We’ve been drinking a lot of rosé this summer. It has been so hot and humid, with 90° plus days. Stifling. That can put a damper on your outdoor enjoyment and definitely a damper on outdoor entertaining. But rosé can help. So can sitting by a pool.
With Joe and most of our neighbors’ children participating on the same swim team, we’ve had many swim meet nights battling the heat (and sudden thunderstorms), sharing our potluck food offerings under an umbrella table and tasting many different rosé wines from around the world.
Rosé is finally overcoming its bad rap in the States (a rap deserved because of the ‘pink’ and ‘white’ zinfandels marketed here). Americans have discovered what the French, Italians, and Spaniards already knew: rosé made with great grapes, served well-chilled with some light food on a sweltering evening is a great way to spend time with friends (even while sweating!)
Not all rosés are going to be loved by everyone. They can range from super-fruity, raspberry Kool-Aid to peppery, suck-the-saliva-right-out-of-your-mouth bone dry. And price is not an issue: 3 of our favorites came from Trader Joe’s in Virginia and were less than $8 a bottle. Here are our favorites from the summer that struck the right note and made us happy. (Not included: the one that I ended up pouring out on the ground at a casual picnic it was so undrinkable. And yes, it was one that I purchased for $12.99. Ouch.)
Since I am not a wine writer, I’ve taken the tasting notes from the winemakers’ own web sites. There are 3 here that are private label Trader Joe’s (under $7!) so the winemakers are unknown to us. For those I quote the descriptions from Trader Joe’s Fearless Flyer.
Château Pey La Tour 2011
Translated from the French: “Château Pey La Tour rosé is pale pink in appearance. The blend combines the aromatic freshness and structure of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc (red currants, black currants and blueberries) with typical Merlot finesse. Fruity and well-balanced, the wine is wonderfully refreshing on the finish.”
Frédéric Bonnaffous, Estates Director
“Red luminescent colour with warm glows. Has a strong aroma of berries and sweets. Very young and fresh in the mouth, well balanced with its acidity, rich in floral nuances and spices.”
Rebecca’s Note: I really loved this one from Spain.
Bricco Dei Tati 2012
“This is a young, fresh, lively Barbera with a persistent and attractive bouquet of black cherries and a bit of spice on the palate. It has few tannins which is typical of the Barbera varietal, and a medium finish. Delightfully approachable, it is great with medium to strong cheeses, barbecue and game.”
Incanto Rose Vino Frizzante
$7.99 (Trader Joe’s)
Raboso is a grape variety typically produced in Veneto, the growing area surrounding Venice. Our winemakers produce this Raboso in a modern, pleasant style, vinifying it as a Rosato and refermenting it to a Frizzante effervescence that greatly enhances the appreciation of its fruity aromas. Serve well-chilled as an apertif or as a refreshing summer drink.
Rebecca’s Note: This one has a little fizz which is fun. The bottle did not list a vintage but I’m sure it must have been young (2012.)
Trader Joe’s Petit Reserve Rosé 2012
Napa Valley 2012
$5.99 (Trader Joe’s)
Trader Joe’s Petit Reserve Napa Valley Rosé comes to us from a very famous Napa Valley winery – they make super wines that tend to be quite expensive. Yet Trader Joe’s Petit Reserve Rosé is a mere $5.99* a bottle. Part of the arrangement is that we’re not allowed to tell you who they are. We’re okay with that kind of anonymity when it comes with a value like this and a wine that’s refreshing, crisp and dry, with fresh berry flavors and a hint of spice.
Quinson Côtes de Provence 2012
$5.99 (Trader Joe’s)
The Provençal know their rosé, and we know a good value in Côtes de Provencal Rosé when we taste one. Quinson Côtes de Provence Rosé is just that. Hailing from the area of southern France from Marseilles to Nice, Quinson Côtes de Provence Rosé is a fetchingly dry rosé with a characteristically light pink hue. Its nose of ripe red berries and spices leads to amply fruity flavors on the palate.
Special cheers go out to Cork & Cakers, Chris and Adrienne Harrington, for introducing us to our new three favorite rosés!