Roses can be a misunderstood variety of wines. I say variety, not varietal because Rose wines are the result of a particular type of wine making. Red grapes and white grapes produced in traditional wine making practices produce red and white wines, respectively. Roses are an interesting cross between the typical red and white varieties where the batch starts off with red grapes. Instead of the red grape skins staying inside of the fermenting wine, they are taken out leaving the wine with a pinkish hue instead of the deeper red tones associated with varietals such as Syrah or Cabernet Sauvignon. As far as everyday drinking wines go, especially during summertime, Europeans enjoy copious quantities of rose wines. Americans tend to associate roses with some cheaper brands of wine like White Zinfandel which tends to have an overly sweet taste. Rose certainly is not limited to pink sugary brands that tend to be guzzled rather than sipped. Below are five “higher end” varietals that you may not have thought to be starting points for some truly impressive rose, all under $20.00!
2006 Villa Wolf Rose de Pinot Noir $15
Varietal: Pinot Noir
At one point, most wine drinkers stand firm and say they will never break down and try a particular type of wine. In 2004 I took stood on the stubborn ground and refused any rose. After befriending a sommelier at a local package store, I was persuaded into trying the 2003 Villa Wolf Rose de Pinot Noir from Germany. This acidic, sweet yet not sugary, incredibly delicious wine changed my outlook on roses forever. The 2006 vintage has proven to be just as good. Show up with at least two bottles to the next bbq where you’re looking to make an impression.
Grape Varietal: Montepulciano d’Abruzzo
Strawberry pastry is the overwhelming trait that comes through in this wine. It can be enjoyed cold or at room temperature similar to full red wines. While it can be enjoyed solo, like most roses, this wine has structure and intense flavors to pair up with fish, chicken and lighter fair and hold its own very well.
Grape Varietal: Syrah
Focused acidity and berry flavors help this rose stick out as truly memorable. Body and complex flavors are matched with excellent acidity which helps this wine cut through a buttery lobster dinner with ease.
2006 Jeriko Estates Rosé $13
Grape Varietal: Grenache/Syrah blend
At 14% alcohol, this rose not only packs a punch; it dances on your palate as well. Strawberries with great minerality are the most outstanding tasting notes shining through. Try it with spicy buffalo chicken wings and blue cheese for a surprisingly delicious pairing.
2006 Cameron Hughes Lot 37 Campo de Borja Rose of Garnacha $8
Varietal: Garnacha (Grenache)
Grenache as a full-bodied red is known for having notes of black pepper and strawberries. This rose carries those traits well and transcends into a more graceful with notes of minerality that are not usually found in regular Grenache wines. This wine is also a summertime thriller for barbecues.