10 Pink Wines That Are Perfect for Winter Nights
Rosé, more than any other wine is considered a seasonal pleasure: Drink it during the summer, and forget about it for the rest of the year. Personally, I find that to be a bizarre and, honestly, self-defeating approach. If you like rosé—and lord knows enough of us do these days—why not drink it all year round?
You could proffer the “It’s cold out, so why drink/eat cold things?” argument, but white wines (and ice cream, as far as I’m concerned) know no seasons, so why should pink ones? However, as with white wines, I will happily suggest that some rosés are more suited to winter’s chilly weather than others.
Essentially, leave the delicate wines of Provence to sun and heat, and start looking for rosés with a little more substance and richness, which also have the benefit of going well with the heartier foods of winter. Typically these will be darker in hue, transparent ruby rather than pale pink. They also may be a touch higher in alcohol (not so bad when it’s freezing out; maybe Saint Bernards should carry small barrels of robust rosé around their necks). Note that it’s a fallacy that deeper color means greater sweetness in rosés; it simply means more contact with the pigmented skins of the grapes, or possibly grape varieties that are innately more intensely colored (like Montepulciano, say, or Mourvèdre). All 10 of the wines recommended here are entirely dry and entirely delicious.
2018 El Coto Rioja Rosé ($11)
Full of juicy watermelon and strawberry notes, this generous, orangey-pink rosé offers a breath of summer in the depth of winter. The color recalls fresh coho salmon, which would be an excellent thing to serve it with, too.
2018 Château De Manissy Cuvée Des Lys Tavel ($17)
The Rhône Valley’s Tavel appellation is one of France’s greatest rosé regions, but its darker, more robust wines have fallen out of favor compared to nearby Provence’s paler pink versions. This strawberry-and-lime-scented bottling from a 17th-century estate uses only organically grown grapes.
2018 Finca Torremilanos Ojo Gallo ($24)
It’s fair enough to wonder if this wine is a rosé or actually a red; it’s a style of Spanish wine known as clarete, typically a dark pink or light red blend of red and white grapes (here, Tempranillo and Albillo). Its vivid fruit recalls red licorice and blueberries, bolstered by the tannic grip of a light red.
2018 Beckmen Vineyards Purisima Mountain Vineyard Grenache Rosé ($25)
Steve Beckmen has been making impressive wine in California’s Santa Ynez Valley since 1994. (He was also instrumental in making Beckmen the first biodynamically certified vineyard in Santa Barbara County.) This spicy, red cherry–scented rosé is a great introduction to his wines.
2018 Pursued By Bear Blushing Bear Rosé ($28)
Washington State may be more well-known for substantial Cabernets and Syrahs than rosés, but this Mourvèdre-dominated bottling, from winemaker Daniel Wampfler and actor Kyle MacLachlan, defies that. Think notes of orange peel and earthy spice, with a luscious, round texture.
2018 Château De Pibarnon Bandol Rosé ($34)
Bandol is part of Provence, but its Mourvèdre-based rosés can open your eyes about how age-worthy rosé can be. From an amphitheater of vineyards facing the sea, this peppery rosé with its floral scent is hard to resist.
2018 Tiberio Cerasuolo D’abruzzo ($20)
The traditional rosé style of Italy’s Abruzzo, Cerasuolo is made from the powerful Montepulciano grape. Made by the talented Cristiana Tiberio, this bottling seems to summon the region’s wild hillside herbs in its aroma.
2018 La Bastide Blanche Bandol Rosé ($23)
The breeze off the sea helps moderate the heat at La Bastide Blanche’s Bandol vineyards, resulting in a savory, floral rosé, full-bodied and rich with raspberry notes. It’s a rosé you could—and should!—drink by a fire on a winter night.
2018 Domaine De La Mordorée La Reine Des Bois Tavel ($45)
This remarkable Rhône Valley estate makes a range of brilliant wines, from top-notch Châteauneuf-du-Papes to this robust Tavel. With its deep aromas of red currants and spice, it would be perfect with pork chops or roast chicken.
2018 Domaine Charles Audoin Marsannay Rosé ($25)
The village of Marsannay is the only Burgundian appellation known in part for its rosés (made from Pinot Noir). This one, from a top producer, is full of red cherry notes, held together by fine, almost evanescent tannins.