Ray Isle

The wine of the summer is clearly rosé. Bottles of pink vino are de rigeur in coastal hotspots like the Hamptons and South Beach, festivals have arisen dedicated solely to rosé, and people have even coined the term “brosé” to highlight the fact that even manly men are now drinking the stuff.

July 02, 2015

The wine of the summer is clearly rosé. Bottles of pink vino are de rigeur in coastal hotspots like the Hamptons and South Beach, festivals have arisen dedicated solely to rosé (La Nuit En Rosé), and people have even coined the term “brosé” to highlight the fact that even manly men are now drinking the stuff.

So, serving rosé at your 4th of July picnic or cookout—at least for the non-beer-drinkers among your gang—seems like a no-brainer. However, with the leap in popularity for dry rosé (as opposed to sweet, sticky white Zinfandel) there has also come a crazy proliferation of rosés on the market. And from recent tastings I can tell you: Not all of them are good. Or even close.

Wine editor that I am, though, I took it upon myself to sort through the oceans of pink plonk and locate some excellent bottles, ideal for this weekend's festivities or beyond.

2014 Chateau Pigoudet ($12) So pale as to be almost white, but with just the barest hint of pink, this crisp wine from the Coteaux d’Aix en Provence is delicate and appealing.

2014 Les Lezards Montrose ($12) Apparently, the three lizards coat of arms on this bottle was awarded to the winemakers’ ancestors back in 1701, when Domaine Montrose was founded. It’s bright and juicy, with a light cherry note.

2014 Domaine de Figueirasse Gris de Gris ($14) A recent selection of the F&W Wine Club; I was impressed with this pale, cranberry-scented rosé from the sands of France’s Camargue, located between the two arms of the Rhône delta.

2014 Bila-Haut Rosé ($15) Rhône superstar Michel Chapoutier’s project in the Roussillon has been turning out astounding red wine deals for a few years now, so it’s not really a surprise that the rosé is a great buy as well: vivid, strawberry-scented, with a hint of spice.

2014 Chateau D’Or et De Gueules Les Cimels Rosé ($15) A long name for an unassuming—but lovely—wine. Delicate pink in hue, with nectarine and cherry notes, it comes from France’s Costières de Nîmes region.

NV Campo Viejo Brut Rosé Cava ($15) Made from the native Spanish grape Trepat, this bright pink bubbly has ripe raspberry fruit notes and an appealing touch of leesiness.

2014 Calera Vin Gris of Pinot Noir ($19) A lot of California rosés can be a bit overly ripe and clunky, but in 2014 Pinot Noir expert Josh Jensen has crafted a vividly aromatic bottling that has plenty of flavor without too much weight.

2014 Lasseter Family Winery Enjoué ($28) Pricey for rosé, but with the kind of body and depth of flavor that Bandol rosés often offer, this Syrah-based wine actually comes from Pixar chief creative officer John Lasseter’s Sonoma estate.

2014 Domaines Ott Château Romassan Bandol Rosé ($50) The granddaddy of great rosé, Domaines Ott’s wines aren’t inexpensive, but they offer layers of complexity and flavor that few rosé producers can match. My favorite in this vintage was their Bandol bottling, a salmon-pink, Mourvèdre-based wine with pretty peach, citrus and floral notes.

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