Rose Colored Glasses

Let’s face it, it’s hot.  It’s time to step away from those heavier red wines.  I know it’s hard.  I love them too.

But when it’s 90 plus degrees out, you will find me sipping roseEven though rose has been considered the underdog of the wine world for some time, over the last five years it has gained monumental respect.  I am one of its biggest fans.

A good rose will have a combination of characteristics of both red and white wines.  These rose wines will open up with lovely fruit characters and on the back end will have depth and tannins along with very crisp and refreshing acidity.  It’s quite a treat.

The quality of rose in the past few years has also dramatically increased.  And since just about every wine region in the world produces a rose there are many varieties and styles to choose from.  For example, in Spain, rose is known as rosado, made from Garnacha or Tempranillo grapes, depending on the region of origin.  In Italy, rose is called rosato made from Sangiovese.  Rose from France, dependent on the region, can be made from Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah, Mourvedre, Pinot Noir and even Cabernet Franc.  All rose wines will vary in color because of the different skin types for each grape mentioned  So with all the available variety, it’s hard not to find one you like.

In the past rose has often been just a by-product of red-wine production.  Winemakers would drain some of the juice from the skins in the tank after maceration.  This is known as the “saignee” method, which means to “bleed off”.  This would create two batches of juice, one that would be sent off to be fermented as rose and the other to produce a concentrated red wine.

Today, more and more grapes are being grown with the idea in mind of just producing a rose.  Grape juice is left on the skins for hours, sometimes days, drained and sent to a fermentation vessel once the desired color has been extracted.  However, it’s not just pigment that is extracted, phenols and tannins are also transferred and end up in the finished wine.  I call it the rose triple-threat.

Anyways, I wish I could have posted this earlier in the summer but I had to try all the rose out there and pick the ones I liked best.  Yes, I did it all for you.  It was very hard but satisfying work.

So look for these.  Break out of your shell.  Try something new.  I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Don’t forget to serve them cold!

2006 Grand Veneur Cotes Du Rhone Rose Reserve $10

This rose, salmon-pink in color and with a brilliance all its own, has a nose reminiscent of a strawberry patch on a warm summer day.  Hints of spice are also apparent but the red fruit is overpowering, in a good way.  On the palate the wine is well-balanced, full and flavorful.  A long and refreshing finish is also enjoyed.  This wine is a blend of  50% Grenache, 30% Syrah and 20% Cinsault.

2007 Cotes Du Rhone Rose Heritages des Caves Des Papes $11

First, let me just say 2007 was an amazing year for the Rhone Valley and this rose is no exception to that statement.  Pinkish-rose in color with intense aromas of red fruit and spice characters.  Fresh tasting with dried strawberry, red cherry and mineral notes.  This all gives way to a dry and refreshing finish.  The wine is 60% Grenache, 20% Cinsault, 10% Syrah and 10% Mourvedre.

2006 Langlois-Chateau-Cabernet de Saumur, La Bretonniere Rose Sec $10

An elegant, crisp and luscious rose from the Loire made from 100% Cabernet Franc.  Notes of blackcurrant and raspberry are prevalent.  The palate is dry with flavors of cassis and cranberry chiming in.  Long refreshing finish.

2007 Navarro Vineyards Rose, Mendocino, California $16

Made from 60-70 year old Grenache and Carignan vines, this rose is bursting with strawberry and raspberry flavors.  A bit of spiciness and citrus round out the balance.  Finishes dry and crisp.  However, you will have to get this one from the winery itself.

2007 A to Z Wineworks Rose, Oregon $13

This 100% Sangiovese rose has vibrant flavors of raspberry, strawberry and scents of wildflowers on the nose.  Bright, focused and generous on the palate with hints of spiciness and red currant being most apparent.  This is followed by an enjoyable crisp lingering finish.

When paired with spicy food and warm weather, these wines will not miss on flavor.  I promise you will enjoy them.

So tell me, what did you have to drink last night?

Post a Comment


  1. mark 1


  2. HoneyB 2

    What awesome clear photos and I really love your first one. The next time you need help testing your wines, give me a holler. I’m sure I could help you get done testing sooner!

