When summer is in full swing, it means just one thing in wine country: rosé all day. With those sunset hues ranging from millennial pink to magenta, the season’s favorite wine has us seeing the world through rosé-colored glasses. And while Europe’s various blushing varietals have historically reigned supreme—Italian rosatos, Spanish rosadas, and of course French rosés—domestic versions of everyone’s favorite pink drink are finally stepping into the spotlight. Now, before you get all flushed, no one is challenging the preeminence of Provence, but thanks to innovative winemakers and a growing local thirst, our excellent homegrown rosés are here to stay.
From coast to coast, you can find great domestic rosé in all forms: classic or canned, bubbly or punk rock. We sat down with Christine Milam, an advanced-level sommelier through The Court of Master Sommeliers, to gather together a list of rosés that aren’t just good—they’re destination-worthy. These 11 notable wineries across the nation and their fantastic (and often hard-to-find) vintages are exactly what you’ve been dreaming of for your next rosé getaway.
The Rosé: 2016 “Sauvage” Merlot 181 Rosé
Where You’ll Find It: Croteaux Vineyards, Long Island, New York
Why You’ll Love It: “Croteaux is the only winery in the country that exclusively produces rosé, which is incredibly cool!” says Milam. A true paradise for rosé lovers, she says it’s hard to go wrong with its Provence-style rosés, which emphasize delicacy, barely ripe fruit, and vibrant florals. “This high-acid, uber fresh, princess wine is made for the hottest days,” she says. You’ll want to grab a few different bottles before heading off to the beach—that is, if you don’t spend all day reveling in the South-of-France vibes at the winery’s dreamy tasting barn.
The Rosé: Shinn Estate Vineyards 2016 Rosé
Where You’ll Find It: Shinn Estate Vineyards, Long Island, New York
Why You’ll Love It: Shinn Estate Vineyards is a holistic, biodynamic, wind-and-solar-powered vineyard. Thanks to its cozy on-site farmhouse inn, you can (and should) extend your vine-to-glass tasting to a few nights’ stay—trust us, the 2016 rosé is worth it. “Maybe if people made more merlot rosé, Sideways wouldn’t have caused such a fuss,” says Milam. She points out that a good merlot rosé, like Shinn’s, showcases the plump, rich, and luscious quality of merlot but maintains the zingy nature that Long Island is known for. Expect overripe raspberry, bing cherry, smoke, and rose petal and be prepared to pair it with “lobstah rolls for days!”
The Rosé: NV Gruet Brut Rosé
Where You’ll Find It: Gruet Winery, New Mexico
Why You’ll Love It: This 100 percent pinot noir brut rosé is made by Gruet, one of the wineries that really put New Mexico on the winemaking map, according to Milam. “Bubbles are my go-to year-round but this sparkling rosé is especially great for summer. It is elegant and ripe with notes of bright raspberry, strawberries and cream, and brioche. It’s the perfect rosé to drink with tacos,” she says. Duck out of New Mexico’s summer heat at either of Gruet’s two tasting rooms, one in Albuquerque, and the other in the historic Hotel St. Francis in Santa Fe.
Where You’ll Find It: Illahe Vineyards, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Why You’ll Love It: According to Milam, if you’re partial to Provence-style rosés, you’ll love this fresh, delicate, and cherry fruit–driven tempranillo rosé. “Because of the climate, you don’t see a lot of tempranillos in the Willamette Valley, but Illahe found a warmer plot where it thrives,” she says. If the rosé and the stunning view from the tasting patio weren’t enough, the rustic, minimalist winery alone is worth a visit. The team uses pre-industrial winemaking techniques, including hand-harvesting, horse-drawn wagons, and basket crushes.
The Rosé: Teutonic Wine Company’s 2016 Rosé of Pinot Noir
Where You’ll Find It: Teutonic Wine Company, Portland, Oregon
Why You’ll Love It: Teutonic Wine Company is a Portland gem. The grapes for its pinot noir rosé are sourced from Laurel Vineyard in the Chehalem Mountains of the Willamette Valley. This saignée-style, 100 percent pinot noir rosé is a rich, round wine, with a deeper, darker color than many rosés—more of a bold pink than a blush. Milam loves this rosé because, while it is a fine summer wine, it also carries on really well into the fall and winter and is excellent with meats.
