Tasha Brandstatter on June 3, 2016 0 Comments When the days start getting longer and the temps are rising, the mind turns to signs of summer: flip flops, enjoying the outdoors, and of course sipping a glass of rosé on a warm evening. While rosé wines officially start hitting stores the early spring, they’re indelibly associated with summer, and for good reason. They tend to be refreshing; but even more than that they pair perfectly with iconic summer foods like barbecue, picnic sandwiches, tacos, spicy take-out, and fresh fruit. Not because they’re sweet (in fact, the idea that rosés are a sweet wine is largely a myth, especially when it comes to French rosé wines), but because they’re so versatile. They balance the acidity and brightness of white wine with the body of red wine, and come in a variety of styles from fruity and floral to spicy and savory. And one more reason to love rosé: it’s really affordable. Not because it’s a low-quality wine, but because it’s not as popular with US buyers as red and white wines (that’s in the US, of course — as we’ve mentioned before, rosé is much more popular in Europe, and is the most popular type of wine in France). Admittedly, this presents a bit of a dilemma in the evangelizing of rosé wine, but when it comes down to it they’re too good not to share. So the next time you’re shopping for wine, keep an eye for rosé and spread the love! And if you’re looking for a few specific bottles to try, we’ve got you covered with these six recommended bottles: Freixenet Cordon Negro Rosé (Approximately $11/bottle) Freixenet (pronounced fresh-eh-net, in case you were wondering) has long been one of the best bargains in cava. And now they’re producing rosé! Yes, please. This sparkling rosé is a surprising, goldeny-pink color that’s a cross between apricot and tangerine, with delightful bubbles on the palate that simply wakes up your mouth. Lightly floral aromas are balanced by vanilla, and the finish is long with just the right amount of acid and a ton of that toasty flavor you crave from the best sparkling wine. It is compulsively drinkable. If you’re a champagne fan — and who isn’t? — this is a must-try. Plus, it’s even less expensive than Freixenet’s already affordable Cordon Negro Brut! Try it with some spicy chicken, like buffalo wings. 2015 Charles & Charles Rosé (Approximately $10/bottle) This collaboration between Wine Enthusiast Magazine’s 2014 Winemaker of the Year, Charles Smith, and Charles Bieler of Three Thieves and Bieler Pere et Fils, is frequently voted the best rosé produced in the US. Once you try it you’ll discover why. The color is the most gorgeous, perfect shade of salmon pink and the aroma is completely unexpected, infused with watermelon, herbs, and rhubarb. But it’s the flavor that makes this a truly badass rosé. Light on the acidity, it has a long, strongly vanilla finish that marks it as a bold, “meaty” rosé wine. It’s so good chances are you’ll become obsessed with it. Serve it just slightly warmed from the fridge, and with any food you’d typically pair a big red. 2015 La Galope Comté Tolosan Rosé (Approximately $10/bottle) At the other end of the bold spectrum from Charles & Charles is La Galope’s Comté Tolosan. Originating from a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes grown in Gascony, this is an easygoing, unassuming rosé with a light melon color that would pair well with a summer salad or served as an aperitif year-round. It’s quite aromatic, with a strong scent of peaches and red fruits. The fruits carry over into the palate and that, paired with this wine’s low acidity, soft tannins, and subtle finish, may make it seem straight forward at first. But the finish lasts much longer than one initially anticipates, with a comforting smoothness that provides a welcome antidote to the more aggressive and acidic styles of rosé on this list. One might call this a perfect introductory rosé, especially for people who don’t mind the softer reds or sweeter whites. 2015 Poggerino “Aurora” Tuscan Rosato (Approximately $16/bottle) Slightly more expensive than the other wines on this list, Poggerino’s Aurora rosé is worth the extra cash because of its strong sense of terroir and marked quality. Poggerino Rosato is made at a small family-owned vineyard in a unique location in Tuscany. The relatively high elevation, cool fermentation, and rocky ground definitely leave their mark on this wine, which is redolent with the richness and warmth of the Tuscan sun. The wine is a deep, rich shade of tea rose, with fruit and citrus on the nose. The taste is far from sweet, however, full of mineral and pepper, with a very long, dry finish. In honor of Tuscany, pair it with a panzanella salad or flavorful pasta like Portobello ravioli. If you don’t want to get that creative, a plate of prosciutto and salami will do nicely. Or just enjoy it on its own! 2013 Andrieux et Fils “Cuvée Victoria” Côtes-du-Provence Rosé (Approximately $15/bottle) Provence is the heart, both culturally and in terms of production, of rosé wine, so it would be a crime not include a Provençal wine on this list. Andrieux et Fils is not a complex rosé like Charles & Charles, but it is extremely aromatic and floral, with hints of stone and mineral and an exceptionally bright, refreshing flavor with plenty of acid. This wine would pair fantastically with a juicy steak or burger, especially if that burger was topped with some garlicky aioli. Don’t let the very pale, nearly white pink apricot color intimidate you — while studies show consumers are more attracted to the darker rosé wines, blind taste testings demonstrate the paler varieties generally win out in taste and aromatics. 2015 Charles Thomas Côtes-du-Rhône Rosé (approx. $10/bottle) (Approximately $10/bottle) Reportedly a favorite of literary manly man and semi-professional drinker, Ernest Hemingway, Côtes-du-Rhône rosés tend to be light on acid and heavy in body and alcohol content. And at only $10-ish a bottle, this one’s a steal. In the palest, almost-white melon hue, the Charles Thomas Côtes-du-Rhône rosé blends Grenache and Syrah grapes for a sweet start and a dry finish that seems to hit every taste bud. It fills the whole mouth with a long, lovely aftertaste of voluptuous, ripe juice. It has a strong aroma of fruit, particularly strawberries, and leaves a zingy, spicy tingle on the tongue. It is a crowd pleaser (especially for you German Riesling fans) that offers a perfect balance between savory and sweetness. Honestly, you could probably pair it with anything.