  3. Helen 3

    I totally agree with you – rose has had such a bad rep for such a long time – there were so many poor quality wines out there -think mateus rose for example. A good one is a different thing entirely and I agree – so refreshing on a hot day! Is that your pool in the background? Wow!

  4. Shirley 4

    Nance (at Dept of Nance, link to was just writing about some great wines, including rose. Beautiful post. Your wine and food posts always make me want to run out and get some of whatever you are telling us about IMMEDIATELY. I agree the pictures are wonderful, too … especially the tub full of wine by the pool—party!

  5. Did you know that I can’t ship wine here to Massachusetts? Stupid blue laws. I could ship it to New Hampshire someplace, and drive up and get it. How stupid is that?

    Anyway – last night I did not have wine…spent the evening with British friends and we had Shandys. Which sounded awful to me but was quite refreshing!

  6. Sarah 6

    Mmmm. We had a 2006 Kosta Brown pinot noir. It was young, but promises to be yummy in another four years!

    By the way, Cathy, you got some plugs on Wine Library TV’s food forum! Here’s the link:

    link to

  7. Barbie with a T 7

    All of the rose wines seem very satisfying! Thanks for the words and photos. They help me to remember when shopping. I plan on picking up some for the remainder of the summer. Good suggestions! We had red wine last evening, (Messina Hof, Shiraz, Barrel Reserve, 2005, Texas) but only because it went so well with the Italian Spaghetti and meatballs! Yes, we have fairly popular wineries here in South Texas. I have only begun to explore them, since tuning in to your website. You are my instructor and I am your student. I want to learn all I can about wine. So thanks for the info.

  8. I had my trusty chard…Ste. Michelle…I know you are horrified. I have the shopping list printed out and in the kitchen for reference;)

  9. Erinn 9

    I am a huge rose fan as well, and am always surprised at the “oomph” they have, not wimpy wines at all. Thanks for doing the footwork and tasting all these, I’m sure it was just awful for you! ;) My secret theory as to why rose wines are still not popular is that too many people still confuse them with White Zinfanels. Your thoughts on that?

  10. I had tea last night. How boring!

    You know…I was thinking of you while we were at the Cape…we bought this bottle of Pinot Noir that was awful. I mean just bad. It was really light and kind of sweet, not at all like a Pinot Noir should be. I wish I could remember the name of the maker so I could tell you to stay away from it. I love Pinots and this one was a major disappointment.

    I will say that that first photo of the wines in the bucket of ice in front of the pool have me wanting to just lay back in that pool with one of those bottles, just sipping away and relaxing. That would be very nice. :)

  11. Thank you for that! I am going to explore some of those! Looks like your pool is back in business–yay!

    Last night I had mor limoncello, of course!!

  12. Lisa 12

    Thanks for the recommendations! You will probably banish me from your site when I divulge what I’ve been drinking to beat the heat with my love of pinot noir! I have been enjoying a French pinot noir labelled “Rex Goliath, 47 pound rooster” (how can you not love that) and serving it over ice with a big splash of Italian blood orange soda. Refreshing and delicious!

  13. Amanda 13

    I love a nice rose. I can never bring myself to buy it however because it looks too much like white zin. And the last time I bought white zin was 20 years ago in high school when I used to mix it with snapple to make my own coolers. (cringe)

  14. ELRA 14

    Sounds good. This just give me an idea for my next week-end garden party. Thanks for the lists too.

  15. Val 15

    Will I love these even if I love red wine and don’t love white wine? I’m a weenie about deviating from my reds. But it IS hot!

  16. melly~ 16

    now those are my kind of glasses!
    i’m a heavy red drinker too (put the emphasis on heavy wherever works best in that sentence -lol-) but rather than switch, i tend to just drink less in the summer time. thanks for showing me the light and teaching me that my alcohol consumption doesn’t have to slow in the heat of summer!

  17. Nell 17

    Ooooh. Can’t wait to try some of these. It’s stinkin’ hot here!

