own little protest against the cold and the dark, and a wonderful reminder that better days are sure to come,” Freedman added. Well said!

Anyway, shall we get on with it? Whether you’re spread out on a picnic blanket in your own backyard or staring longingly out of your apartment window in the city, these are 14 of the best rosés to try this summer, according to our experts.


1. Liquid Geography

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Liquid Geography Rosé. Courtesy of Liquid Geography

This is a rosé from Rioja that hasn’t quite reached the US yet, but will be launching here in just a few months.

“It’s a delicious Garnacha-based rosé,” said Myers. “The best part is that Ole & Obrigado Imports is donating 50% of the profits to World Central Kitchen,” a charity started by Jose Andres that helps battle global hunger.

“Pairing rosé is easy,” he added. “Serve it with happiness. Most rosés are uncomplicated, easy, and fun. They tend to get along with everything from fresh veggies to hearty meats. Don’t overthink it.”


2. Chateau d’Esclans Whispering Angel Rose 2019

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Whispering Angel. Courtesy of Chateau d’Esclans

If you’re a rooftop rosé veteran, chances are you’ve heard of Whispering Angel. This is the rosé that made most Americans fall for the Provencal style.

“Great rosés are being made in almost every wine region, but I have a particular affinity for rosés from the South of France,” said Gillian Sciaretta, associate editor at Wine Spectator. “Provence is arguably the most important region in the world for rosé, and many winemakers outside of France strive to make Provencal-styled wines.”

What sets a Provencal rosé apart? Its flavours of citrus, red berry, melon, tangerine, spice, herb, and wet stone. Rosés from Provence are dry and have minerals as well. Pair them with seafood and summer salads, Sciaretta added.


3. 2019 Minuty Rosé et Or

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Rose et Or. Courtesy of Chateau Minuty

This is a rosé that beautifully captures the Chateau Minuty Saint-Tropez estate. It also happens to be the best rosé wine among Vivino users, with a 4.3-star rating.

“[It] speaks of the seaside with its freshness and flavours and represents the ultimate in what a quality Cotes de Provence rosé can achieve,” said Joel Anthony Caruso, Vivino’s partner sommelier and beverage educator. “Its gentle freshness gives way to concentrated, almost gourmet flavours.”


4. 2019 Cotes de Provence Rose Tentations Clos Cibonne

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Rose Tentations Clos Cibonne. Courtesy of Clos Cibonne

From the Tibouren varietal, this is a rosé that offers a little twist on the traditional.

“A geeky rosé option for those looking for something different,” said Brian Phillips, acting general manager and sommelier for The Citrus Club and former wine director for Darden Restaurant Group. “It’s very expressive of the Provencal Mediterranean climate and environment, but the unique Tibouren varietal wine delivers a complex bouquet of flavours apart from the more common cuvee of Provence.”

Phillips recommended sipping Clos Cibonne with richer dishes, from seafood stews to assorted aged cheeses.


5. Sofia Brut Rosé 2019, Francis Ford Coppola Winery

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Sofia Brut Rosé. Courtesy of FCC Winery

If you’re in the mood for something celebratory, a sparkling rosé pairs perfectly with a festive occasion. And these days, we certainly could use a few more reasons to celebrate.

Phillips recommended the Sofia Brut Rosé for its hint of off-dry sweetness. Fun fact: It’s available in both bottles and cans.

“Pair this with any water time recreation or chilling on a summer day,” he said. “Its bubbles and touch of sweetness are perfect on their own as a great refresher.”


6. Le Charmel Provence 2019

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Le Charmel Rosé. Courtesy of Le Charmel

For Melvyn Master, proprietor of Le Charmel, Mont Gravet, Exem, Tortoise Creek, Kin & Cascadia, and Tiamo Organic, rosé should always be from Provence or the south of France. In particular, this year he’s excited for his Le Charmel Provence.

“I think these styles of rosé can be enjoyed alone, but their versatility allows them to be all occasion wines,” he said. “For newbies, I would always choose something that is from the south of France, as these wines are the most representative of rosé at its best.”


7. Domaines Ott ‘BY.OTT’ Rosé

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BY.OTT Rosé. Courtesy of Domaines Ott

Freedman has tasted more than 120 different rosés for the 2020 season, so you can trust his judgment when he recommends Domaines Ott “BY.OTT” rosé from Cotes de Provence.

“Like a lot of people, my wine drinking time has definitely shifted to earlier in the day as quarantine has worn on,” he said. Rosé is perfect for that, as it’s light enough to be enjoyed well before 5 p.m. “The classic pairing is rosé with Nicoise salad, but I love it with everything from canned sardines to potato chips to grilled hot dogs,” he explained.

