American wine drinkers have come a long way in the past forty years. It may be difficult to recall—many of us were not even born, and perhaps we subconsciously blocked this dark age from our memories—but there was once a time, in this dearly beloved country of ours, when the average consumer would turn his nose up at the idea of drinking a rosé. Not macho, some said. And that’s not all: it took many years for us to embrace the virtues of good Beaujolais, or to even acknowledge anything other than a Bordeaux or a Burgundy—let alone an oxidative Jura Savagnin.
Progress is in our country’s DNA, and we cannot keep living in the past. That’s right: the time has come for us, as a nation, to start drinking rosé year-round. Our friends in Bandol would scoff at the idea of confining the most versatile and quaffable of wines to the summer months, and rightly so. Why deprive oneself of what is undoubtedly among life’s greatest pleasures?
Here's a reminder that rosé season is as perennial as evergreens and San Francisco fog. So in the name of progress, refreshment, and of course, joy... we urge you to heed this call to arms, by raising your glass of rosé to the sky and joining us in our year-long quest for pleasure, no matter what color it may come in.
Rosé has become so fashionable it’s almost a brand, but as with any other wine, there is tremendous variation in style and quality based on production zone, the grape varieties involved, farming, and, crucially, winemaking. For all the carefree pleasure and refreshment rosé provides, remember that it can also be a serious wine that expresses a sense of place. Terrebrune’s Bandol epitomizes this idea of a terroir-driven rosé, from the nose of thyme and white peach, redolent of a Provençal summer, to its mouthwateringly salty finish, a reminder that the sea is just a stone’s throw away. For conclusive evidence that this is no ordinary rosé, save a bottle for five, ten, or twenty years—a pleasant surprise awaits.
It seems safe to say that rosé consumption in the United States has reached an all-time high. It comes as no surprise: the wine’s obvious thirst-quenching qualities has us all craving the stuff as soon as the first rays of springtime sun break their way through the clouds of winter. And while many rosés serve just that purpose—warm-weather quaffers to be indiscriminately guzzled—certain examples of the style go a step beyond. We encourage you to consider this new arrival from Corsica’s Yves Leccia as a Patrimonio first and foremost, and as a rosé second. While there’s no doubt a bottle of this 2016 has the palate-whetting capacities to become your new patio pounder, it carries a stamp of its terroir with such soul and conviction that it would be a pity to neglect its origins on the rocky slopes of the Île de Beauté, just a stone’s throw from the Mediterranean. The wafting scent of wild maquis herbs and its mouth-watering, saline finish are unmistakable markers of its origins. In between, there is a serious wine gracing your palate—fleshy and mouth-filling, taut and mineral—that promises a beautiful evolution through the summer months and beyond. No, this is not just yet another pink wine.
Not far from the Languedoc’s spectacular vertical limestone outcropping known as Pic Saint Loup, thirteenth-generation vigneron Jean-Benoît Cavalier runs the historic Château de Lascaux. While Pic Saint Loup is renowned for its red wines and also has an appellation dedicated to rosé, the area is equally conducive to the production of high-quality whites. Situated at the foot of mountains that bring cool winds and close enough to the Mediterranean to benefit from its moderating influence, the vines enjoy perfect conditions to achieve balanced ripeness year after year. This blend of Rolle (Vermentino), Roussanne, Marsanne, and Viognier combines a sun-kissed roundness on the palate with the crisp liveliness conferred by the unique microclimate and rocky limestone soils. With notes of lemon and garrigue herbs plus a stimulating mineral element, the Lascaux blanc is the ideal match for Mediterranean fish preparations. Alternatively, chill a bottle for your apéritif and savor its breezy freshness.
If you enjoy the treasured rosés of Bandol but prefer to spend half the price, take note of this steal from Saint-Chinian, just hours west of the esteemed Provençal appellation. Made from roughly the same grape varieties—with a hearty dose of Mourvèdre, most significantly—the Saint-Chinian is crisp, stony, fleshy, and herbaceous. Garrigue abounds: rosemary, thyme, lavender, and many more divine scents make Mas Champart’s rosé intriguing, refreshing, and, most important, delicious. Just as a bottle of this can be inexplicably drained in no time, our stock will disappear before we know it, so we recommend foresight in planning your future rosé consumption.
The Sesti Rosato is a 100% Sangiovese from grapes picked earlier than their Brunello-destined counterparts. Selected from higher-yielding vines in order to avoid high alcohol, the fruit is de-stemmed without crushing before resting in tank for up to 12 hours and then being delicately pressed. Fermentation proceeds with indigenous yeasts in stainless steel, where the wine completes its malolactic fermentation before an unfiltered bottling. The 2015 is refreshing, well-rounded, and elegant with not a single rough edge. Scented of flowers and frutti di bosco, it has a subtle tannin that makes this an excellent rosato for the table. Its mouth-filling texture and earthy nuances also make it a lovely cool-weather rosé, so don't hesitate to savor it year-round.
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