Pretty in pink, rosé wine is an exciting and diverse category. While it's often associated with the sweetness of inexpensive White Zinfandel, this style of wine is no one-trick-pony, and there is so much more to discover.
Rosé wines are made all over the world from a plethora of different grape varieties. The most common styles of rosé are generally dry, though sweet expressions do exist. The specific color of a given rosé is based on the amount of time that the skins have spent with the juice—though contrary to popular belief, darker-hued rosés are not always sweeter. Rosé wines are also produced in both still and sparkling formats. Due to their low tannins, high acid, and fruit-forward nature, rosé—whether still or sparkling—is one of the most versatile, food-friendly wine styles on the planet.
Chateau d'Esclans Whispering Angel Rosé
"I can't say enough good things about this rosé—it's simply the best," says Mary Kate Hoban, our commerce associate editorial director. "It's perfectly dry but still strikes the right balance of refreshing and fruity and, for me, that tastes like summer in a glass. It was honestly love at first sip and has become my go-to for summer happy hours."
Backed by the esteem of France’s Provence de Côtes appellation, Chateau d’Esclans often receives credit for the renewed interest in rosé wines worldwide. While it enjoys top-of-its-class status, it’s not overpriced and is surprisingly easy to find.
The most common word used to describe Whispering Angel is “delicious” and that comes from both red and white wine enthusiasts and the toughest wine critics. It is a blend of grenache, cinsault, syrah, carignan, and vermentino grapes sourced from local vineyards and handled with the utmost care. The wine has a classic dry and crisp profile indicative of the French region, with bright citrus, peach, and orange blossom notes. It’s an excellent wine pairing for any meal and offers an amazing experience when enjoyed on its own.
Price at time of publish: $25 for 750 mL
Region: Provence, France | Variety: Grenache, Cinsault, Rolle (Vermentino) | Tasting notes: Bright citrus, peach, orange blossom
Le Grand Noir Rosé
Le Grand Noir Rosé is a beautiful and affordable introduction to rosé wines. Made primarily of grenache grapes and backed by shiraz, it comes from Minervois in southern France, a region better known for its red wines. Encompassing the tastes of summer and with a price tag that hovers around $10, this is a bottle to keep around for hot days and patio soirées.
This rosé’s profile is a nice balance of sweet and dry, so it’s enjoyable for nearly any palate. The aroma holds bold raspberries and strawberries while the taste emphasizes the red fruits with nice acidity and a hint of spice. Overall, it’s simply a refreshing, crisp wine that will set any summer dinner off in style. Pair it with grilled salmon or a fresh summer salad.
Price at time of publish: $15
Region: Languedoc, France | Variety: Chardonnay (85%), Viognier (15%) | Tasting notes: Currant, berry, oak, mango, ginger
Castello del Poggio Sweet Rosé
When you're looking for a sweet, budget-friendly rosé, turn to Castello del Poggio Sweet Rosé. It comes from an Italian winery that specializes in sweet wines, including some nice moscatos, so you know they do it right.
This lovely rosé is sweet, but it's also invigorating and delicately approachable. You’ll enjoy an array of light fruits like cantaloupe, white peach, and pomegranate, and an acidity that complements its sweetness. It's nice with any summer cuisine and makes an excellent dessert wine, especially with strawberries or ice cream. This rosé is also ideal for wine cocktails; try it in a rosé berry bliss to instantly brighten up any party.
Price at time of publish: $13
Region: Piedmont, Italy | Variety: Moscato Bianco (51%), Pinot Noir (49%) | Tasting notes: Floral, berry, apricot, tropical fruit
Argyle Pinot Noir Rose
Although Oregon’s Willamette Valley is regarded as one of the best wine-producing areas in the United States today, such wasn’t always the case. However, forward-thinking vintner Rollin Soles saw immense potential in this cool-climate region and founded Argyle back in 1987. Over the past 35 years, Argyle has become one of the leading producers of pinot noir and chardonnay from Oregon, both in still and sparkling formats.
