Make Way for (Even More) Rosé


This summer gave me an opportunity to sample a number of high-quality Rosés, wines that are ideal companions to hot-weather food or for just enjoying by themselves. But don’t be in a hurry as their adaptability at the table often makes them year-round drinking options. 

Round Two Beats Round One

I tasted a pleasantly high number of excellent, even outstanding, pink wines since we began our coverage of this year’s new releases in June. The Rosé category continues to grow, some might say metastasize, at a dizzying pace. Just looking at the calendar proves that many of this year’s early releases of 2017 Rosés, at least those from the northern hemisphere, were clearly rushed through their fermentations, bottled too early and released as quickly as possible to take advantage of the ongoing world-wide craze for all wines pink, and ideally of an extremely pale shade of pink. The result was an abundance of usually inoffensive but less-than-exciting wines, with only a handful of real standouts. Happily, the second round proved to be far more interesting, not to mention successful. This article includes a number of Rosés that I’d be thrilled to drink any time, any place, with any food and with anybody. 

Don’t Go Into the Light All the Time

The trend towards lighter bodied, high-acid pink wines shows no sign of slowing down. Moreover, anecdotal evidence from producers, importers, sommeliers and retailers is that deeper, richer, full-bodied Rosés have become a tough sell. That style is perhaps best exemplified by Tavel, an appellation in France’s southern Rhône Valley devoted solely to Rosé. The importance of Tavel to France’s winemaking landscape is historic as it was, along with Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Cassis and Arbois, one of the first four appellations in France to be awarded appellation d’origine controlée (AOC) status on May 15, 1936. Compared to what seems like the majority of pink wines on retail shelves and that are being poured in restaurants around the world, Tavel and other weighty Rosés might be a shock to many palates. While more brisk Rosés can easily take the place of lighter white wines, deeper Rosés are terrific alternatives to red wines. Fuller-bodied Rosés also work well with the type of food that would overpower most delicate Rosés, such as red meats, richer poultry like duck, strong cheeses and pretty much anything grilled or smoked. I hope that readers will give richer, bolder Rosés a serious look, as their adaptability and flexibility at the table is welcome and vast.

I tasted most of these wines in early summer, 2018 in New York and the rest during trips to California and Oregon.

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