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Warmer weather has finally arrived and with it many of our favorite rosés, in a wide variety of styles, from the exhilarating, zesty Ameztoi to the deep, ripe and spicy Mas Jullien. All of them were naturally produced and have the bright acidity and mineral flavors that make great rosés so refreshing and food-friendly. Many of these wines are tiny productions and will sell-out soon so don't delay.
Ameztoi's Txakolinas are among the first to be requested this time of year. Rubentis combines old-vines Hondarribi Zuri and Hondarribi Beltza for a tart, tingly, and thirst-quenching rose that is an exhilarating aperitif or pairing for fresh fish and salads. Red currant, rhubarb, lime zest, and strawberry fruit are heightened by abundant minerality, a touch of spritz, and that transportative salty streak that makes us misty for San Sebastian. Ariana Rolich
Our friends at Hermanos Pecina made fewer than 5,000 bottles of this explosive, thirst-quenching Rioja Rosado - the first time since the year 2000! 100% Garnacha from a 2 hectare parcel of 25 year-old vines at 600 meters altitude, it is bursting with juicy, jubilant crushed wild berries, tangy pink grapefruit zest, and delicate rosey florals, with buoyant acidity and and salty, rocky minerality. A peppy aperitif, complex, and food friendly, Pecina will be my house rose this spring and summer! Ariana Rolich
An incredible value from the Catalonian coast, this bone dry, light and refreshing rose, from a certified organic estate, is perfect for your next party and long, lazy days at the beach. Notes of crushed stone and wild flowers on the nose lead to a tangy, mineral driven palate of citrus and sea spray. A natural accompaniment for grilled shrimp or octopus. Sydney Snyder
A series of volcanic eruptions starting in 1730 covered Lanzarote (the oldest, easternmost Canary Island) with thick layers of lava and ash, giving rise to the island's unique form of viticulture. In order to contend with the relentless trade winds that sweep the island and enable roots to access the nutrients beneath the meters of crunchy black organically inert ashy topsoil, vines are planted at the bottom of volcanic fissures and "hoyos" - craters rimmed by stone walls, usually with just one vine at the bottom of each. Bermejos' visionary winemaker, Ignacio Valdera, makes this rosado from low-yielding Listan Negro grown organically or sustainably. This is always a fascinating wine, typically a bit introverted upon arrival (a late release every year), after which it opens gradually, revealing layers of fruit and supple, savory mineral and earth tones. The 2014 vintage arrived last summer a delightful extrovert, and has evolved beautifully over the year. Mouth-watering aromas of wild strawberry, raspberry, crisp golden beet, and delicate tropical notes emanate from the glass, with juicy, energizing flavors of wild cherry and blood oranges, tangy cranberry, crisp watermelon and a splash of the salty sea. A winning accompaniment to seafood (squid, sashimi, clams) as well as gazpacho, deviled eggs with paprika, charcuterie, and rustic, nutty cheeses. Ariana Rolich
Deeply saturated in color and formidably structured, this rosé from a small, certified organic estate in the Dão region of Portugal, opens with intense notes of ripe cherry, eucalyptus, orange zest and foliage. A contrasting, almost fragile undercurrent, like roses drenched in seawater, pulses beneath the surface, lending delicacy and gentleness to this exotic and intriguing wine. Pair with a mildly spiced prawn curry, razor clams and chorizo, and buckets and buckets of sunshine! Sydney Snyder
Last call on 2015 Bone Jolly Rosé! Steve Edmunds has a way with Gamay, confirmed each year by the energy and depth of his red and rosé Bone Jolly wines. Recent vintages of the rosé have been made entirely of Gamay from Witters vineyard in El Dorado County; due to reduced yields, the 2015 vintage incorporated grapes from the granitic soils of Barsotti vineyard, lending a firm, mineral build to the wine. The 2015 is light-bodied and fresh, taut and bright, with tingly acidity, tart cranberry, juicy sour cherry and citrus, and salty mineral earth. We look forward to every new vintage from Edmunds St. John. Let the adventure continue! Ariana Rolich
This fresh, yet serious patio-sipping rosé is a blend of Mourvedre, Grenache, and Carignan. The Mourvedre comes from old plantings at Bedrock Vineyard and Pagani Ranch in Sonoma Valley; the Grenache was planted in the 1880’s at Gibson Ranch in McDowell Valley; the Carignane planted in the 1950’s in Ukiah. On the nose, there are notes of summer strawberries and red cherries; after some time, the rosé considerably opens up on the palate, with flavors of blood orange, dried cranberries, red grapefruit, and dried sage and thyme. Jonas Mendoza
Always among the very first of the new vintage to arrive, Matthiasson's rose is our favorite harbinger of spring! 36% Syrah from a one acre vineyard in Napa is blended with 31% Grenache, 29% Mourvedre, and 4% Counoise from Dunnigan Hills AVA (Yolo County) Fresh and light at 11.6% but popping with flavors of tart red currants, spicy orange rind and musky, tropical papaya. This rose never lasts, so stock up now for the summer months! Ariana Rolich
