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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. Pink wine is made all over the world and from all varietals of grapes. Though each is different, strawberries are a common flavor, and all are excellent for food pairings. From sparkling bubbles to dry French Provençal rosés, here are a few bottles that you'll want to have chilled and ready to drink.
Best Under $30: Chateau d'Esclans Whispering Angel Rosé
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, as well as 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.
Best Cheap: 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.
Best Sweet: 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.
Best Dry: Edna Valley Vineyard Rosé
For those who have a taste that leans toward the drier side of wine, Edna Valley Vineyard Rosé is an excellent choice. This California rosé is one that fans of pinot grigio will appreciate. The winery specializes in chardonnay, though the rosé is produced with four red wine grape varietals, so it bridges the gap wonderfully.
Crisp and clean, this rosé has raspberry and strawberry flavors accented with delicate spice. It's one of the most versatile for food pairings, making a lovely companion for sushi rolls, steamed mussels, and so much more. With the balance of flavor that most people will enjoy at an affordable price, it’s an excellent choice when you need a few bottles for a party as well.
Best Sparkling: Rosatello Sparkling Rosé
Italian sparkling wines are spectacular and easily rival French Champagnes. The Tuscan vintners at Rosatello are also masters of sweet wines. They bring those two elements together in one impressive bottle of rosé that doesn’t cost a fortune.
It's easy to instantly fall in love with Rosatello Sparkling Rosé. It has everything that makes rosé attractive: a vivid pink color, the fragrance of wild strawberries, the taste of sweet raspberries, and a light, refreshing body. Add in the fizz factor, and you have a wonderful drink for the hottest of summer nights. Try it with an adventurous cheese platter or use it to mix a sparkling rosé cocktail with lots of fresh flavors.
Best French: Chateau Miraval Rosé
Rosé is king in France's Côtes de Provence region; some estimates put it at 90 percent of the A.O.C.'s production. It is where you will find the lightest pink color as well as the driest rosés. A fabulous bottle to try is Chateau Miraval Côtes de Provence Rosé.
While it is dry, it remains refreshing and elegant, offering lovely fruit and floral flavors and a clean finish that will turn anyone on to the pink wine. It’s not the cheapest wine, but it’s not outrageous, either (rosés are almost always reasonable). It’s a fabulous option for romantic dinners, a spring brunch, or any special occasion. Serve it alongside shellfish, a spring chicken, or a delicious fruit tart.
Best Californian: Sonoma-Cutrer Rosé of Pinot Noir
A nice find from California’s Russian River Valley, Sonoma-Cutrer Rosé of Pinot Noir is an enjoyable wine from a highly decorated winery. Made entirely from Pinot Noir grapes—for which the Sonoma County region is famous—that are grown specifically for this rosé, each vintage of this limited edition rosé is as fascinating as the first.
This is a New World rosé based on the traditions and techniques of the Côtes de Provence wines. The reasonably priced wine is just as lovely, offering elegance with its crisp, fresh acidity and juicy hints of cherry, rhubarb, and strawberry. Enjoy it with an asparagus and mushroom quiche, fresh summer fruit salads, or goat cheese toasts.
Best Spanish: Bodegas Muga Flor de Muga Rosé
Spain is also a bastion for rosé wines, though they may be labeled “rosado.” Among the country’s pink offerings, Flor de Muga Rosé is a fine catch for any wine-lover. From the esteemed La Rioja Alta region, the vintners keep traditional practices alive to create a beautiful rosé.
Made entirely of garnacha (grenache) grapes, the aroma of red fruit draws you in and continues through each long sip of the pale pink wine. This is not a high-volume bottling, and, like many rosés, it doesn’t cellar well. Pick it up whenever you can find it and enjoy it right away. For food, follow the winery's suggestions and pair it with ceviche or a Spanish rice dish, and you won't be disappointed.
Best Boxed: 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.
Best Canned: 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 can! The brand does both the rosé and canned wine trends justice. When it comes to summer 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.
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.