  18. Syrie 18

    Great post! Thanks for all the recommendations. I’ve been drinking lots of cold beer recently, especially an Australian beer called Coopers Pale Ale. Tonight with dinner I’m opening a bottle of Hugel Gewurztraminer 2005.

  19. We also have nice ones here in Portugal, I love rosé!

  20. I had a lovely Canadian dry cider. On the rocks with a twist of lime.

    Your pool looks fab!

  21. Maureen 21

    Mmm…love a good rose’. I will look for these – hard! I started drinking dry roses, about 4-5 years ago and got a lot of snickering from friends. They thought it was funny that there “wino” friend was drinking white zin. Try as hard as I could, I wasn’t able to convince them that it was a delicious dry rose. Now, that they are getting more popular, they act as if it’s something brand new. (roll eyes.)

    Last night we had a disappointing bottle of pinot grigio.

  22. Oh, I just loving coming here to learn something new. I had rose once …. enough said. BUT … now you made me wonder. (Do tell me, did curiosity really kill the cat or do “they” just keep passing that down through the generations to keep us in a neat and orderly line.) I’m curious … I’ll go buy a bottle of this and chill it well. We’ll see …

    I love your witty repartee and downright useful recipes. Thanks for giving me a Monday Morning smile. : )

  23. misty 23

    That’s so odd! What are the chances that the security code would be my zip code???

    Anyway, this post was GREAT! So helpful because I just struggle with finding good quality wine for low amounts of money! Thanks

  24. Shreya 24

    Very interesting..:-) Nice pictures…

  25. Ruthanne (in Seattle) 25

    I had rose last night! I have been enjoying club soda with rose (or vice versa!) with lemon zest. Lovely! The rose I like is french, from Trader Joe’s, “La Ferme Julien” from Rhone Valley Vineyards. Cinsault 50%, Grenache 40% and Syrah 10% – those percentages are for you – I drink it because it is deliciously refreshing on a warm evening!

  26. Liz C. 26

    For years my hubby would mix red & white and say it was a rose’. It took me years to break him of that bad habit, lol.

    But, I’ve been reading a lot more about rose’s in Food & Wine, so they are surely growing in popularity. But, I do remember the days of Mateus & Lancer rose wines.

    Thanks for the continuing education on wines. I’m getting better at this by the day.

  27. Ruthanne (in Seattle) 27

    Could you sometime do a post about Sauvignon Blancs? I love the ones from New Zealand . . . .

  28. Egghead 28

    I am not a big fan of reds bit I do like a good Rosé. These suggestions are great to try out….I guess you know what we will be doing for the rest of the hot summer.

  29. Tara 29

    Wow! I have been a fan of your blog for only a month or so now and I usually enjoy all of your post. But this one has become my favorite.
    Of course I love all of your meal ideas and the sight of them makes me drool, but when I see all the ingrediants required, the lazy gal inside of me says I’ll stick to my microwaveable lean cuisine. :) But wine, that’s something I could do. All I have to do is go into the store with your list and buy 1 or 2 and I’m set.
    Thank you! What a great post!

  30. Cathy 30

    Yes, I have a whole round of Sauvignon Blanc’s and Chardonnay to get to…still tasting.

  31. Cathy 31

    Yes you will.  These wines have the structure you will be looking for and are used to in a red.

  32. Cathy 32

    You will not confuse these with White Zin once you taste them…trust me.

    Snapple?  That’s a new one for me.

  33. pam 33

    I was just telling hubby the other day that I was in the mood for a rose. Perfect timing!

  34. great post! i’m a big rose ran but know less than nothing about wine. i always need a recommendation.

  35. claudia 35

    I tried a rose called menage a trois the other day. Delicious!!! (The wine, not the …whatever, you know what I mean, get your head out of the gutter, woman!!)

  36. Stephanie 36

    Great to see you finally got your pool filled.
    I remember in the hot Modesto summer my grandmother would always have a small glass of rose with her dinner. Now I understand why. I have to grab a bottle of rose when I’m at the big wine store next week. I’m sure it will be great with most of the chilled pasta salads and gazpacho that i make this time of year.

  37. Alisa 37

    Those wines look almost as good as that pool!

