Rose Wine
 

Best Rosé Wine
– Drink Pink.

 

The Fifty Best Rosé Tasting of 2020

 

The Tasting:
The Fifty Best held a “blind” tasting of 25 recent release Rosé wines with 10 members of our wine judging panel. The order of service was established beforehand by lottery. Strict tasting rules were applied. Each of the wines were poured into fresh glasses from new sealed bottles and served well chilled. Only ice water and crusty peasant bread were available to cleanse the palate.

The judges wrote down their impressions of each wine on score sheets. The scoring was based on a 5-point system, with 5 as the highest. Double-Gold, Gold, Silver and Bronze medals are awarded according to a set range of final point scores received from the judges.

The tasting notes that follow are summaries of the judges’ opinions, with all replicated commentary eliminated. The states and countries are identified for each brand. Prices indicated do not include tax. Clicking on the brands' names will link to their websites.

DOUBLE-GOLD MEDAL WINNERS

Grey Wolf Vineyards Soul Mate Rosé 2019
(Paso Robles, CA) $32

Made from a blend of Grenache (50%) and Mouvedre (50%), this wine was fermented and aged for three months in stainless steel tanks before filtering and bottling.

Aroma: Strawberries, berries, pomegranate, nectarine, lychee, sweet grapefruit, grapefruit, pomelo, lemony, high citrus, Pink Lady apple skins, roses, magnolias, flowers, earthy, minerals.

Palate: Berry, peach, white peach, pear, crabapple, watermelon, pomelo, pampelmousse, grapefruit, pink grapefruit, citrus, lavender, earthy, minerality, wet stone, balanced, soft, smooth.

Finish: Pear, pomelo, grapefruit, citrus, tart, crisp, clean, minerality, soft, smooth, subtle, interesting, nice, pleasant.

Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal



Grey Wolf Vineyards Soul Mate Rosé



Garré Vineyard Rosato di Sangiovese 2019
(Livermore Valley, CA) $30

This wine was produced from 100% Sangiovese grapes.

Aroma: Rainier cherries, powerful cherry, fresh picked strawberries, raspberry, raspberry jam, pomegranate, rhubarb, watermelon, grapefruit, lemon peel, tobacco, wet granite, forest.

Palate: Ripe raspberries, strawberries, sweet berry, cherry, dark cherry, black currant, cranberry, white peach, watermelon, honeydew, rose petals, floral, peppery, mineral, soft, delicate, pleasant.

Finish: Rainier cherries, melon, watermelon, pink grapefruit, intense herbal, peppery, well balanced, crisp, soft, easy, tasty, elegant.


Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal



Garré Vineyard Rosato di Sangiovese



Château des Ferrages
Mon Plaisir Rosé Sainte Victoire Côtes de Provence 2019

(France) $25

This wine was made from a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Vermentino grapes grown in soil noted for its clay-limestone composition.

Aroma: Strawberry, pomegranate, peach, stone fruit, mango, cantaloupe, melon, pink lemonade, lemony, grapefruit, pink grapefruit, citrus, lemon rind, orange peel, rose petals, floral, bright.

Palate: Pomegranate, red currant, watermelon, white peach, blood orange, grapefruit, pink grapefruit, pomelo, lemon, lemon peel, bright citrus, tropical, rose petals, orchard, bell pepper, sea rose mineral, savory.

Finish: Rhubarb, apple skins, grapefruit peel, nice lingering citrus, very balanced, clean, fresh, crisp, bright, very smooth, pleasant.

Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal



Château des Ferrages Mon Plaisir Rosé Sainte Victoire Côtes de Provence



South Coast Winery 2019 Tempranillo Rosè
(Temecula Valley, CA) $16

This wine was fashioned from two Iberian Peninsula clonal selections of Tempranillo grapes in an approximate 50/50 ratio that were pressed as whole clusters, with the juice of both clones blended prior to fermentation.

Aroma: Fresh strawberries, strawberry gum, raspberry, macerated raspberries, cherry, pomegranate, watermelon Jolly Rancher, citrus, lemon zest, cotton candy, rose petals, honeysuckle, soft floral, cucumber, mint.