Pro tip: Freedman’s preferred rosé meal is Hebrew Nationals on a Martin’s potato roll topped with sauerkraut, relish, and mustard.

“Great rosé pairs with it perfectly,” he said. “My only complaint is that the bottle tends to vanish way more quickly than I ever expected.”


8. Anne Amie Twelve Oaks Estate Rosé of Pinot Gris 2019 Willamette Valley

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Anne Amie Twelve Oaks Estate Rosé of Pinot Gris 2019. Courtesy of Anne Amie Twelve Oaks Estate

For something a little richer, Freedman recommended the Anne Amie Twelve Oaks Estate Rosé, which is copper in colour and has notes of caramel, dried pineapples, tarragon, and lime juice.

“Personally, there are times when I want a richer style of rosé, something a bit more extracted, and others when I crave that classic, delicate, detailed Provencal style. The good news is that you can find it all with relative ease,” he said.


9. JNSQ Rosé Cru

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JNSQ Rosé Cru. Courtesy of JNSQ

For a touch of style and unique presentation, master sommelier Joe Spellmen recommended JNSQ (“je ne sais quois”). Sourced from vineyards all over the California central coast, this rosé is based on Grenache.

“Its ‘secret sauce,'” he revealed, “is a very small percentage of Viognier to bump up the floral character of the nose. It’s a delightful wine with fine food like steamed lobster, sautéed scallops, or by itself for celebratory occasions.”


10. JUSTIN Rosé 2019

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JUSTIN Rosé 2019. Courtesy of JUSTIN

This delicate-hued rosé uses Syrah as the main event.

“It is a firm and dry wine,” Spellman said. “With just a touch of white pepper and fresh apple in its attractive aromas, it’s a great aperitif with charcuterie or fine farmstead cheeses.”


11. Arnot-Roberts Rosé California 2019

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Arnot-Roberts Rosé. Courtesy of Arnot-Roberts

For Christopher Hoel, expert curator for Wine Insiders and Martha Stewart Wine Co., founder of Harper’s Club, and former wine director at French Laundry, you can find great rosé from all over the world, but in an oversaturated market where much of it isn’t worth sipping, it can be hard to navigate the shelves.

“Domestically, I like Arnot-Roberts,” he said. “They do a funky rosé based on one of the staple grapes in the production of port, but they do it in a very delicate style.” It’s a pale-style rosé, which is odd coming from one of the thickest skin grapes out there, but it’s one that he absolutely loves.


12. Viña Tondonia Rosé Gran Reserva 2009, Lopez de Heredia

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Viña Tondonia Rosé Gran Reserva 2009. Courtesy of Lopez de Heredia

If you really want to mix it up, as many of these wine experts suggested you do with your rosé, Lopez de Heredia is a wine producer in Rioja that’s creating some fabulous rosé. Their vintage rosé is aged in American barrels for four years, and then another four years in the bottle. If you know anything about rosé, that may seem wild to you, but according to Hoel, it’s a must-try.

“The current vintage is impossible to get,” he said. Not because it’s expensive, but because it’s rare. In fact, he said it’s not even that expensive, just a tough one to discover.

“It is one of the most amazing rosé experiences you’ll ever have. If you see it somewhere, buy it and call me,” he added.


13. Miraval

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For that classic, mineral, Provencal-style rose, Phillips recommends Miraval, particularly for its wild herb notes and crisp, dry finish. “Miraval is great on its own,” he says, “but it’s ideal with seafood, as its crunchy mineralogy and light pink hue complements fresh and briny flavours of the sea.” With rose, he adds, be on the lookout for the latest vintage. For 2020 we should be looking for 2019. Only in rare cases does a rose improve with age.


14. 2017 Jean-Yves Péron ‘Vers la Maison Rouge’

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2017 Jean-Yves Péron ‘Vers la Maison Rouge’. Winery Jean-Yves Péron

This particular rosé is a party in a bottle. Why? Because they only bottle it in Magnum. And once you taste it, you may have a tough time putting it away.

“This is a super fresh, bright, and fruity rosé made of the Savoie varietal, Mondeuse, with a dash of Gamay,” said Billy Smith, sommelier and assistant wine director at Michelin-starred The Four Horsemen restaurant in Brooklyn.

Smith attributes the fruity, yet acidic, flavours to the high altitude vineyards, which makes this dark rosé completely dry.

“One regular-sized bottle would just be a disappointment,” he added.