Best Rose Wines: An Amateur’s Guide

ICYMI National Rosé Day is on Saturday. To celebrate, founder Bodvár Hafström is reportedly taking his fancy name to Marina del Rey Hotel and sipping on his fancy collection of the best rose wines with a bunch of fancy people.

Best Rose Wines

For me, a fancy Saturday is drinking Kirkland Signature Prosecco (that’s Costco, people) and watching Live PD. Given the v. important holiday that is National Rosé Day, I’m considering swapping Prosecco for rose, Live PD for real people, and leggings for real pants. In case you’re up to the same, I’m sharing a short list of the best rose wines (literally, just four) compiled from my limited life experience and phoning friends. Also included: real poetic descriptions and solid story time.

But First, a Short Geography Tale

After putting the list together, this amateur learned two things about the best rose wines:

1. Côtes de Provence is where it’s at. Three of my picks are from this region of southeast France, which is just as fancy as it sounds – it’s home to the French Riviera. Rose is queen of this region, making up half the production of wine, according to Wikipedia. In the 1900s, production picked up along with tourism in the French Riviera, where rose complements flavors of the regional cuisine.

2. 2016 created some of the best rose wines, including three on the list. What’s so special about 2016? you ask. Wine Enthusiast says the crisp, dry roses from this year are more fruity and colorful than previous years.

COOL, HUH? Let’s move on.

An Amateur’s List of the Best Rose Wines

Chateau Maupague Côtes de Provence Cabaret Rosé, 2016
$14.99 on wine.com

I recently skipped my weekend ritual of Prosecco and Live PD to socialize. My two girlfriends and I went for dinner to Mindy’s Hot Chocolate, a restaurant and dessert bar in the Wicker Park neighborhood of Chicago. Naturally, we went for a bottle, and asked our server for the driest. Here she is! It tastes like flowers and a peach, and was totally worth $45. I’m sure it tastes even better for $14.99.

Exquisite Collection Côtes de Provence Rosé, 2016
$7.99 at Aldi

Yes, this is the famous ALDI rose, and I haven’t tasted it. BUT I thought my friend raved about it a while back. When I texted him for the name, he replied with an ALDI moscato. So, it turns out that a) he’s also an amateur and b) I don’t have a personally reliable source for this selection. Instead, I’ll remind you it earned the title of best rose under $10 and a silver medal in the 2017 International Wine Challenge (the World Series/Super Bowl/Oscars of wine). Refinery 29 says it has hints of “strawberry and spice” and is back at ALDI only for summer, after selling out last year.

Château d’Esclans, Côtes de Provence, Whispering Angel Rosé, 2016
Approximately $25 on wine.com

The most qualified person to suggest the best rose wines is my rose-loving friend. She says Whispering Angel is the best combo of good taste and price. It’s part of Decantur Magazine’s top 10 best rose wines for summer, so she KNOWS HER STUFF. Surprise, I haven’t tried it, but I have inhaled many Rosé All Day Bears from Sugarfina, which are made with Whispering Angel. Who knew? Not me, ‘til I Googled it. Unlike rose, the bears are non-alcoholic.

Best Rose Wines
Scribe Winery Tasting

Scribe Winery Rosé of Pinot Noir, 2017
$38 on scribewinery.com (not sold in stores)

Besides on my couch, I think Scribe Winery in Sonoma is the best place to drink the best rose wines. It might take my vote for best California winery! As you turn off Napa Road, you start down a gravel path lined with palm trees that leads to a 19th century white hacienda. You will not regret Googling photos of it right now. Abandoned since prohibition, the house sat empty for decades until the current owners bought it in 2007. They founded Scribe Winery the same year.

Today the winery offers intimate tastings ($60, 90 minutes) on the home’s front porch and patio, dotted with just a few rustic wooden tables and benches. Tastings include four wines and a meal that’s freshly prepared in an open-air kitchen, with produce from the garden, by a rotating chef in residence. Our meal included a grilled tri-tip on tartine bread, garden lettuces with blue cheese dressing, and spring vegetables.

Looking back on my visit to Scribe Winery makes me want to WEEP. It was everything a California wine tasting should be – a beautiful day with great friends and a killer rose.

What’s missing from this list? Leave your favorite in the comments below. Cheers!

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