Palate: Strawberries, sweet strawberry, stewed strawberries, sweet cherries, sour cherry, depth of dark fruits, rhubarb, peach, apricot, melon, mandarin orange, soft citrus, gentle citrus, lovely florals, nicely sweet, pleasant sourness, balanced.

Finish: Strawberries, ripe watermelon, honeydew melon, apricot, lemon, floral, crisp, nice tartness, good balance, party wine, summer beach drinking, delicious.

Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal



South Coast Winery Tempranillo Rosè



GOLD MEDAL WINNERS

Rodney Strong Vineyards Rosé of Pinot Noir 2019
(Russian River Valley, Sonoma) $19

This wine was made from grapes grown certified sustainable, and produced carbon neutral by cold fermentation in stainless steel tanks.

Aroma: Strawberry, fresh raspberries, cranberry, ripe peaches, watermelon, honeydew, fresh grapefruit, lemon, bright citrus, cotton candy, floral, savory.

Palate: Ripe strawberries, fresh strawberries, ripe peach, white peach, honeydew melon, rhubarb, green apple, lemon, light citrus, herbs, great tartness, bright, fresh, delicious.

Finish: Plum, watermelon, lemon, citrus, beautifully balanced, Cape Cod summer, a beach rosé, beautiful, elegant, delicious.


Gold Medal
Gold medal



Rodney Strong Vineyards Rosé of Pinot Noir



Château des Ferrages
Roumery Rosé Côtes de Provence 2019

(France) $19

This wine was made from a blend of Cinsault, Grenache, Syrah and Vermentino.

Aroma: Strawberry, ripe sun-kissed strawberries, red plum, orange, orange zest, grapefruit, lemon, green pepper, rich loamy earth, earthy, minerality.

Palate: Strawberry, red plum, pomegranate, ripe pomelo, pink grapefruit, lemon, citrus, lovely flowers, tangy, minerality, wet stone, great.

Finish: Raspberry, ripe berries, cherry, pink grapefruit, fresh green pepper, some oak, mineral, balanced acidity, pleasant tartness, balanced, clean, so smooth.


Gold Medal
Gold medal



Château des Ferrages Roumery Rosé Côtes de Provence





Yes Way Rosé 2019
(Méditerranée, France) $13

This wine was made from a blend of organically-grown Grenache and Syrah grapes grown in southern France.

Aroma: Raspberry, strawberry, cherry, watermelon, ripe peaches, green apple, hint of lime, citrus, bubble gum, cotton candy, white flowers, cucumber, minerals, elegant.

Palate: Raspberry, strawberry, tart cherry, pomegranate, peach, apricot, honey dew, melon, blood orange, pink grapefruit, lemon, citrus, green herbal notes, floral, soft, delicate.

Finish: Great strawberry, lingering strawberry, raspberry, red plum, melon, lemon, citrus, herbal, subtle tannins, luscious, delicious.


Gold Medal
Gold medal



Yes Way Rosé





Triennes Rosé 2019
(Nans-les-Pins, France) $15

This wine was made from a blend of primarily Cinsault grapes (with smaller amounts of Grenache, Syrah and Merlot), harvested at night, then pressed with a short amount of skin contact and fermented at cool temperatures until dry.

Aroma: Strawberry, plum, pomegranate, fresh white peaches, peach, apricot, banana, grapefruit, lemon, citrus peel, citrus, pink lady apple skins, rhubarb, rose petals, floral, mineral, clean, fresh, elegant.

Palate: Strawberry, raspberry, peach, pear, stone fruit, melon, crisp green melon, grapefruit, grapefruit peel, lemon, lemon pith, floral, mineral, wet stone.

Finish: Sour cherry, apricot, ripe melon, grapefruit, mineral, well balanced, smooth, summery.


Gold Medal
Gold medal



Triennes Rosé





South Coast Winery 2018 Tempranillo Rosè
(Temecula Valley, CA) $16

This wine was made from a blend of hand-harvested Tempranillo (50% Portuguese Tinta Roriz clone) and 50% of a Spanish Tempranillo clone of grapes (commonly known as Valdepenas) that were cold fermented.