The estate’s varietal Rosé of Pinot Noir is sourced from two sites, the Knudsen and Spirit Hill vineyards, located within the Dundee Hills and Eola-Amity Hills, respectively. Flavors of red fruits, wildflowers, and earth jump from this textured and complex wine, which promises to have even the most skeptic of rosé drinkers thinking twice. Pair with a variety of foods, from seafood and salads to heartier appetizers, grilled poultry, cured meats, and more.
Price at time of publish: $20
Region: Willamette Valley, Oregon, USA | Variety: Pinot Noir | Tasting notes: Red fruits, wildflowers, earth
Domaine Montrose Solis Lumen Rose
Based in the sunny south of France, Domaine Montrose is one of the region’s most beloved producers of sustainable, budget-friendly wines. Solis Lumen is an organic and carbon-neutral cuvée that was crafted with both flavor and respect for the environment in mind—even the wine’s label, which boasts the Mediterranean Sea and bright sunshine, pays homage to the fundamental elements that make up this highly underrated region.
On the palate, flavors of cranberry, strawberry skin, blood orange, and grapefruit lead to a long and refreshing finish. The wine is available in both lightweight glass bottles and recyclable can options, meaning that enjoying it on the go (and with an environmentally-friendly outlook) has never been easier. Pop chilled by the pool or at your next picnic for a seriously refreshing drinking experience.
Price at time of publish: $12
Region: Languedoc, France | Variety: Grenache (80%), Cinsault (20%) | Tasting notes: Cranberry, strawberry skin, blood orange, grapefruit
Chateau de Bligny Grande Reserve Brut Rose
When it comes to sparkling wine, Champagne reigns king—and rosé Champagne is no exception. When the mood for pink bubbles strikes, Sydney Kalvin, director of marketing fro Shaw-Ross International Importers, reaches for Château de Bligny Grande Reserve Brut Rosé Champagne. “Château de Bligny has some of my favorite champagnes, and the rosé does not disappoint,” she says. Kalvin states that the winery is located in the Côte des Bars (otherwise known as the Aube), which is the most southerly subregion of Champagne. She describes the wine as having “nice minerality, a beautiful pink/orange color, and a great value at around $50 per bottle.”
David Parker, CEO and founder of Benchmark Wine Group, says that that while there are plenty of great sparkling rosés from throughout the world, including from Oregon, Great Britain, Italy and the Loire, that the classics come from Champagne. “Rosé Champagne is, in my opinion, the universal food wine,” he says, stating that the wine style goes well with everything from fish to steak, fruit to nuts, and to cheese to dessert. “[Rosé Champagne] also goes with every cuisine, from French to Italian to Asian to barbeque—or with nothing at all,” he states, equally noting that Rosé Champagne is also great for aging (and that non-vintage bottles are great options for not breaking the bank).
Price at time of publish: $60
Region: Champagne, France | Variety: Pinot Noir, Chardonnay | Tasting Notes: Raspberry, white cherry, rose hips, brioche, chalk
A Tribute to Grace Santa Barbara Highlands Vineyard Rose of Grenache
A Tribute to Grace is the brainchild of New Zealand-born Angela Osborne, a former film student with a serious passion for wine. After working in wine retail to pay her bills during college, Osborne decided to try her hand at working harvest in California. Not only did she fall in love with the Golden State, but she also became fully bit by the winemaking bug while there! Osborne’s love for the vine—particularly high-altitude grenache—ultimately led her to abandon her dreams of filmmaking and take to the vineyard instead.
After officially moving to California, Osborne began working with some of the most interesting, high-altitude vineyard sites in the state, located in Santa Barbara County to the Sierra Foothills and beyond. Fruit for this refreshing rosé of Grenache comes from soaring altitudes of 3,200 feet, sourced from a sustainably-farmed vineyard owned by Laetitia Vineyard and Winery (Osborne leases three rows). This SIP-certified sustainable wine sees 24 hours of skin contact and ferments for approximately 50 days prior to aging for 13 weeks sur-lie in stainless steel. Expect flavors of red currants, watermelon rind, red apple skin, and wet stones to pop from this pale-hued, easy-drinking wine.
