Five years ago, if you had asked most people, who today are obsessed with rosé wine, if they wanted to share a bottle, they most likely would have reacted with something like, “You mean white zin? Why would I drink that crap?” But somehow rosé has exploded in popularity across the country to the point it was scarily close to selling out in the Hamptons last year and even the Fat Jewish has released his own, White Girl rosé. Sure, it’s one thing when Brangelina release a well-regarded Provence rosé, but the Fat Jewish?
While we may have hit a tipping point, there are still lovely rosés to be found from France and Italy to Germany and California. We tapped Chicago wine merchant Craig Perman of Perman Wine Selections to offer his picks for what rosés you should be drinking now and why.
“Not only is Mike Sullivan, the winemaker and partner of Benovia, one of the nicest guys in the business, he also makes wines that are pure expressions of California’s Russian River Valley. His rosé [$24] is made of pure pinot noir from the Martaella Vineyard, whole-cluster-pressed and fermented in used French oak barrels. Year in and year out, this impresses with beautiful watermelon, cherry and cranberry notes. It’s so well balanced and oh so delicious.”
“This rosé [$15] seemingly glows in the dark! The color is electric, and that comes from the highly pigmented baga and touriga nacional grapes from which this is produced. Hailing from the coastal-influenced Bairrada region of Portugal, Casa de Saima is a small family-run winery that produces traditionally styled wines. Its rosé is super juicy but has some of the spice and herbal notes that keep it interesting.”
“You may not think of Germany as a place for rosé, but in the red-wine-producing Baden region, there are a handful of notable examples. This delicious rosé [$15] from Weingut Heitlinger is a blend of pinot noir, pinot meunier and blaufränkisch. It’s a bright and juicy style of rosé, with plenty of red berry fruit, spice and freshness.”
“I haven’t recently hopped on board the txakoli train; I’ve been driving it for more than a decade and a half. The slightly spritzy wine of the Basque region in Spain is not only one of the most chug-it-by-itself rosés you can buy, it also pairs incredibly well with an array of food. Ignacio Ameztoi has been a leader in txakoli for a long time, and this rosé [$20] is a blend of 50 percent each hondarrabi zuri and hondarrabi beltza.”
“This is one of France’s most important producers, with wines that defy their region and are among the best of the country. Olivier Jullien makes wine in the Terraces du Larzac AOC in the Coteaux du Languedoc. This rosén [$28] is a blend of cinsault, carignan and mourvèdre. It’s a saignée rosé, which lends itself to a more structured style and helps it pair nicely with grilled lamb or steak. The 2015 is truly a remarkable rosé.”
“Without a doubt, the region most associated with rosé is that of Côtes de Provence. Nearly 90 percent of the region’s total wine production is rosé, and Provence produces nearly 40 percent of all the rosé in France. I love this version [$17] from Roquefort, which blends all the usual suspects: grenache, cinsault, syrah and carignan. It’s bright, with hints at cherry skin, watermelon and citrus peel.
“There’s a growing amount of producers that are as serious about their rosé as they are about their flagship wines. Piero Lanza of Poggerino in Italy’s Radda in Chianti is one of those people. His rosé [$15] combines juice fermented from an early harvest, then combined with saignée from his Chianti at harvest. This is one of the best sangiovese rosés you will try.”