Aroma: Black currant, crabapple, rhubarb, rosehips, starfruit, apricot, pear, fresh orange, lemon, citrus, floral, black tea, mineral.

Palate: Strawberry, ripe raspberry, beautiful berry, strawberry tart, candied apple, cherry, nectarine, starfruit, melon, grapefruit, pink grapefruit, lemon peel, citrus, rhubarb, floral, green peppery.

Finish: Strawberry, beautiful berries, rhubarb, lingering lemon, wet stone, balanced acidity, crisp, tangy, yum.


Gold Medal
Gold medal



South Coast Winery Tempranillo Rosè



Pedroncelli Rosé 2019 Signature Selection
(Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County) $15

This wine was made from Zinfandel grapes grown in Bushnell Vineyard, noted for well-drained, rocky soil. Fermentation was conducted slowly at low temperatures in stainless steel tanks.

Aroma: Strawberry, raspberry, black cherry, sour cherry, black currant, pomegranate, peach, watermelon, apple, crabapple, lemon rind, strawberry Jello, mild cotton candy, salt water taffy, nutmeg, minerality, wet stone.

Palate: Strawberry, ripe cherry, pomegranate, cranberry, watermelon, peach, rhubarb, rose petal, celery, floral, allspice, white pepper, creamy, smooth.

Finish: Sour cherry, subtle melon, apricot, celery, stone, clean, delicate, rich for a rosé.


Gold Medal
Gold medal



Pedroncelli Rosé Signature Selection



Les Vignes de Bila-Haut Rosé 2019
(Pays d’Oc, France) $15

This wine was made from a blend of grapes (50% Grenache, 35% Cinsault, 15% Syrah) grown on 40+ year-old vines in the Cotes du Roussillon area that underwent temperature-controlled fermentation and aging in stainless-steel tanks.

Aroma: Strawberry, red berries, cherry, peach, white peach, watermelon, apple, crabapple, blood orange, cucumber, lemony, lemon peel, lemon zest, white flowers, floral.

Palate: Raspberry, strawberry fields, strawberry leaves, cherry, pomegranate, peach, intense fresh melon, watermelon, orange, lemon, crabapple skin, rose petal, hay, red pepper flakes, tannins, delicate.

Finish: Strawberry, cherry, honeydew melon, lemon, lemon rind, mineral, soft tang, bright, acidity, crisp, nice.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Les Vignes de Bila-Haut Rosé



Cass Oasis 2019 Rosé
(Paso Robles, CA) $24

To make this wine, a blend of early-morning hand-picked Mourvèdre (63%) and Grenache (37%) grapes were immediately pressed and then fermented.

Aroma: Strawberry, cherry, white peach, nectarine, rhubarb, crabapple, green apple, wisp of apple, grapefruit, lemon, fresh citrus, green leaves, minerality, fresh.

Palate: Strawberry, raspberry, apricot, white peach, blood orange, lemon, green apple, floral, grassy, excellent tartness, fresh.

Finish: Strawberry, deep ripe plum, lemon, lemon peel, fresh citrus, apple skin, floral, crisp, clean, delicate, pretty, an all day rosé.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Cass Oasis Rosé



Angels & Cowboys 2019 Rosé
(Sonoma County) $15

For this Grenache-based blend, grapes were harvested early in the morning, briefly pressed as whole clusters, then fermented in stainless steel tanks and aged on its lees (wasted yeast) before bottling.

Aroma: Raspberry, strawberry, white peach, faint nectarine, tangerine, sweet grape, melon, citrus, rhubarb, rose water, honeysuckle, floral.

Palate: Strawberry, plum, pomegranate, rhubarb, peach, white peach, nectarine, watermelon, honeydew melon, fresh lemon, citrus, soft florals, stylish floral, crisp, mineral.

Finish: Pomegranate, nectarine, melon, lemony, lemon rind, citrus, white flowers, sharp mineral, crisp acidity.


Gold Medal
Gold medal



Angels & Cowboys Rosé



Holman Ranch Estate
2019 Susan’s Saignée Rosé of Pinot Noir

(Carmel Valley, CA) $30

This wine was made from Pinot Noir (100%) fermented over 14 days in temperature-controlled stainless steel containers.

