I like to think that I have been well ahead of the curve when it comes to rosé wine. Starting at least a decade ago, I declared each summer “The Summer of Rosé.” Not very creative, but it was “cutting edge” back in 2007-ish when many still saw rosé as “blush” or lumped all pink wine in with White Zinfandel.
Fast-forward to today and rosé seems to be all the rage. The phrase “Rosé Every Day” has become cliché. Nearly every American winery is now producing a pink wine or is seriously considering it. And even pedestrian wine writers like me are conducting large-scale rosé tastings (mine is scheduled for June 9th–anyone around Houston that weekend?).
2017 Château de Berne Urban Provence Rosé Côtes de Provence: Retail $20. 45% Grenache Noir, 35% Cinsault, 15% Syrah, 5% Rolle. By law, Provence Rosé has to be a blend and include at least 60% of four grapes (Grenache, Cinsaut, Mourvèdre and Tibouren). Like many Provençal wines, this is a beautiful bottle, an eye-catcher for sure. But what matters is the contents and this wine delivers: pink, but quite pale with an orange tinge, loads of cantaloupe, rose petals, and peach Jolly Rancher. On the palate, plenty of fruit and acidity, but delightfully in balance. This is St. Tropez in a bottle. Very Good to Outstanding. 89-91 Points.
2017 Château de Berne Emotion Rosé Côtes de Provence: Retail $19. 50% Grenache Noir, 25% Cinsault, 25% Syrah. Another striking bottle, which actually causes me pause. While I am sure that it is intended, at least in part, to stand out on the shelf and address those that are influenced by the actual bottle, I remain steadfastly concerned with the contents. Quite a pale orange, this is fairly far from “pink” but that is neither here nor there. Aromas of melon, peach, rhubarb, and a touch of spice and lily. Quite tart, with melon, the lily, this wine is nice from the initial flavors to the lengthy finish. Interestingly, the finish is the fruitiest part of the palate. Solid. I initially wanted to hate this wine—I do not like being clearly manipulated by the sexy bottle, but this is close to gangbusters. Really. Outstanding. 90-92 Points.
2017 Château de Berne Inspiration Rosé Côtes de Provence: Retail $22. 70% Grenache, 20% Cinsault, 10% Syrah. In a square bottle, which I would call “sexy” but I would consider that a bit perverse, so I will not say it. Despite the stock photo, this wine is quite pale, barely a hint of pinkness. This is classic Provence, however: white flowers and melon dominate initially. Tart and vibrant with rhubarb, strawberry, and wet rock. When one thinks of Provence rosé, this is likely the prototype. Very Good to Outstanding. 88-90 Points.
2017 Michel Chapoutier Les Vignes de Bila Haut Rosé Pays d’Oc: Retail $15. A blend of Cinsault and Grenache. Another True Rosé that is consistently Outstanding. Chapoutier might be the producer in the South of France, and this is a perfect example why. A beautiful rosy pink color in the glass with fresh strawberries and rhubarb emanating at will. On the palate, lip-smackingly tart, with that rhubarb really coming through. I don’t think I have ever had a Chapoutier wine that I have not thoroughly enjoyed. This continues the trend. Outstanding. 90-92 Points.
2017 Domaine Ferraton Père et Fils Côte du Rhône Samorëns Rosé: Retail $15. 75% Grenache, 15% Syrah, 10% Cinsault. While Ferraton might not have the same universal reputation as others from the region, there is no doubt that their wines deserve to be mentioned among the best from the appellation. Strawberry and rhubarb on the nose with plenty of verve on the palate. Subtle fruit, solid acidity, a winner. Very Good. 87-89 Points.
The last three wines come from my good friends at Quintessential Wines, a family owned importer, distributor, and marketer in Napa, California.
2017 Château Ferry Lacombe Haedus Rosé Côtes de Provence: Retail $22. 50% Grenache, 25% Syrah, 15% Cinsault, 10% Rolle. True Rosé. Provençal wines are required by law to be blends of at least 60% of four grapes (Grenache, Cinsaut, Mourvèdre and Tibouren). This pale orangish pink wine emits aromas of ripe melon, rose petals, and wet flint, and the palate is loaded with fruit, albeit subtle (is that an oxymoron?). Plenty of weight on the mid palate before the wine finishes with a medium length fruity chalkiness. Very Good to Outstanding. 88-90 Points.
2017 Gustave Lorentz Le Rosé Alsace: Retail $20. 100% Pinot Noir. There is not a lot of Pinot Noir that makes its way out of Alsace, and even less rosé. I am glad this True Rosé did: loads of red berry fruit (strawberry, ripe cherry), a white flower element, and a bit of fresh cream (the wine spends three months on the lees after a short maceration and pressing). Extremely refreshing on the palate with bright acidity and just a hint of tannin. Very Good to Outstanding. 89-91 Points.
2017 Herdade de São Miguel Rosado Colheita Seleccionada Alentejo: Retail $18. 50% Aragonez, 50% Touriga Nacional. True Rosé. Ah Alentejo, you will always have a special place in my heart! And if you keep making rosés like this? I might have to relocate to you warm climes. Medium salmon color with the slightest of orange tinges, strawberry and melon with a dash of spice initially leads to a wonderful, fruity, tart wine with a lengthy finish. This is truly fantastic. Outstanding. 91-93 Points.