Price at time of publish: $29
Region: Santa Barbara, Central Coast, California | Variety: Grenache | Tasting notes: Red currants, watermelon rind, red apple skin, wet stones
Gaintza Getariako Txakolina Rosé
Never heard of Txakolina Rosé before? If you love spritzy, easy-drinking pinks that promise to mentally transport you to the sun-drenched shores of northern Spain, then these wines need to be on your radar. Produced in the Getaria area of the Basque Country, these refreshing, slightly effervescent wines are beloved by industry folk and consumers alike—and upon first taste, there’s a good chance you’ll be hooked, too.
Founded in 1923, Gaintza is a family-owned estate now operated by fourth-generation Joseba. The property comprises 25 hectares of sustainably-farmed vines planted in limestone and clay-loam soils, from which fruit for this tasty wine hails. On the palate, flavors of tart red berries, chalk, and saline lead to a zingy, pleasantly prickly finish. Fair warning, this could be your new go-to summer wine.
Price at time of publish: $25
Region: Getaria (Basque Country), Spain | Variety: Hondarrabi Beltza (60%), Hondarrabi Zuri (40%) | Tasting notes: Tart red berries, chalk, saline
Bota Box Dry Rosé
Today’s boxed wine is not what it was a few decades ago, and there are some rather impressive finds. In the rosé category, Bota Box is a top choice. It’s available in a 3-liter box (equivalent to four standard wine bottles), a 1.5-liter “brick” (two bottles), and adorable mini boxes for those who are curious or simply want a few glasses of wine. The sustainable packaging keeps the wine fresh for up to 30 days once open.
Bota Box Dry Rosé has affordability and freshness on its side, but the quality is a big hurdle with any boxed wine. This California winery does not sacrifice taste for convenience. This is a drier rosé with a nice amount of sweetness. It’s crisp and easy to drink, with tempting raspberry and strawberry flavors. Many wine drinkers who typically don’t prefer rosé or boxed wine (or both) find it notably pleasant.
Price at time of publish: $20 for 3 L
Region: California, USA | Variety: Field Blend | Tasting notes: Strawberry cake, grapefruit zest
Underwood Rosé Bubbles
Don't knock canned wines until you've tried the newest crop available, especially if it has the name Underwood on the label! The brand does both the rosé and canned wine trends justice. When it comes to sipping on the go, you will be hard-pressed to beat Rosé Bubbles.
No matter where your adventures take you, this rosé can keep you enjoying life with a glass (er, can) of bubbly. It's light, refreshing, and has a beautiful fruit bouquet that's perfect with any barbecue foods. Available in four packs, it’s important to remember that each can is equal to half a bottle of wine. Drink it slowly and enjoy each sparkling sip.
Price at time of publish: $5 for 375 mL
Region: Oregon, USA | Variety: Pinot Gris-dominant with Pinot Noir, Muscat, & Riesling | Tasting notes: Pink grapefruit, strawberry, watermelon
For a taste of rosé as it is meant to be, Chateau d’Esclans Whispering Angel Rosé is a wine that everyone should try. If you need a can to go with enjoyable bubbles, we like the Underwood Rosé Bubbles.
What to Look for in Rosé Wines
Unlike red and white wines, you can’t rely on a grape variety to indicate a rosé wine’s taste, and it’s not always clearly marked on the label. While this can make selecting a rosé somewhat tricky, rest assured that most rosés are vinified dry, boast relatively high levels of acidity, and are some of the most food-friendly styles of wine on the market.
“Rosé can be many different things and come from many different places, but I think the most important thing about rosé is that it should be easy to drink,” says Sydney Kavlin, director of marketing at Shaw-Ross International Importers.
When selecting sparkling wines, keep in mind that frizzante means it has a gentle sparkle, and brut means “dry.”
Rosé is always pink. As you explore these wines, you’ll quickly notice that some are very pale pink while others are deep pink, almost the color of red wine. The color is determined by the way the wine is made and the grapes that are used. Wines from Provence are often the lightest, while expressions made from Merlot, Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Shiraz, as well as those from Portugal and Spain are often darker hued. France’s Tavel region is known for producing the darkest rosés that are especially appealing to red wine drinkers.