Aroma: Ripe strawberry, raspberry, cherry, faint watermelon, lemon peel, citrus, mint, apple blossoms, white flowers, floral, touch of wood, spring, fresh.

Palate: Strawberry, raspberry, Bing cherry, ruby red grapefruit, orange, lemon, lime, citrus, floral, peppery, black pepper, minerality, woody, oaky, soft, delicate, refreshing.

Finish: Red plum, lime, peppers, intense mineral, oaky, well-balanced, smooth, soft, delicate, beautiful.


Gold Medal
Gold medal



Holman Ranch Estate Susan’s Saignée Rosé of Pinot Noir



South Coast Winery 2019 Grenache Noir Rosè
(Temecula Valley, CA) $18

Following harvest of grapes for this wine, they were immediately pressed and fermented at cool temperatures using a yeast from the Cornas area of the Rhône Valley in France.

Aroma: Ripe strawberry, raspberry, cherry, faint watermelon, lemon peel, citrus, mint, apple blossoms, white flowers, floral, touch of wood, spring, fresh.

Palate: Strawberry, raspberry, Bing cherry, ruby red grapefruit, orange, lemon, lime, citrus, floral, peppery, black pepper, minerality, woody, oaky, soft, delicate, refreshing.

Finish: Red plum, lime, peppers, intense mineral, oaky, well-balanced, smooth, soft, delicate, beautiful.


Gold Medal
Gold medal



South Coast Winery Grenache Noir Rosè



Notorious Pink Grenache Rosé 2019
(Provence, France) $16

This wine was made from Grenache grapes harvested from Domaine la Colombette in the South of France, and fermented at low temperatures.

Aroma: Strawberry, guava, green apple, grapefruit, lemon, nice citrus, white flowers, summer flowers, floral, smoky heather, herbs, eucalyptus, crisp, clean, fresh.

Palate: Ripe strawberries, strawberry candy, hops, pomegranate, peach, nectarine, melon, sweet melon, sweet apple, orange, cotton candy, soft, delicate.

Finish: Strawberry, cherry, lemon, citrus, well balanced, smooth, well rounded, delicious.


Gold Medal
Gold medal



Notorious Pink Grenache Rosé



Lorenzi Estate M Grenache Rosé 2019
(Temecula Valley, CA) $45

This wine was fashioned from 100% Grenache grapes that were hand-harvested and hand-sorted with a 90-day, 37 degree chill following fermentation.

Aroma: Macerated cherries, cherry pie filling, black cherry pie, pie crust, cherry cola, strawberry, rhubarb, white grape juice, almond, cured meat, peat, earth, minerality.

Palate: Rainier cherries, briny black cherry, strawberry, raspberry, rhubarb, unripe peaches, melon, orange, blood orange, pink grapefruit, floral, dark nougat.

Finish: Ripe cherry, rhubarb, honeydew melon, lemon, rosy, floral, peppery, lasting acidity, tannins, smooth, gentle.


Gold Medal
Gold medal



Lorenzi Estate M Grenache Rosé



Miraval Côtes de Provence Rosé 2019
(France) $20

This wine was produced from a blend of Cinsault, Grenache, Syrah and Rolle grapes that were harvested early in the morning, vinified in temperature-controlled stainless steel vats (95%) and in barrels (5%).

Aroma: Strawberry, raspberry, blackberry, stone fruit, melon, cassis, blooming roses, Provence salty air, tannins.

Palate: Strawberry, raspberry, currants, subtle grapefruit, citrus, green peach, herbal, lavender, peppery, earth, tannins, woody, tart, crisp, fresh.

Finish: Lingering berries, soft tannins, rich, Provençal, easy drinking, picnic wine.


Gold Medal
Gold medal



Miraval Rosé Côtes de Provence



Fleur de Mer Côtes de Provence Rosé 2019
(France) $19

This wine was made from a blend of Grenache (42%), Cinsault (23%), Carignan (12%), Mouvedre (7%) and other select red varietals (15%), all grown in a climate known for warm days and cool brisk nights.