We're such fanatics for Dragonette's red Grenache that it seemed prudent to request a bit of their luscious rose! 70% Grenache and 27% Mourvedre from Vogelzang vineyard, hand harvested specifically for the rose, plus a 3% splash of Syrah from Stolpman and John Sebastiano vineyards, whole cluster pressed to neutral French barrels for 5 months. The result is juicy and exhilarating, with watermelon, tart Rainier cherries, and blood orange on the nose and flavors of wild strawberry, ripe musky peaches, tart cranberry, spicy citrus, and a hint of salt and stone. A real treat with fish tacos, pork and poultry (including duck) and the cornucopia of veggies returning to the farmers' markets right now. Ariana Rolich
Pale, peachy-pink verging on onion-skin in the glass, the nose hints at a stony minerality along with candied cherries. This blend of Zweigelt and St. Laurent is juicy and crisp with scintillating acidity and flavors of fresh green and red strawberries, white stone, and lemon juice. Pop this before, during, and after everything you are doing! Cari Bernard
Pinot Noir grown on the limestone hills of Chavignol. Lovely very pale pink color, pretty aromas of red raspberry, tart strawberry, citrus and melon with a bit of extra ripeness in 2015. The palate is very crisp and fresh with candied red fruits, citrus and stony acids that continue in the juicy and very mineral finish. This is one of the raciest rosés you can find, very elegant and refreshing - serve quite cool on a hot day with anything grilled, or just sip and enjoy....
One of the lightest and most elegant of French rosés, showing very pale pink color, aromas of wild strawberry, with hints of white fruits and citrus. Slightly fuller than usual in the 2015 vintage but remains extremely crisp and dry. Limited availability so don't delay...
Made with the Pinot Noir grape grown on limestone soils in and around Bué. It's high-toned, chiseled, mineral, and chalky like the more familiar Sancerre blanc though it shows subtle, delicate, red-fruit tones. The Morin 2015 is a bit softer than the 2014 with subtle aromas of cherry, strawberry, citrus and stone that open with aeration. Newly arrived it's showing mostly nervy and mineral right now, this should be come more compelling as the aromatic and structural elements integrate. This will be lovely with lighter fare, such as salads, marinated goat cheese, seafood, not to mention make a beautiful aperitif by the pool or the beach.
A very soft, pretty and fresh rosé from certified biodynamic producer Philippe Gilbert. Menetou-Salon has the classic clay and limestone soils of the Loire Valley, and produces beautiful Pinots that rival and sometimes surpass those of its neighbor, Sancerre. High-toned minerality combined with the ripe, rosy-red fruit notes of the warm 2015 vintage makes this 100% Pinot Noir rosé a sheer ease and pleasure to drink. Karina Mackow
A lovely rose of Pinot Noir from Martin Bart in Marsannay, the 2015 shows a bit more weight than usual in this excellent vintage for Burgundy. Pale pink color. Pretty hints of strawberry lead to a refreshing palate of berry, citrus and red-currant fruit with good acidity. This is a lovely wine that will be very versatile at the table and refreshingly delicious by itself all summer long (and fall and winter, too) and it's a great value!
The 2015 Aphillanthes Rose is a blend of Grenache with Cinsault, Mourevedre and Counoise. Wild yeast fermentation, horse-plowed, and hand-harvested! This vivacious rose is full of character with lovely cherry, raspberry and floral aromas, and a refreshing, balanced palate with ripe berry fruits, citrus, floral and stone flavors. Biodynamic and deliciously inexpensive, it's well worth trying!
Mas Cal Demoura is one of the finest estates in the Languedoc, created by Jean-Pierre Jullien in the 1970s, now owned by Isabelle and Vincent Goumard. The rose Qu'es Aquo is primarily Grenache and Cinsault grown on pebbly limestone and clay soils in the Terasse de Larsac. Certified organic, hand harvested, very low yields. Aromas of ripe raspberry, red currant and white fruits with spice and citrus. Deep pure red fruits on the palate, quite pretty and long, with juicy red fruits in the crisp finish. Really pretty - serve with Salade Nicoise, grilled chicken or just sip by itself.
Vineyard and cellar work are meticulous at Mas Jullien and the wines show incredible character. They reflect the wildness of the region and more than display Jullien's talent as a shepherd of the vine. This wine offers notes of strawberry smashed in earth, complex aromas of orange rind and fennel seed. The palate is creamy and silken textured without the alcoholic heat often found in rosés from the Languedoc. The fruit is deep and ripe, with a spiciness that will marry well with any grilled meats. Fabulous with seared tuna. A serious wine for elegant summer dining.
