Friday, August 8, 2014

In Praise of Pink Wine

An increasing number of Americans realize that pink wine can be awesome. They’re drinking more of it, importers are bringing more into the country and American wineries are producing more of their own. These are all kick-ass developments.

A January 2014 Nielson report found that American consumption of dry rosé (imported and domestic) grew 33.6% in 2012 and 39.8% in 2013. This is part of a longer trend that goes back at least nine years, when Nielsen first started keeping track. The U.S. is second only to France in worldwide consumption of dry pink, and Americans drink 13% of the world’s rosé, according to the report.

As a die-hard supporter of dry rosé, let me take a patriotic pause to say: USA! USA!

When I first started getting into wine ten years ago, it wasn’t as easy to find good rosé. The few available choices came from Provence, the historic home of pink wine. While these wines are great, I craved diversity. The domestic selections tended toward the sweet, Jolly Rancher style, which did not interest me. Fast forward 10 years. Now you can find crisp, clean, exciting pink wine from all over the world. It’s been a lot of fun watching these changes unfold. 

While I drink the pink year round, dry rosé is an obvious choice for summer. These wines provide tons of refreshment and pair well with summer cookout foods. If you’re even remotely interested in wine, I’m probably preaching to the choir. But if you’re still hesitant about drinking pink wine, you’ve never had a better time to jump in.

Here are some of the standout pink wines I’ve tasted so far this summer…

2013 Matthiasson Rosé - USA, California, Napa Valley
Light copper colored mixed with white peach skin. So bright and lively on the nose: wild strawberries, white cherries, chalk, crushed sea shells. On the palate, tangy acid but not too sharp, with a medium body. The strawberry and red apple peel mix with limestone and river rocks. Dry, with notes of sea salt, spring rain, white pepper, green tea and a note that reminds me of squash blossoms. The 2012 was great, but I find this vintage just slightly more complex and amazing. A blend of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre and Counoise. A gorgeous pink. (92 points)

2013 Glen Manor Vineyards Morales Rosé - USA, Virginia, Shenandoah Valley
Lots of strawberries and watermelon on the nose and palate. This is crisp and quaffable but showing some interesting elements of roses, saline and some subtle spices. It paired well with a variety of grilled seafood and cheeses and the friends gathered for dinner all really enjoyed it. Mostly Merlot with some Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. (86 points)

This Pinot Noir pink is consistently one of my favorites.
2013 Domaine Collotte Marsannay Rosé - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Marsannay Rosé
Another solid vintage of this wine, which consistently is one of my favorite rosés of summer. Wild strawberries, lemon verbena tea, red apple peel and roses on the nose. Crisp, clean, mineral-packed, with salted lime, watermelon and lemon zinger tea notes. Sage and minerals linger on the finish. Complex but ultimately crisp and enjoyable, surely a good call for summer cookouts. (89 points)

2013 Domaine de Fondrèche Ventoux Rosé L'Instant - France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Ventoux
Very pale color, like tangerine pith. Lots of fresh flowers on the nose, along with some spicy white pepper and nettles, some oceanic elements. Nervy and mineral-driven on the palate with crisp green apple, strawberry and green melon fruit, backed up by racy minerals. I also get some sea shells and white pepper, and the combination is working quite well. I’d love to pair this with salads or oysters. 50% Cinsault, 30% Syrah, 20% Grenache. (87 points)

2013 Schäfer-Fröhlich Spätburgunder Blanc de Noir Trocken - Germany, Nahe
So pale in its copper color. Fresh white cherries, rose petals and white pepper on the nose. Spicy, racy, crisp and mineral-driven on the palate. The white cherry and white peach fruit is backed up by white pepper and sage. Love the way the spicy and fresh elements fight it out. So refreshing and clean. Made from Pinot Noir, which is called Spätburgunder in Deutschland. (89 points)

Which rosés have you been drinking lately? I’d love to hear your thoughts. If you’re looking for more suggestions, check out my Grab Bag of Rosés report for the daily wine blog Terroirist.


  1. Three out of WA state: Kaella, Julia's Dazzle and Renegade Wine Co. All fabulous and fabulously priced!

  2. Kaella makes an awesome pink. Haven't tried Julias Dazzle or Renegade, but the latter is high on my list. Cheers Jaime!