Aroma: Raspberry, strawberry, bold black cherry, ripe peach, nectarine, red grapefruit, citrus, lemon curd, rose petals, peony, gardenia, spring flowers, floral, black pepper, bright.

Palate: Raspberry, strawberry, peach, grapefruit, pink grapefruit, lemon, lime, citrus, unripe apple, peony, geranium, white flowers, floral, black pepper, crisp, bright.

Finish: Red plum, intense red berry, mineral, good acidity, crisp, bright, soft, smooth, mellow.


Gold Medal
Gold medal



Fleur de Mer Côtes de Provence Rosé



SILVER MEDAL WINNERS

Champs de Provence Côtes de Provence Rosé 2019
(France) $19

This wine was fashioned from a blend of red Rhône varietals.

Aroma: Strawberry, cherry, cranberry, pomegranate, unripe peaches, kiwi, strawberry lemonade, blood orange, citrus, white flowers.

Palate: Ripe raspberry, strawberry, cherry, rhubarb, lemon, citrus, citrus peel, floral, soft.

Finish: Nice tart cherry, delicate blueberry, melon, lemon, lime, touch of pepper, great acidity, very soft, summer lovin’.


Silver Medal
Silver medal



Champs de Provence Côtes de Provence Rosé



Casillero del Diablo Rosé Reserva 2019
(Chile) $9

This wine was made from a blend of Cinsault (76%), Syrah (9%), Carmenere (9%), Garnacha (3%) and other grape varietals (3%) that were grown in riverbench and benchland associated soils.

Aroma: Cherry, peach, honeydew melon, pink grapefruit, grapefruit, citrus, white flowers, rose, grassy, minerality, wet stone, boggy peat, earth, bright, super lean.

Palate: Strawberry, raspberry, red currant, black currant, plum, peach, apricot, pear, lemon, melon, watermelon Jolly Rancher, floral, basil, green herbs, balanced acidity.

Finish: Lingering peach, nectarine, grapefruit, candied grapefruit rind, lemon, lime, hay, black pepper, minerality, wet stone, good acidity, crisp, very clean, soft, smooth.


Silver Medal
Silver medal



Casillero del Diablo Rosé Reserva



The.Grenachista Grenache Rosé 2019
(CR Graybehl Wine Co., Sonoma Valley) $25

Made from Grenache grapes picked at night that were whole cluster pressed into a stainless steel tank, this wine was fermented slowly with either native or Rhône yeast, then allowed to settle for three months after which it was filtered and bottled.

Aroma: Strawberry, strawberry fields, raspberry bushes, fruity red plum, cherry, black currants, rhubarb, apricot, pear, grapefruit, lemon peel, citrus, cucumber.

Palate: Strawberry, raspberry pie, black currants, apricot, fresh cut melon, watermelon, lemon, bell pepper, white pepper, earth, lightly sweet, interesting.

Finish: Black currants, white peach, melon, citrus, hay, pepper, great acidity, tart, clean, soft, pleasant.


Silver Medal
Silver medal



The.Grenachista Grenache Rosé



Bryn Mawr Vineyards Rosé of Pinot Noir 2019
(Willamette Valley, Oregon) $25

This wine was made from hand-picked grapes (100% Pinot Noir) that were destemmed and allowed four days of skin contact prior to pressing, followed by barrel fermentation and aging on its lees (wasted yeast) in French oak barrels.

Aroma: Cherry, sour tart cherry, ripe black currant, plums, raspberry candy, watermelon, roses, herbaceous, mineral, woody, intense marshmallow, toffee, butter, cream.

Palate: Cherry, sour cherry, strawberry, pomegranate, black currants, grapefruit, intense watermelon, honeysuckle, hops, tannins, foxy, toffee, cream, rich.

Finish: Cherry, sweet berry, white grapefruit, lemon, citrus peels, interesting tannins, creamy, a summer wine.


Silver Medal
Silver medal



Bryn Mawr Vineyards Rosé of Pinot Noir



BRONZE MEDAL WINNERS

Chacewater Organic Rosé Sierra Foothills 2019
(Lake County, CA) $20

This wine was made from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon grapes grown in deep, well-drained soil. Following fermentation, the wine was aged for 5 months in stainless steel prior to bottling.

