Spring is when wine lovers see fresh vintages of rosé hitting the shelves. There was a time in the not-too-distant past when pink wine was synonymous with the syrupy white zinfandel favored by Capri-smoking fun aunts and college students “slapping the bag” in crumbling Miffland basements. The few examples in the market of dry rosé were a niche product generally sold to knowledgeable enthusiasts, when they sold at all.
Those days are gone. Dry rosés are now the fashionable accompaniment to Instagrammable brunches and yes, there’s a hashtag — #roseallday. The best examples of these wines are complex, crisp and mouthwatering. This makes them refreshing and nimble when pairing with food, especially lighter dishes that highlight fresh produce.
Rosé has seen a huge growth in sales over the last decade, and the number of labels available to the wine consumer has risen too, with a predictably wide range in quality. Here are three that make reliably delicious pink wines, vintage after vintage, and their 2021 offerings are outstanding.
Duncan Arnot Meyers and Nathan Lee Roberts made waves in the early 2010s by being at the forefront of the “New California” movement, a loosely-organized group of young winemakers focused on making more balanced wines than the high-alcohol fruit bombs produced by their more famous Napa Valley counterparts. The Arnot-Roberts 2021 California Rosé ($24) has been one of the winery’s best-known offerings since it was introduced in 2010, and with good reason. This wine is made from mostly touriga nacional, and the 2021 vintage is particularly herbaceous, with the wisp of sagebrush on the nose underpinning the juicy watermelon notes on the palate.
Piedmontese winemaker Giorgio Rivetti made his first Tuscan wines in 2001, and first released a rosé from the Casanova vineyard southeast of Pisa in 2012. The La Spinetta 2021 Toscana Il Rosé di Casanova ($20) is a blend of sangiovese and prugnolo gentile, and the 2021 vintage is remarkable for its near Paloma-esque flavor profile, with juicy, peppery grapefruit on the palate and notes of crushed stones on the finish.
The term “spiritual home” is overused and can be unhelpful when it comes to describing wines, but if there’s a case for its use, dry rosé in the south of France is it. Provençal producer Clos Cibonne is most famous for its higher-end wines made from tibouren, a relatively obscure grape from the region, but their Cibonne Tentations 2021 Côtes de Provence Rosé ($18) should be on the short list of any fan of French rosé. This grenache-based blend is classic Provence, with tart strawberry notes in the mouth, subtle floral aromas, and a refreshing, mineral-driven finish. It would pair well with almost any food, and equally well with an ice bucket on a hot early summer afternoon.