The Rosé: 2016 Division Villages L'Avoiron Rosé of Gamay Noir
Where You’ll Find It: Division Winemaking Company, Portland, Oregon
Why You’ll Love It: “I like Washington State for a lot of things,” says Milam. “One reason is that they’re in an experimental phase of wine growing, so you can find some really interesting wines. Division’s bright, mid-weight, and super smoky rosé of gamay noir is sourced from Washington’s Yakima Valley. It’s a varietal that is mostly seen in the Beaujolais region, but is currently gaining headway in Washington State.” Although the grapes are grown in Washington, you can get an in-depth wine education experience at Division’s urban winery in Portland or keep it low-key at the SE Wine Collective, where you can sample a range of local wines, including several from Division Winemaking Company.
Where You’ll Find It: Cinder Wines, Boise, Idaho
Why You’ll Love It: In 2007, the Snake River Valley, which sits on the border of Idaho and Oregon, was the first officially designated wine-grape growing region in Idaho. Since then, the state’s buzzy and fast-growing wine industry has skyrocketed. “Idaho,” says Milam, “is for those that truly want to try something new and off the beaten path. There is no regional identity yet, but Cinder Wines is forging ahead and working to create one.” Its 2016 rosé is all about spice—think black pepper, nutmeg, worn leather, and dust supporting a rich, round, ripe red fruit. Grab a glass on a sunny day at the industrial-chic urban winery in Boise while browsing the onsite art gallery, which features a rotating roster of local artists.
The Rosé: 2016 Clendenen Family Vineyards Mondeuse Rosé
Where You’ll Find It: Au Bon Climat Wines, Santa Barbara, California
Why You’ll Love It: Jim Clendenen’s mondeuse rosé, sourced from the Bien Nacido vineyard in Santa Barbara and made under Clendenen’s passion project label, is, as Milam describes it, insane. “This is one of my favorite rosés, and it’s not easy to find outside of California. It’s super mineral driven, so it’s got these great flinty notes to it, and has lots of ripe strawberry and watermelon flavors.” Basically, she says, it’s everything you want in a rosé. Visit Santa Barbara’s Au Bon Climat tasting room in all its adobe-style glory and grab a bottle (or five) to sip outside at a picnic or street food festival.
The Rosé: 2016 ONX Indie Rosé of Tempranillo
Where You’ll Find It: ONX Wines, Paso Robles, California
Why You’ll Love It: ONX’s Indie Rosé of Tempranillo is one of the hardest wines to find in Paso Robles—people love it that much. “To me, Paso is like cowboy wine country,” says Milam. “In general, you get lots of these charred meat, smoke, and dusty, barnyard-y characteristics in Paso wine. This rosé is a fresh, cool rosé but it still has some of those cowboy characteristics.” Schedule an appointment to tour the vineyard in Templeton, and you can taste the wines right where they’re made—cowboy hat not required.
The Rosé: 2016 Scribe Rosé of Pinot Noir
Where You’ll Find It: Scribe Winery, Sonoma, California
Why You’ll Love It: Scribe acquired its cult, cool-kid following partly because it operates out of a gorgeous pre-Prohibition winery that is rumored to have once been a bordello, partly because of its farm-to-table ethos, but mostly because of its top-notch, biodynamic wines. The two young brothers who started the winery in 2007 are, as Milam puts it, “the guys that made riesling cool again.” Their light, balanced, grapefruity 2016 rosé of pinot noir is exactly what you want to be drinking on a long summer afternoon while gazing over the rolling hills of Sonoma.
The Rosé: 2015 Sterling Vineyards Cellar Club Rosé Syrah
Where You’ll Find It: Sterling Vineyards, Napa Valley, California
Why You’ll Love It: Sterling Vineyards just gets your love of rosé. This year, the Calistoga-based winery hosted Napa Valley’s inaugural RoséFest, bringing rosés from over 30 different Napa Valley wineries, as well as local restaurants and food trucks, together in one place. You can actually find and taste Sterling’s rosy, fruit-forward 2015 Cellar Club Rosé Syrah across the United States, but it is best enjoyed while taking in the winery’s world-class views after a ride on its gondola.
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