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What Is the Best Rosé Wine to Drink Now? We've Got Answers

William S. Shepard, Wine Editor | Thursday, Jun 20th 2019
rosé wine

What Is the Best Rosé Wine to Drink Now? We’ve Got Answers

It wasn’t long ago when rosé wine was something of a novelty, inexpensive and of marginable quality. You might enjoy a refreshing glass from time to time, but they were not considered to be serious wines.

I recall a trip to Houston. At the time, the luncheon treat around the hotel barbeque was grilled hamburgers. And rosé wine was one of the drinks offered. Red wine seemed the wrong choice in that hot weather, so why not try a glass of cool rosé wine? I did, and it went perfectly with the burgers. There might be a future in rosé wines after all?

To recreate that discovery, have a chilled bottle of Vielle Ferme Rosé ($8.50) ready to serve at your next barbeque. It is a fine treat, a Rhône wine made by the expert Perrin family of Chateauneuf du Pape. You won’t be the first to make a new, flavorful wine discovery.

Want to taste wine at the best estates of this wine region? Click here and check out our Northern and Southern Rhône small group tour.

Fast forward to last weekend, and the designation of June 8 as “Rosé Wine Day” by wine promoters. In our Eastern Shore of Maryland region there are two wine retailers. Both of them featured rosé wines in their weekend promotions, with tastings.

And if you were tasting them for the first time, you were in for a surprise. These wines were not too sweet, but they were light and flavorful. Tasters had no problem imagining serving them for a refreshing luncheon. And there were even several wines that might be kept for a spell in your wine cellar. This would allow them to age a few months more, to be at maximum taste pleasure.

Clearly something is going on here. In the first place, there has been a gradual increase in the quality of Loire Valley rosé wines. This in turn has posed something of a threat to the ocean of rosé wines produced in Provence. The Loire Valley also has experienced a rise in the quality of wines produced in that storied region. Instead of the lighter Rosé d’Anjou wines, now you should look for Cabernet d’Anjou wines. They are produced from Cabernet Franc grapes. These wines are dryer and more flavorful than the lighter Rosé d’Anjou. They also have more distinctive taste and character. For a sample of this grape adapted for rosé wine, try a Chateau le Champiteloup 2016 Cabernet d’Anjou Rosé. This wine is made from Cabernet Franc grapes, which sells for $11.

With Provence rosé wines, the problem has always been one of quality. My friend Sacha Lichine, son of Alexis Lichine, told me a few years ago that he was leaving Bordeaux. He had the ambition of producing the world’s finest rosé wine. He may well have succeeded. His Chateau d’Esclans now sets a high standard for rosé wines. Try my favorite Whispering Angel (2017, $19), a blend of Grenache (73%), with minor percentages of Rolle, Cinsault, Syrah and Mourvedre grapes. This is a balanced and flavorful wine. You’ll wish that you had discovered it earlier! Other wines in the Chateau d’Esclans portfolio include:

  • Rock Angel (2017, $27)
  • Les Clans ($80)
  • Garrus (2016, $80) 
As I’ve remarked before, this is not your Grandad’s Mateus Rosé!
 
And do yourself a favor – try Chateau Miraval, owned by Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie (2017, $23). The retailers I chatted up this weekend assure me that ownership continues by Pitt and Jolie. The wine remains delicious, and rather a bargain. As the hot weather approaches, expand your choice of wines to include some of these increasingly flavorful and fine quality rosé wines. You may have missed Rosé Wine Day June 8th, but you are in time to join the Rosé Revolution!
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