With the arrival of longer days and warmer weather, it is officially rosé season. There are many choices when it comes to rosé. Côtes de Provence rosé has become the quintessential pink bottle for many consumers. This classic, crisp rosé, made from grenache grapes, has flavors of strawberry and citrus blossoms and is perfect for enjoying on a hot day. However, there are many other styles of rosé to quench your summer thirst.
Heading west from Provence, you will find Tavel in the Rhone Valley, which is the one of the few French appellations that produces rosé exclusively. Tavel is made from a blend of Rhone grapes (cinsault, bourboulenc, clairette, mourvèdre, picpoul, and syrah), and the style is know for being fuller bodied and darker in color than Provence. With aromas of ripe berries, garrigue, and light notes of almond, it is an excellent food wine, and the perfect pairing for a sunset picnic.
Rosé is often associated with France, but it is produced throughout the wine-making world. One of my favorite styles of rosé is the Spanish Txakolina rosé from the Basque country. Made from a blend of hondarrabi zuri and hondarrabi beltza, the wines have flavors of wild berries, tart citrus, and a hint of sea air. Most of the Txakilina imported into the US comes from Getariako Txakolina, but the fresh and fizzy wine is also found in Bizkaiko Txakolina and Arabako Txakolina
Another favorite of mine is the Italian Chiaretto which comes from two regions on the banks of Lake Garda: Valtenesi and Bardonlino. The Chiaretto Valtenesi is made on the western bank in the Lombardy region from the gropello grape. This is an aromatic rosé with bright red cherries and fresh violets on the nose, and a crisp and lightly peppery palate. Across the lake in the Veneto region, there is another Chiaretto, the Chiaretto Bardilono, made from a blend of corvino, rondinella, and molinara grapes, which creates a rosé full of red berries, fresh herbs, and marzipan flavors.
Whatever pink you prefer, happy rosé season!