I've had friends emailing left and right asking me for my rosé picks for this weekend. So, from me to you, here's my crib sheet. Yes, they are mostly French; because like puff pastry and cheese, they kick ass in the category. Don't have kittens over it. I'm tasting some Italian rosé tomorrow and will add the best ones at the bottom.
Remember, supply will not keep up with demand come June, so don't be lazy. If you find something you love, stock up and go for the case discount. (tasting notes after the jump, winery names in bold to avoid confusion...)2008 Domaine Sainte-Eugenie Rose Corbieres ($12): This is the perfect color, to me salmon off the grill, with a flush of pink. It tastes like a crisp white wine in which someone dropped a fresh strawberry, gorgeous, especially for the price.
2007 Maculan Rose "Costadolio" ($14): Normally I'd recommend only buying current vintages of rose. Also, I'd never, ever want a rose of merlot, but such is the magic of this grape when grown in the Veneto region of Italy. The aroma and flavor here: like sitting in a pile of spring flowers snorting warm, just picked peaches with one hand and devouring plums with the other. I realize this is seasonally impossible.
2008 Sables d'Azur Rose Cotes de Provence ($12): You just can't get Provencal roses on the cheap much anymore. This one is pale salmon and has quite a bit more fruit than you'd imagine from the color while still finishing bone dry, made for tapanade.
2008 Domaine Sorin Rose Cotes de Provence ($11): The peachy, orange sherbet hue of this wine is so consistent from vintage to vintage that it kinda freaks me out. But the color has come to produce a Pavlovian response within me, fulfilled here by Sorin's nectarine and raspberry notes.
2008 Commanderie de Peyrassol Rose Cotes de Provence ($20): This is a bottle to try after you see the ridiculous prices charged for Bandol roses right now (most famous region in Provence). It's not a stretch to say this tastes like a rose Champagne without the bubbles.
2007 Domaine Charvin Rose Cotes du Rhone ($20): Rhone varietals in rose (syrah, grenache) necessarily mean riper berry flavors, and sometimes these wines are fruitier than the color suggests. This one has an almost fruit-sweet component, not actual sugar, just berry intense.
2008 Chateau Val Jonis Rose of Syrah Luberon ($15): One of the tangier syrah roses I've tried, it offers rich fruit big enough for meat off the grill but still finishes dry and crisp.
2008 Mas des Bressades Rose Costieres de Nimes Cuvee Tradition ($11): Rhone varietals, this rose is fruity with a medium body, fairly pronounced note of peach and kinda clingy mouth feel.
2008 Chateau Guiot Rose Costieres de Nimes ($12): This is the starter rose for white zinfandel fans, and I don't mean that as a slam. If you like a good Kir (white wine with crème de cassis), this is your pink.