California Dreamin’: Rosés to Kickstart Your Summer

Food & Drink

It’s been a week since the official first day of summer, and you’re probably SO rosé-ready. Fortunately for you pink drinkers, there’s never been more of a selection of quality wine with varying characters, flavors and structure to take you from a simple quaff on the beach to serious pairing with dinner.

Every summer I write this series, my challenge is interpreting the diversity of grapes, styles and geographies in rosés from around the world, which means the themes change each year. But they’re always all about the pink in your glass. For this month, California commands the stage.

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Bouchaine Vin Gris of Pinot Noir 2022, Carneros (Napa Valley). Arriving in a tall, elegant flute-like bottle this is an intriguing rosé with tart, young wild strawberries, tropical notes and some gravitas to it. Not weighty, but it is an intentional wine—not your typical light on its feet rosé. Super food friendly, you could pair this with a lot of tricky things from creamy cheeses to green veggies to salmon.

BOXT Profile Nine Rosé 2022, Napa. Hands down, the most attractive boxed wine you’ll see and be pleased to serve at a party. Comes in an eco-friendly compostable box (equivalent to four bottles) that simulates wood grain and can sit on your party table with pride. Super dry (zero grams of RS), crisp and floral with white flowers, baby strawberries and mid-summer raspberries, it’s great on its own or paired with charcuterie, light pastas and salad with grilled zucchini. The brand is female-founded and led.

Dancing Crow Vineyards Rosé 2021, Lake County. A fun and folksy blackbird woodcut label for the party table. White strawberry and honeydew melon note reign in this light and fruity quaff made of 37% Mourvèdre, 28% Syrah, 20% Grenache and 15% Sauvignon Blanc. Sustainably farmed.

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Inman Family Wines Endless Crush Rosé of Pinot Noir 2022, Russian River Valley. This is a perennial favorite of mine, a deeper-hued rosé with some real depth, which means I have a reliable wine to serve at a dinner party of guests with varying food preferences. Dry and on the savory side with uplifting garrigue-like herbal notes, it’s driven by ripe, sun-kissed fruit and an acidic streak that anchors all the playfulness.

Lynmar Estate Winery Rosé of Pinot Noir 2022, Russian River Valley. Copper-penny pink, there is an attractive garden-savory rhubarb character to this along with a woody/stalky note. Vinified using the French saignée method of “bleeding” the juice off. More savory and earthy than fruit forward, which makes this a terrific partner to heavier summer fare such as grilled meats and vegetables.

Maddalena Rose 2022, Paso Robles. Made from 100% estate-grown fruit and composed of 80% Grenache, 10% Syrah and 10% Graciano, the latter a Spanish grape from around Rioja that contributes color. This example is a fruit bowl of strawberry, melon and yellow peach, dry but not without a little weight on the palate. Inspired by Maddalena Riboli, an Italian emigree who founded one of the first tasting rooms in California. Certified sustainable.

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Saracina Rosé of Grenache 2022, Lake County. Peach and tropical-fruit notes on the nose, followed by strawberry and melon, which keep on truckin’ onto the palate. Very dry and tangy with some blood orange twists. Great with a creamy burrata.

Sonoma-Cutrer Rosé of Pinot Noir 2022, Russian River Valley. Pink grapefruit all the way in this medium-weighted wine from Sonoma’s “ground zero” for Pinot. A glycerol slick adds texture, a little lemony/lime add a playful splash with the grapefruit and a tinge of blood orange. Well-known, big production winery that knows what it’s doing. Sustainable certified.

T. Berkley Rosé of Cabernet Franc 2022, North Coast. sourced from Northern Californian vineyards across Napa and Sonoma, this is a more structured rosé—deeper hued and with more depth than a Provencal quaff, thanks to its Cab Franc composition, a signature grape of the winery. Sharp red-fruit profile driven by bright cherries and market-basket raspberries. Lively acidity steps it up. You can drink it on its own but you’ll do service to the wine with grilled sausage or roast chicken as a partner. A fine showing from this producer inspired by the Loire Valley.

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