THE POUR JUNE 22, 2017
If for no other reason than popular demand, summer is rosé season.
These wines, once pitilessly disparaged as dull and anemic, have been hotter than July for a decade, a climactic shift that shows no signs of letting up. In the past few months, three books on rosé have been published, which possibly doubles the number of volumes on rosé in all of time.
As if to cement rosé’s evolution from trend to institution, Vogue now suggests the wine has oversaturated the summer market and is a fashionable bubble ready to burst.
I will skip the debate over pink wine’s cultural meaning. Speaking strictly from a wine point of view, when rosé crossed over to become a symbol of pleasurable summer living, it was time to beware.
The wine industry sought to capitalize on rosé’s popularity by making more of it. A lot more of it. Much of it is pretty dreadful, sped along the assembly line to be ready by late spring, yet short-lived enough to be dead by the end of summer. Ephemeral, but such pretty colors.
Nonetheless, for those who care, good rosés, made conscientiously, are out there. The best — the sort of rosés that can age and evolve like any other good wine — have risen in price. But for roughly $15 to $20, the sweet spot for good value in wine, you can find remarkable rosés from many corners of the wine-producing world.
These 20 rosés, all under $20 a bottle, are far from the insipid rosés that clothe a little fruit and sweetness in chic pink. My picks show the savory side of rosé. Indeed, some of these rosés taste almost salty — fresh, saline sprays of summer that are nonetheless as refreshing as they are delicious.
While it pays to be serious about finding good rosé, it is also important not to be too serious when drinking it. Serve it cold, but not icy — though if you do, it will warm up soon enough in the summer heat. Good glasses are pleasant though not essential; tumblers are fine, too.
Drink it with lunch. Drink it with dinner. Or drink it just for fun, inside or outdoors. Drink it on a rooftop or a deck, at the beach or by the pool. Or, if you are like me and cherish summers in Manhattan when so many people leave town, enjoy it while listening to the blissful silence of empty streets.
CHÂTEAU PEYRASSOL CÔTES DE PROVENCE ROSÉ COMMANDERIE DE PEYRASSOL 2016 $19.99
This is the archetypal Provençal rosé: pale pink and made from a typical blend of grapes, usually cinsault, grenache and syrah. With the aromas of fresh fruit and warm stones, the wine has presence and depth, and still goes down easy. (Rosenthal Wine Merchant, New York)