Rosé. It’s one of the most “in” wines to drink these days and you may be wondering what exactly makes today’s blush wine the best it’s ever been. Don’t worry, rosé is not one of those trends where it’s only popular because it’s Instagram-worthy. It definitely is photogenic, but it tastes amazing, too!
Being an L.A. transplant, I’ve especially noticed how huge the market is compared to Northern California. I wandered into a wine shop in Studio City last week and was shocked to see that the rows of rosé made up nearly half of the store. Relocating to the valley, which feels so much drier, I totally get the demand for a chilled glass of rosé. When the weather is teetering between 95-100 degrees, the last thing I want to quench my thirst is a glass of room temperature red. Sure, you can reach for bottled water, but where’s the fun in that, right?
Even though it’s become a favorite nationwide, this Elle Woods of wine has put up with a lot of naysayers over the years (“I object!”). At first glance, its pink tint and corset-shaped bottle scream ultra-feminine. As in, your boyfriend wouldn’t be caught sipping on this baby-pink wine at a party…or would he? Men are changing rosé’s girly perception to what they call “#yeswaybrosé,” trading their craft beers in for the pink stuff. The Charles Smith winery in Washington even has a slogan to encourage men to give rosé a try: “Yes, you can drink rosé and still be a badass.” What was once considered a saccharine, supermarket wine for “basic white girls,” and perhaps your grandma, is now making a serious name for itself. Rosé has quickly climbed to the tops of the most expensive wine lists in the U.S., taken over the grocery store wine aisles, and has become synonymous with the season of summer and a lifestyle of luxury.
In short, rosé’s history began with white zinfandel, which is often dubbed the “embarrassing cousin” of rosé. The sugar content of this wine can be outrageous! Thankfully, dry rosé came along to knock White Zin’s sweet little butt out of the way. Rosé hit its stride in the 2000s when Europe brought the blush wine to the Hamptons and it soon became hailed as the “Gatorade of the Hamptons.” From there, rosé painted the grocery store shelves pink. Finally, Instagram. Founded by Erica Blumenthal and Nikki Huganir, the Yes Way Rosé brand has skyrocketed rosé sales and embodies that lifestyle first popularized by the Hamptonites. Their collaboration with Winc – a rosé called “Summer Water” – sold out quickly, and from what I can tell from the many wine-based Instagram accounts I follow, it was to-die-for. I recently saw it’s also become the official wine sponsor of the Hollywood Bowl. A concert at an outdoor stadium plus rosé? Count me in!
So what makes today’s rosé a wine worth all the buzz?
Reason one: It ditched its sweet beginnings. I have a major sweet tooth, but trust me when I say this is one time you don’t want your wine super-sweet. Rosé is meant to be refreshing and clean. Instead of adding extra sugar to bury the wine’s mineral or fruity flavors and aromas, today’s blush wine is fresh and acidic; the “dry” in dry rosé basically translates to less sweet and that’s exactly what you want.
Reason two: The price. Because of the luxurious lifestyle rosé conveys, people think it’s expensive, but the majority of rosé on the market right now meets a reasonable $20 price marker and the quality is not sacrificed by any means.
Reason three: The quality. Prior to the trend, winemakers generally set out to make red wine, deciding to make rosé with the leftover juice as a secondary impulse rather than a priority. Now, winemakers have begun making rosé with intention, the resulting bottles being much more sophisticated than their predecessors.
Now, off to the market to stock up before summer ends! To my fellow Southern Californians, cheers to being able to sip rosé all year long!
Here are my current four favorite rosés that vary in price, color, and flavor:
Gérard Betrand Coté des Roses Rosé ($16)
Arguably some of the best rosés come from Provence, the far southeastern corner of France along the Mediterranean. When I visited Provence years ago, I was enamored with the fragrant lavender fields, hillside villages, and amazing country cuisine. If I was of age, I also would have spent the hot summer afternoons sipping glasses upon glasses of chilled rosé by the pool. Gérard Bertrand Coté des Roses Rosé offers such a fresh impression with notes of citrus and rose, and to my taste buds’ excitement, a candy-like finish that’s not sickeningly sweet. I found this to be the most beautiful bottle with its pale pink juice contained inside a glass stopper and rose carved base. This rosé is everything a rosé should be – elegant, light, crisp, sophisticated. If you happen to have a Costco membership, you can snag this beauty for just under $12!
Whispering Angel Rosé ($18)
Whispering Angel looks and tastes exactly how it sounds: heavenly. There are so many gorgeous layers to this crisp, cotton candy-colored rosé – apricot, peach, berry, and citrus to finish. And how’s this for a selling point? The label says, “If you drink this wine, you might hear them.” Precious, right? This is a very popular rosé right now. In fact, Sugarfina has infused gummy bears and roses with this wine. YUM! I would definitely serve this at a dinner party or give to a friend as a gift; it’s definitely a crowd-pleaser because it’s such an easy drinking rosé.
Sofia Rosé ($14)
Francis Ford Coppola’s Sofia is one of the most popular grocery store rosés (it even comes in cans!). I love visiting Coppola’s Geyserville winery but I’m only able to a few times a year when I’m visiting family up north. Fortunately, his wines frequent the Southern California shelves so I’m able to get my Coppola fix. This rosé is reminiscent of a French rosé; there’s delicateness while at the same time giving you those familiar, fruity flavors of berry and stone fruit, and crispness with the introduction of citrus. I love the bouquet more than anything; unexpected wafts of lavender greet your nose and instantly transport me back to the summer I spent in the south of France.
Le Grand Noir Rosé ($11)
Le Grand Noir rosé has a great fruit-forward flavor. It’s one of the less subtle rosés of the bunch, bringing tartness through cherry and citrus flavoring. I’m also a sucker for wine label storytelling; the black sheep on the label was inspired by the breakaway Catholic sect in 13th century France and also embodies the winery’s unconventional style. And how exactly is Le Grand Noir unconventional? Before this label, almost nobody in the region blended the varietals that they do; in this wine’s case, Chardonnay and Viognier. It’s a perfect picnic wine at a great price!