  38. laura 38

    love the first pic! the colors are so crisp.
    so i take that you got the pool filled.

  39. jules 39

    Thanks for the nudge…I have a lovely Chateau Du Donjon, 2007, Minervois chilled in my fridge right now…it’s 5 o’clock somewhere!

    Keep cool…Jules

  40. Jen 40

    Um – I love your site. First visit and it’s about wine? Yeahhhh.

    I had a cold Pinot Grigio that I slurped with fettucine and clams in a wine sauce made with said Pinot…the name? It escapes me and it’s already empty and in our recycling bin.

  41. I’m not a wine snob, I’ll drink whatever you are serving!! lol

    I reserve my snobbiness for tequila and vodka! lol

  42. You are cruel. Flaunting your pool… and fancy chilled beverages… I’m hot. I’m hungry. I need to fix dinner. I don’t want to. I have no booze. You could at least… feel sorry for me.

  43. Neen 43

    Thanks for the info about rose, I never really understood the production. I think the reason people disparage is that for such a long time only really low quality bottles were available… and it got pegged as a girly drink. Yay to that phase being over!

    Oh, and what’s with your heat?? Send some to SF! I move to freakin’ California and I can’t leave the house without at least 2 Chicago sweaters on. What’s the deal???

  44. Mmmm…I love me some rose. In fact enjoyed it on vacation recently. I don’t even need hot weather or anyone twisting my arm to guzzle — erm, sip it. You know, tastefully.

  45. Your wine descriptions are almost enough to make me forget that I come from a long line of alcoholics.

  46. Jody 46

    Thank you for the review – I just bought L’Aventure Rose (2005) from Paso…will let you know how it is…

  47. Jessy 47

    Lemonade : D

  48. Dragon 48

    So, what time can I come over?

  49. The few times I do have a glass of wine, it’s always rosé. I particularly enjoy “Ernest & Julio Gallo – White Zinfendel”

  50. Very cool Cathy. I bought Rose last week from the Simi winery that I tried this weekend and it turned out to be a dud. Was pretty disappointed. It tasted semi-sweet (they called it dry, was cloying and just not good.

    I’ll be shopping for your recommendations.

    Looking forward. Thanks!

  51. Cathy C 51

    I love seeing the photo with the finally in working order glistening pool in the back round. What a great selection of Rose’s. Love your diverse list of yummy options.


  52. Paula 52

    This post was sooo informative! I’m not familiar with Rose’s, and your descriptions were so helpful. Especially because I’m not a raspberry fan *gasp*, and therefore I wouldn’t enjoy wines with those tones. Those first two rose’s sound perfect for someone like moi! I’ll be picking up a bottle, or two, or three!

  53. Mmmmm love Rose. I wonder if I can track these down in Sydney…

  54. these are all glorious wines!! of course i prefer french wines LOL

  55. Nothing I worked my hiney off! I want some wine and a swim. I wish you were in my neighborhood, you’d be my bff. I’m not sure what I get charmed by more, your habits of satisfying the flesh, or those darling hooligans,…

  56. Nice review. I’ve never had Navarro’s Rose, but I love their Pinot Noirs!

  57. EAT! 57

    Chardonnay with a couple blueberries floating in it. I game to try rose.

  58. Angela 58

    Great posting! Thanks for the tip on the vintage for Rhone Valley roses. Also, it’s nice to know A to Z makes rose. I had no idea — and such a great price!

  59. Lara 59

    I bought a bottle of rose last weekend but haven’t cracked it open yet! I think it might even be that A to Z one!

    I always think of my friend Rosie when I think of rose wine, and not for the name similarities. One night when we were out at dinner, she said, “I’m so torn on whether I want red whine or white…I think I might just go with pink!” hee!

  60. Cassie 60

    I was really glad we were able to read your post and it didn’t look something like this “siwnwines syuummmyyyyy”

  61. Rita 61

    at least i love the color ;)

  62. KATIE24 62

    I do truly like your famous release! Could you accomplish the free term papers for example? Because I know that an experienced essays online service can create well researched term papers of supreme quality.


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