Nose: Strawberry, red plum, cherry ice, cotton candy, apricot, melon, pear, apple, grapefruit, citrus, white pepper.
Palate: Strawberry, wild strawberry, black currant, sour cherry, jammy, cotton candy, lemon, white flowers, eucalyptus, clove, allspice, mineral.
Finish: Ripe strawberry, cherry, cranberry, peach, apple, lemon, clove, tannins, earth, wood, silky.


Bronze Medal
Bronze medal



Chacewater Organic Rosé Sierra Foothills



Chacewater Organic Rosé Sierra Foothills 2018
(Lake County, CA) $20

Made from 100% organically-grown Syrah, this wine was aged for 5 months in stainless steel following fermentation.

Aroma: Wild strawberry, strawberry cream, blackberry, cherry, sour cherry, watermelon, blood orange, lemon peel, citrus, clove, floral, basil, licorice.

Palate: Strawberry, cherry, plum, red plum, black currant, peach, honeysuckle, grass, white pepper, extreme minerality, wet stone, tannins, burnt wood.

Finish: Raspberry, black currant, honeydew melon, citrus, hints of white grapefruit, pepper, tannins, dry sherry.

Bronze Medal
Bronze medal



Chacewater Organic Rosé Sierra Foothills

 

 


 

Looking Through Rosé Colored Wine Glasses.

What used to be considered a revoltingly sweet, supermarket wine, rosé has made a serious name for itself in the US. Sales of rosé in the U.S. has rocketed since 2014, proving that the perception of rosé as a low-quality wine is a thing of the past. No longer a fad, rosé can now be considered a long-term trend, as consumers are choosing to drink rosé wines all year round. And despite the pandemic, rosé sales continue to grow, just not as fast as the wine trade expected. Taking a toll on rosé this summer include the 25% tariffs on wines from Europe, a rosé glut and the increased competition with canned cocktails and hard seltzer.

There are two main techniques for making rosé wines. The first is the Maceration technique, where red-skinned grapes are essentially produced like white wine. The grapes are crushed and the juice and skins are macerated (that is, kept in contact with each other) for a period long enough to extract the desired amount of color. The juice is then separated from the skins, and fermented like white wine, usually in stainless steel tanks. The second is the Saignée technique, where a portion of the pink juice is run off from the just-crushed red grapes after a short partial fermentation maceration to extract color and aroma (usually 12 to 24 hours). The juice is then separated from the skins, & fermented in tanks.

Why have attitudes changed towards proving that the perception of rosé as a low-quality wine is a thing of the past? According to experts, the primary reason is that there’s been a significant improvement in the quality of rosé. In the past, most winemakers set out to make red wine and then later decided to turn a portion of the juice into rosé. While this is still done by some, many winemakers are now choosing to make rosé from the outset and are specifically focusing their viniculture efforts on producing rosé rather than simply using it as an outlet for unused juice. So, the quality of the wine has naturally improved. Affordability is another reason rosé has seen a boost in popularity, since most rosés are priced at $15 or less, which makes them appealing to a broad consumer base.

Another reason for rose's growth in popularity can be attributed to its easy pairing with a variety of foods. Structurally, rosé’s bracing acidity, lack of oak aging, and moderate alcohol are all very food-friendly traits. Acidity mirrors the tangy and pungent ingredients of spring and summer, while also highlighting their fresh flavors. Moderate alcoholic strength means that it won’t exacerbate spice or salt, and won’t overpower food. Rosé offers the best-of-both-worlds — it has white wine structure and red wine flavors, so it can be as light or intense as necessary depending on the food it’s being paired with.

Fashions come and fashions go, but good wine remains, whatever color it is. With other wines, we tend to differentiate by grape, style and place of origin. For example, it’s not enough to know a wine is a riesling or something else. Is it sweet, dry, fruity? Is it balanced, tannic, acidic? But with rosé we let it go at pink, because for many people, it’s not the wine they are consuming but the idea. No longer just a fad, rosé wines can now be considered a long-term trend as the variety expands and drinkers opt for rosé outside the traditional summer months.

 

 

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