As dry pink wines finally have gained popularity in this country, I have received so many samples that I needed two columns to cover them all. My first column reviewed American Rosés; this column covers the rest of the world.
France clearly is the leader with a dizzying array from all over the country, including Alsace, Loire, Champagne and Bordeaux but most notably the Mediterranean south - Rhône Valley, Provence and Languedoc-Roussillon.
Rosés from Côtes de Provence dominated my recent tastings. Characterized by an extremely light salmon color, they are made predominantly using grenache with additions of syrah and cinsault and sometimes a touch of mourvedre or carignan. I noticed a characteristic flavor profile of delicate red berries and occasionally watermelon and citrus, juicy freshness and a hint of creaminess.
- 2015 Château D'Esclans "Rock Angel" ($35), a historic estate now owned by a Bordeaux native
- 2016 M de Minuty ($19), an 18th century estate using sustainable methods
- 2015 Domaine de la Sangliere ($19), an estate whose production is 80 percent rosé
- 2015 Domaine Sainte Marie "Vie Vite" ($18) a 17th century estate with 80-year-old vines
- 2015 Hecht & Bannier ($18), a boutique negociant based in Aix-en-Provence
- 2016 Fleur de Mel ($18), a 50-year-old cooperative near Saint Tropez
Rhône Valley Rosés, similarly based primarily on grenache, syrah and cinsault, tend to be richer in color, offering more intensity and robust character. The 2016 E. Guigal Cotes du Rhone ($15), from a top Rhône producer, and 2016 Chateau de Campuget Costieres de Nimes "Tradition" ($10), from a property that dates back to 1640, are fine choices.
From Roussillon, another Rhône Valley powerhouse - Michel Chapoutier - produced the 2016 Les Vignes de Bila-Haut ($15), which is fresh and citrusy.
Finally, you can't beat bubbly in the hot weather, and the nonvintage Pierre Sparr Cremant D'Alsace Brut Rose ($20), a 100 percent Pinot Noir made using the Champagne method, is a refreshing choice.
Keeping with the Mediterranean theme, Italians, Spanish and Portuguese also love rosé. In Italy, as in France, many regions have their own style. One of my favorites comes from Puglia in the heel of the boot. From a cooperative established in 1962, the 100 percent primitivo grape 2016 Cantine San Marzano "Tramari" ($17) is a ripe, juicy drink.
Another favorite is Cerasuolo d'Abruzzo, a more structured rosé made with montepulciano, the main grape of Abruzzo. The 2015 Villa Gemma ($15) is a must try example. And from Tuscany, the famous Frescobaldi family produced the delightful 2015 Tenuta dell' Ammiraglia "Alie" ($18) using syrah and vermentino (not the local sangiovese).
Spain wasn't represented in my tastings, but there was a super value from Portugal. The 2015 Esporao Alandra ($8), primarily aragonez (the Portuguese version of tempranillo) is amazingly concentrated, fresh and spicy for its price.
Finally, our planet's southern hemisphere also was represented:
- New Zealand, which produces delicate Pinot Noir Rosés such as the 2016 Wither Hills Marlborough ($14)
- South Africa, with the 2016 Mulderbosch Rosé of Cabernet Sauvignon ($13)
- Chile, with the 2016 Casillero del Diablo Rosé ($11), syrah, cinsault and carmenere