Over the past few years, rosé has made a resurgence of sorts, becoming the warm-weather drink of choice for It girls and oenophiles alike. However, despite its current trendy status, this pink wine has been enjoyed for centuries—literally. “The first wines in history were actually rosé,” explains sommelier Victoria James. “The roots of pink wine go back a lot further than people think, and extraordinary examples are being made today by exceptional winemakers all over the world. Just like red and white, rosé has its place on the table and is beloved by sommeliers. It’s one of the most versatile wines and pairs well with a broad range of foods—from artichokes to asparagus to anchovies!” As someone who literally wrote the book on rosé, Drink Pink, Victoria is the source for all things on the subject.
She goes on to share just how varied the rosy wine sector can be. “From a dark and inky Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo from Italy to an effervescent and light pink Bugey-Cerdon from France, there’s something for everyone,” says Victoria. “Some rosés are closer to white wines while others could almost be mistaken for red wine.”
And just like any wine or liquor, this one is not without its below-par players. “If something sounds gimmicky, it probably isn’t worth drinking,” says Victoria (read more about why here). If you haven’t jumped on the rosé bandwagon yet, you probably just haven’t tried the right one. And now that we’ve sufficiently made our case for this lovely pink drink, is it safe to assume that you’re ready to enjoy a glass (or three)? Read on for Victoria’s suggestions, and uncork one of these sommelier-approved bottles that can be found for $20 and under.
Château Trinquevedel, Tavel, Vallée du Rhône, France
"The original 'brosé' and a favorite of Ernest Hemingway, Tavel is the only AOC (protected appellation) in France exclusively for rosé wine. Trinquevedel rosé is absolutely scrumptious, like gobbling down a bowl of strawberries." (Chateau De Trinquevedel Tavel Rose 2016, $17)
Château de Lascaux, Coteaux de Languedoc, France
"These vineyards have been in the family for over 13 generations. The small property gets its name from a limestone, 'Lascaux,' specific to the site. In this zippy rosé you can almost taste the limestone with such bright, refreshing acidity! The grapes are surrounded by garrigue (wild herbs), which is reflected in the aromatics of laurel, thyme, rosemary and mint." (Chateau De Lascaux Coteaux Du Languedoc Rose 2016, $16)
Domaine Dupeuble Beaujolais, France
"This crunchy rosé comes from an estate rooted in tradition. The Domaine Dupeuble has been running almost continuously since 1512. By now, they certainly have a grip on how to make super tasty wine. Strong advocates of the lutte raisonnée approach to vineyard work, they tend their vines without the use of any chemicals or synthetic fertilizers. Their rosé is one of the best values today, and is widely regarded for its very high quality and eminently reasonable price." (Domaine Dupeuble Pere et Fils Beaujolais Rose 2016, $15)
Domaine du Salvard, Cheverny, Loire Valley, France
"This whimsical rosé from the tiny area known as Cheverny has been made by the Delaille family for five generations. With the capable team of brothers Emmanuel and Thierry Delaille now farming the vineyards and crafting the wine, they have carried on the traditions established by their ancestors, producing a true, simple and elegant rosé."(Domaine du Salvard Rose 2014, $14)
Patrick Bottex "La Cueille" Bugey Cerdon, (Méthode Ancestrale), Savoie, France
"And now for something completely different: This slightly sparkling wine is the perfect pairing for your next summer picnic. Made in the ancestral method that pre-dates Champagne, it has a bit of bubble and sugar. These extra structures allow it to go perfectly with cured meats, salty snacks and snappy vegetables. Hidden away in the eastern mountains, Bugey-cerdon is considered the best-kept secret in France. The wines of Bugey were first cultivated here by the Romans and were later resuscitated by the medieval monks. An intriguing and beautiful wine worth seeking out!" (Patrick Bottex "La Cueille" Bugey Cerdon Rosé, $20)