Made from Grolleau vines planted in 1954! This wine shows the serious side of Grolleau, a grape that is a darling of the natural wine world and oftentimes goes into relatively simple, easy-drinking cuvées, both red and rosé. This is not to say that this wine doesn’t go down easy, but speaks more about the fact that it is incredibly structured with terrific length and depth. Lip-smacking berry fruits and cool watermelon aromas are backed by a delicate spice reminiscent of white pepper, clove, and hibiscus. On the palate it is firm with an enlivening acidity, and a seemingly never-ending finish. I would put this on the short list for a year-round rosé! Tim Gagnon
Quentin Bourse took over a friend’s estate in Azay-le-Rideau after working with many producers in the Loire Valley (notably Domaine Huet in Vouvray) just in time for the 2013 vintage. The estate was already certified biodynamic which is quite rare in Azay, and covers 12 hectares on clay over silica. This rosé made from Grolleau is pure glou glou! Although more structured than the 2014 vintage, it is light, fresh, and mineral-driven with tart cranberries, red raspberry, a touch of citrus, and a zippy acidity that carries through onto the finish leaving you wanting more. Thankfully this is a full 1L bottle, so there is more to be had! Tim Gagnon
(The 2014 Guion rosé is back, the last 5 cases direct from Bourgueil!) 2014 shows plenty of minerality, with stone fruit, a hint of spring strawberries (think more tart, less fruity), tangerine, and spice. This is a very complex dry rosé, showing earthy red fruits and stone flavors that are still developing in its second year. Really tastes of the limestone terroir and the Guion's 50 years of organic farming, with a long finish and ample acidity and freshness. Thanks to Stéphane for another great vintage, and for finally putting his rosé in a clear bottle!
Another delicious wine from the affable and talented Eric Laguerre, from organic Syrah and Carignan grown on granite soils high in the mountains of the Roussillon. Lovely deep pink/red color, aromas of raspberry, red currant, brown spice and orange blossom. Beautiful bright red fruits on the palate with citrusy acids and good length, really delicious! A complex, medium-bodied rosé that will be perfect with a Salade Niçoise, grilled fish, chicken and pork and great to sip by itself. Highly recommended and a sensational value!(And drinking beautifully in April, 2016!)
One of our favorite Italian winemakers is actually American. Michael Schmelzer moved to Italy in 2003 with his family and purchased 10 hectares of organic vineyards in the "belly button of Chianti Classico" at Monte Bernardi. Since that time he has branched out and started making wines from Sicilian grapes as well. This spring he introduced his Tetra Pak Rosato which is made from 100% Nero d'Avola grapes. Don't let the vibrant pink carton fool you. It's more subtle on the inside - fresh and energetic with great acidity and a slight grip. Raspberry, strawberry, and fresh watermelon fruit make this the perfect beach or picnic wine. An added bonus is that Tetra Pak cartons use 54% less energy, create 80% less greenhouse gasses, and produce 60% less solid waste volume than a 750ml glass wine bottle. So you can celebrate summer and save the environment. Christine Manula
One of our favorite Italian winemakers is actually American. Michael Schmelzer moved to Italy in 2003 with his family and purchased 10 hectares of organic vineyards in the "belly button of Chianti Classico" at Monte Bernardi. His 2014 Rosato is from a blend of ‘traditional’ Chianti Classico grapes (90% Sangiovese and Canaiolo Nero, plus 10% Malvasia and Trebbiano) that are hand selected from the cooler areas of their vineyards. The wine spends 8-10 months in oak and then another 6 months aging in bottle. This is a rosato for red wine lovers, full of ripe cherries and strawberries, with easy tannins and good acidity. I know summer isn't here yet, but this might be my favorite rosato of the year! Christine Manula
The 2014 Cataldo Calabretta Rosato is an unusual rosato that definitely side steps the mold of simple aperitif wine. This wine, rather than being dominated by fruit, shows elusive umami notes on the nose; spiced brine, anise, and miso with blood orange and tart cranberry following. The palate, while still savory, shows more citrus and stone fruit like pithy orange and white peaches. With more tannin than most roses and bright acidity this wine demands food; grilled mackerel or sardines, briny olives, hard cheese, or a caesar salad (with anchovies!). Andy Paynter
High atop the Murge Plateau in Puglia, Cantine Carpentiere is a small family-owned winery that produces two indigenous Puglian grape varieties: Nero di Troia and Bombino Nero. Made from 70-year-old Bombino Nero vines, this is the only rosato in Southern Italy that has DOCG status. At 450 meters above sea level, the vineyards are rich in limestone and surrounded by stone walls originally built to protect local flocks of sheep. Tannins from the maceration process make this a great food wine, but it retains its freshness and acidity from the 5-6% of white grapes that are naturally included in each cluster of Bombino Nero. Ripe watermelon and wild strawberries with hints of pepper, try pairing it with a salmon salad, orecchiette with broccoli rabe or even a juicy burger. Christine Manula