There are thousands of rosés on the market. Many of them have emerged in the past few years, and it's often difficult to choose from the sea of pink hues without some assistance. I think that may be why so many people reach for celebrity rosés like Brangelina's Miraval (their marriage might not have lasted, but their joint winery has) or Drew Barrymore's Barrymore Rosé of Pinot Noir. The celebrity connection makes the wines memorable.
If you don't want to be stuck reaching for the celeb rosé because you're overwhelmed, seek out some of these instead. They're wines that I've discovered from media samples and they've left a lasting impression.
Volage Rosé Brut Savage (France)
I love to start an evening out with some bubbly, so I'll start with some bubbly here, too. This brut rosé is inspired by higher priced grower Champagnes, but it's from Crémant, another quality sparkling wine producing region in France. This "grower rosé Crémant" is made from 100% hand-harvested, single-vineyard cabernet franc and is sustainably grown in a commune in Maine-et-Loire in western France.
When the cork pops, the Volage Rosé bursts with aromas of strawberries and toast (the toasty aromas come from spending three years on the lees, otherwise known as yeast). This rosé has only 3 grams of sugar per liter so it's crisp with flavors of fresh berries and flowers with a slight minerality. The suggested retail price for this bubbly is $29.99, and it's as good as many rosé Champagnes I've had, but it's only about half the price. Unless you're toasting a very special occasion, I strongly suggest you drink this sparkling wine out of a white wine glass instead of a flute. You'll get more of the aromas, and therefore more of the taste, from the wine.
Bonterra Rosé (U.S.)
Bonterra Vineyards Rosé made with organic grapes is one of my favorite wines to drink on a really hot night. It's a perfect pairing with light summer meals like the spiraled zucchini, yellow squash and tomato dish it's pictured with here. (I even threw a little of the wine in the pan while it was cooking.)
The wine from Mendocino, California, has lime and pineapple aromas on the nose with classic rosé flavors of watermelon and stone fruit. This is one of the more widely available wines on this list, with a suggested price of $16.
Babylonstoren Mourvèdre Rosé (South Africa)
From the Western Cape of South Africa comes Babylonstoren Mourvédre Rosé made with such a gorgeous hue that I want a coat made from its exact color. I'm sorry I don't have a photo that does justice to the shade of salmon. Beautiful color aside, it's full of aromas of citrus, strawberries and flowers and the strawberries come through on the palate, also.
It has enough acidity to hold up to some substantial food, too. I paired it with flatbread topped with leftover steak, blue cheese, garlic, tomato and onion, and it complemented those flavors well. This rosé comes from a working farm in South Africa that you can visit and stay the night. The suggested price is $22.
Bedell Cellars Taste Rosé (U.S.)
Bedell is one of the pioneering wineries on the North Fork of Long Island. It's been around since 1980 and it helped put the region on the map as a wine destination. Their Taste Rosé is full of flavor and can hold up nicely to food, even the spiciness of the tacos I paired it with one evening.
The blend changes a bit every year. The current release from the 2018 vintage is 60% merlot, 30% cabernet franc and 10% cabernet sauvignon. The wine is dry and medium bodied with a distinctive cherry flavor. The bottle art for this $18 wine is eye-catching, too.
Vinebox Rosé Sampler (global)
This may be my new favorite way to sample a variety of wines, and it's only partly because I think the test tube-shaped bottles are great fun. For $49, Vinebox ships six 3.3-ounce samples of rosé that they've handpicked from small producers. Included in the current shipment are six different rosés from vineyards all over the world made from grapes such as cabernet sauvignon, garnacha, nebbiolo and pinot noir. All of the samples were impressive. I was particularly crazy about the Vacher Vin de Savoie Rosé from the French Alps region made from gamay and pinot noir. It's very fruity — full of peach and orange notes.
Quantities of the box are limited and will probably sell out before summer hits. If you find you've fallen in love with one of the wines you tried from a test tube, you can order a full bottle from the website. Vinebox offers several themed boxes a year, introducing wine drinkers to bottles they may never discover otherwise.