There comes the time of the year where drinkers want one thing — light, poolside-sipping, barely-blush rosé. These wines are perfect for the weather and perfect for the occasions that the weather calls for: lazy days drinking on a deck, on a patio, at a lake, or wherever else you’d like to waste a summer afternoon.
But whether Whispering Angel in name or just Provencal in style, summer roses all tend to taste the same. So if you’re looking to expand your rosé repertoire, look outside the normal bottlings. Where to start? Some of the country’s top sommeliers weigh in on your new favorite light rosé.
Le Fraghe Chiaretto di Bardolino ‘Ròdon’
“Le Fraghe’s Chiaretto di Bardolino ‘Ròdon’ stands tall amongst the world of rosé. While it’s not as well known today, the Bardolino region on Lake Garda has a rich winemaking heritage spanning back over 2000 years. Back then, the ancients would indulge in a style of lighter reds known locally as ‘Chiarettos.’ Le Fraghe’s bottling captures the two traditional hallmarks: a savory saltiness and fresh grapefruit, along with an intricate tapestry of flavors, including wild rosés, red currants, and subtle hints of basil. Plain and simply, this wine offers a crisp and immensely refreshing experience, showcasing a deeper level of complexity that surpasses most rosé styles available in the market today.” — Nicholas Schulman, Wine Director of RPM Italian in Washington, DC
Azores Wine Company Vulcanico Rosé
On a recent holiday to the Azores, one of the first things I did was book a day at Azores Wine Co, one of the remote archipelago’s most exciting vineyards. My sister wasn’t as excited — she’s not a wine person, and wasn’t particularly excited to spend her holiday listening to her sibling geek out on dirt and grapes. One sip of this rosé — the winery’s welcome drink — sold her. Located on Pico Island, the property was planted on deep black, volcanic rocks and the wines underline the landscape — tough minerality, a hint of seaside salt, and fragrant strawberries with this gorgeously textured acidity. We stayed well into the evening.
Joseph Roty Marsannay Rosé
“I love Joseph Roty’s Marsannay rosé. Marsannay is located in the northernmost area in the Cote de Nuits and is the only appellation village of Burgundy able to make classified wines of red, white, and rosé. Made entirely with Pinot Noir grapes, it’s beautifully aromatic with lots of liveliness and depth on the palate.” — Libby Burk, wine director and general manager of Common Thread
Morgen Long Wine Chardonnay Rosé
“By logic, a rosé occurs only with a short skin contact of red grape skins during maceration and fermentation. But this wine follows the classic method for making a white wine (fermentation without the skin of the grape) — but after fermentation, it’s transferred to barrels of Pinot Noir after racking, allowing this Chardonnay to continue maturation on the lees of Pinot Noir left deliberately in the barrel. The result is a real French breakfast: Baguette of toasted bread, hot butter, and slightly jammed strawberries. Yummy!” — Bertil Jean-Chronberg, Sommelier and Owner of Bonde Fine Wine Shop
Bedrock Wine Co ‘Ode to Lulu’ GSM
“The vineyard is managed by the legendary Diane Kenworthy and it just so happens her assistant winemaker, Katie, comes from our neighborhood. This cuvee is named Ode to Lulu after the late and great Lucy Peyraud of the iconic Domaine Tempier. This old vine blend of GSM from Sonoma can carry you through all the beef, pork and chicken BBQ and still leave you feeling refreshed. And, if you can hold one bottle till fall, it also goes fantastic with cassoulet.” —Felicia Jefferson, Wine and Service Director at The Duck & The Peach, Washington, DC
Château de Pibarnon Bandol Rosé
“The color spectrum on this wine is incredible — tans, golds, rose gold, copper, and rosé can all be found in a glass. And the aromatics are amazing — garrigue, dried flowers, and a myriad of fruit both fresh and dried. Wine is incredible with food and the rarity makes them really treasured and interesting. “ — Richard Hanauer, partner and wine director of The Oakville Grill & Cellar in Chicago
Pinot Grigio Ramato ‘Zeni’
“Ramato is a captivating style of wine with the allure of a sunset-hued rosé. Originating from northeastern Italy, specifically the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region, Pinot Grigio Ramato Zeni showcases a distinctive coppery or “rame”) color derived from extended skin contact during maceration. This ancient winemaking technique gives Ramato its unique character, resulting in a wine with a medium body, rich texture, and tantalizing flavors of dried apricots, orange peel, and wild herbs. With its enticing color and complex taste profile, Ramato offers wine enthusiasts a delightful departure from traditional rosés, inviting them to indulge in a truly enchanting experience.’” — Adam Diaz, Wine Manager of The Press Room
021 Blackbird Vineyards ‘Arriviste’ Rosé
“The perfect summer rosé, especially if you love grilled meats, is the 2021 Blackbird Vineyards ‘Arriviste’ Rosé. Made predominately Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, Arriviste is loaded with tart red fruits, plum, and a hint of black pepper. It’s medium-body, tannin, and acidity will cut through the richness and fats of juicy burgers, steaks and even smoked meats. There is also a bit of Zinfandel if you are a saucy BBQ lover.” — Vonda Freeman, Wine Director at The Indigo Road Hospitality Group
Château Sainte-Marguerite Fantastique
And if you do want a breezy summer rosés, Chateau Sainte-Marguerite offers all of the laissez-faire experiences you want from rosé, but with a little bit more complexity from your standard bodega bottle. And sure, you are probably buying this bottle for the statuesque bottle and wrapping flowers that illustrate the bottle. But the red-white blend of Rolle (Vermentino), Grenache, and Cinsault offers a lot of depth and intrigue, trading in the rosy hues for a more rust, salmon color. Chill it down, pop it by the pool, fill your glass, and grab a floatie.
Alpamanta Rosé of Syrah, Argentina
“Alpamanta rosé of Syrah is hands down my favorite rosé we have at El Che. It is a super amazing rosé that is unfiltered and unfined and carries weight and structure, but also a beautiful fresh fruit quality. They are also certified Organic and Biodynamic, which is very special for Argentina being that the climate makes it difficult. To us, this is definitely a steakhouse rosé” — Alex Cuper at El Che Steakhouse & Bar in Chicago!