David Parker, CEO and founder of Benchmark Wine Group, explains that rosé’s hue is generally defined by its fermentation time on skins. “Usually produced from red skinned grapes, the time [the juice] ferments with grape skins is cut shorter (from hours to up to a day or so) than red wines and is what gives rosé its pink color,” he says. Parker equally states thatrosé can be made from any red grape and cultivated in any wine region in the world.
However, quality and color have nothing to do with one another. "There is a common misconception that the color of rose wine indicates its quality—this is not true,” affirms Michael Peltier of Millesima USA. Peltier notes that the different shade of pink can simply be attributed to techniques used to produce the wine, as well as the grape variety / varieties used.
What is rosé wine?
There are four different methods used to produce rosé wine. One leaves the grape skins in the juice for a short time. Another creates a lighter color by pressing the juice and skins and removing the skins right away. For the saingée process, a little red wine juice is bled off and used for red wine, while the remainder becomes a lighter-colored rosé. In contrast, some wines, including many Rosé Champagnes, are actually a blend of red and white wines.
Peltier explains that one of the most common ways of making rosé wine is to simply allow red grape skins to remain in contact with pressed juice during maceration. “The longer the skin is left in contact with the juice, the darker the color [of the rosé],” he explains. Additionally, Peltier explains that when using the saignée method, the “bled off” juice becomes rosé, while the remaining red wine will be darker and more concentrated in flavor.
Is rosé wine sweet?
White Zinfandel is responsible for the misconception that all pink wine is sweet. That is definitely not usually the case, and you will find that many rosé wines are as dry as any Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Noir. Parker notes that rosés can range from bone dry to sweet, depending on the winemaking practices and intentional use of residual sugars from the fermentation process.
How many calories are in rosé wine?
Kalvin notes that a typical rosé wine, one that is dry in style and low in sugar, generally clocks in somewhere around 100-120 calories per 5-ounce glass. On the other hand, sweeter wines have more residual sugars, and therefore, more calories.
Should rosé wine be chilled?
Peltier describes rosé wines as “delightful bottlings that are synonymous with joyous, al fresco get-togethers,” and that chilling these wines exemplifies their freshness and elegance. Most rosés do well at around 50 degrees Fahrenheit, which requires about 30 minutes in the refrigerator. For sparkling rosés, give the bottle at least 40 minutes so it reaches at least 45 degrees Fahrenheit, or serve them ice-cold. “The right temperature can bring out the best qualities of the wine and enhance its tasting profiles and aromas,” says Parker, who cites that serving rosé between 45-55 degrees.
How do you pair rosé wine with food?
If there is a wine that offers fuss-free food pairings, it is rosé. These pink wines will go with almost anything, from red meat to poultry to seafood, and salads, sides, and all sorts of desserts. Some of the best pairings are light foods, or those commonly thought of as summer fare.
Rosé can handle barbecue foods, too, and offers a nice, refreshing contrast to all those bold flavors of the grill. For desserts, enhance the rosé’s strawberry notes with bright, fresh, and fruity desserts like tarts. The drier sparkling rosés are also fabulous with luscious chocolate treats. When a summer snack on the patio is in order, pair rosé with goat or feta cheese.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Colleen Graham is a food and beverage writer with over a decade of experience writing about cocktails, beer, and wine. She is the author of two books, including “Rosé Made Me Do It,” which profiles the pink wine and explores fun cocktail recipes that feature it.
Vicki Denig is a wine, spirits, and travel journalist based between New York and Paris. Her writing regularly appears in major industry publications, including Liquor.com, WineSearcher, Decanter, and beyond. Vicki also works with a prestigious Rolodex of monthly clients, including Paris Wine Company, Becky Wasserman & Co, Corkbuzz, Provignage, and beyond. She is a Certified Specialist of Wine. When not writing, Vicki enjoys indoor cycling classes and scoping out dogs to pet in her local parks.