The 12 best rosé wines of 2015

While supplies last

Photograph by Evan Mah

If, by this point, you haven’t given in to the pink bottles amassing at the front of your local wine store, there’s still time. Rosé, at least for me, is one of summer’s great gifts, on par with tomatoes, peaches, and a new season of “Orange is the New Black.” Those who mistake rosé for blush wine or, God forbid, pink zinfandel should know that the beautiful bottles you see today are mostly dry (not sweet). The best examples, often from Provence, where the style originated, are refreshing like a pitcher of lemonade and crisp like the snap of an apple.

Most bottles hover in the $12 to $18 swimming-pool-slosher range, but while gathering wines for a recent tasting, I found a considerable number of high-end bottles, costing $25 up to even $80. That’s a tough price to swing for the average consumer who knows rosé as an inexpensive summer cooler. The investment, though, did on occasion prove worth it—yielding more thoughtful and complex styles. But for those just looking to uncork a bottle in the park and throw a Frisbee, I’ve got plenty for you, too. My favorites in ascending order.

#12
2014 Houchart Sainte Victoire
Provence, France

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A satisfying party wine with notes of raspberry and dark cherry and a quick (but smooth) finish. Buy by the case. Drink with abandon. Available at Cellar 13, $16.99

#11
2014 Domaine de la Noblaie
Chinon, France

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Cabernet Franc is the base of this easy-drinking rosé that tastes of green apples and red Jolly Ranchers. Available at Perrine’s Wine Shop, $16.99

#10
2014 Red Car
Sonoma, California

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Pinot Noir can be tricky to grow, but this California pour has all the delicacy and nuance of something out of Provence. Layered with refreshing notes of honey and jasmine flowers. Available at Perrine’s Wine Shop, $24.99

#9
2014 Le Morette Bardolino
Veneto, Italy

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Italy is not a hotbed of praise-worthy rosé wines, but this sturdy Bardolino is right on point. A blend of Corvina, Rondinella, and Molinara (the three varietals used in powerhouse Amarone), the wine is darker and heavier than most of the feather-light bottles on this list but still manages to grasp all of the fruits you want: strawberries, watermelon, blackberries, blueberries. Available at Perrine’s Wine Shop, $17.99

#8
2014 Commanderie de la Bargemone
Provence, France

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A quintessential, balance-perfect Provencal rosé that’s bright and fresh from start to finish. Are those faint notes of peaches and honey? Ponder while you hit the pool.  Available at Perrine’s Wine Shop, $17.99

#7
2014 Cep
Russian River, California

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Rejected grapes from Peay Vineyards go into this intensely structured and tart rosé from Russian River. You’ll want food, maybe a side salad or a pan-seared fish. Available at Perrine’s Wine Shop, $28

#6
2014 Liquid Farm
Santa Barbara, California

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You don’t see too many wines made entirely of Mourvedre, a black-skinned varietal that thrives in the Rhone Valley and is known for its meaty, herbaceous overtones. I imagine you see even fewer rosé wines made from it. Tannins, oak, and popcorn course through this juicy, savory pour from Santa Barbara. A pork tenderloin would pair nicely. Available at Cakes & Ale’s Café & Wine Shop, $28

#5
2014 Nortico Rosé
Minho, Portugal

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Ameztoi is the most popular Spanish rosé on the market, but I’m not sold on the 2014 vintage, which boasts unusually green notes of bell peppers and jalapeños (unlike last year which was more strawberry and watermelon). I’d rather drink this Vinho Verde that’s overflowing with raspberries, a touch fizzy in the glass, and seriously underpriced. Available at Perrine’s Wine Shop, $14.99

#4
2013 Régis Bouvier Marsannay Rosé
Marsannay, France

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Fans of Pinot Noir will be thrilled with this effort out of Marsannay in Burgundy just south of Dijon. Ripe cherry notes, honeysuckle, and a hint of flint go a long way on their own—but just as well with salmon. Available at pH Wine Merchant, $16.99

#3
2014 Banshee Rosé of Pinot Noir
Sonoma, California

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This is Banshee’s third year making rosé and one that I found myself going back to over and over again. The refreshing, thirst-quenching qualities are big with notes of honey and maybe a few tangerines. Available at Perrine’s Wine Shop, $19.99

#2
2013 von Buhl Suez Spätburgunder Rosé
Pfalz, Germany

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Did you think Germany was only good for Riesling? Pfalz, the second largest of Germany’s wine regions, is fast becoming known for its Spätburgunder (German for Pinot Noir), and it’s remarkable how laser-focused and sunny this rosé is, which you might mistake for an expressive red. Available at Perrine’s Wine Shop, Cakes & Ale’s Café & Wine Shop, $49

#1
2014 Chateau Puech-Haut, Tete de Belier
Languedoc, France

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This exhilarating, single-vineyard rosé from the south of France takes me right to my kitchen sink, where I’m taking my first bite of a Pearson peach. It’s juicy and perfect with a finish that keeps going and going and going. Available at pH Wine Merchant, $39.99

A word to the wise: availability can be very limited so call ahead and reserve what you can. Pay over the phone, if you have to. Otherwise, I’m swooping in and grabbing the rest of the case for myself.

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