Rose wine comes in all shapes and sizes — or, at least, many shades of pink — but regardless of that, you’re probably going to be drinking a lot of it as the temperature creeps up. Here’s a look at seven recent rose releases, from all over the place (but, well, mostly California).
NV J Vineyards Brut Rose Russian River Valley – The only sparkler in this bunch, it’s (currently) a blend of 66% pinot noir, 33% chardonnay, and 1% pinot meunier. The lively wine features aromas and flavors of fresh-toasted bread, strawberries and cream. The finish runs to perfumed florals and light notes of sandalwood. See also thoughts from 2011. A- / $35
NV Barefoot Rose California – “Delightfully sweet” it reads on the label, and sure enough this wine reeks of fresh strawberry juice, with a hint of basil on the back end. What lingers however is a powerful brown sugar/toasted marshmallow note that just hangs on the back of the throat, seemingly for days, and cheapens the whole affair beyond repair. Something for the white zinfandel fan in your neighborhood. D / $8
2016 Fleur de Mer Cotes de Provence – A somewhat vegetal take on rose, with overtones of rosemary and dried flowers, and more of a dried berry underpinning rather than a focus on fresh strawberry. Quite pastoral. B / $18
2016 Apothic Rose California – The nose is quite fruity, but the palate is a muddy mess of vegetable roots, sweet watermelon candy, and NutraSweet. Hard to drink more than a few sips of this, or find much that generates any level of interest. F / $8
2016 Dark Horse Rose California – A mega-budget rose of 40% grenache, 20% barbera, 20% pinot gris, and 20% tempranillo, this vintage is a surprising crowd-pleaser, particularly at this price. Fresh strawberry, a little green rosemary, and a better balance of sweetness and savoriness than 2015’s bottling give it surprising brightness with just a hint of Provence-style earthiness underneath. I wouldn’t feel bad serving this to a crowd. B+ / $9
2016 La Crema Pinot Noir Rose Monterey – A quite dry rose, floral with notes of lilac, apple, cherry, and even some carrot, which lends a vaguely vegetal note to the finish. The conclusion is quite drying, with hints of grass and some blonde wood notes. B / $20
2016 The Walls Cruel Summer Columbia Gorge – This Washington wine is one of the fruitiest of the bunch, with fresh strawberry and some orange marmalade, though it isn’t overtly sweet as some “fruity” roses can be. Light florals endure on the finish, adding complexity to what is nonetheless a surprisingly drinkable rose — and one of the best of the season. A- / $22