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US rosé to beat the summer heat

As we enter the final stretch of summer the heat across the US shows no sign of subsiding and rosé is certainly on the minds and shopping lists of wine drinkers. Clive Pursehouse offers an array of pinks to pick from.

While different wine styles and market shares seem to have waxed and waned over the last few tumultuous years, no wine save sparkling has shown the resilience of rosé. From New York State to California, there are pink wines for every palate. While often cast as ‘porch pounders’, the level of rosé’s sophistication has risen over the last few years to make it well-suited for more refined meals and summer barbecues and, in a few cases, even worthy of ageing.

Scroll down to see notes and scores for 20 US rosé wines

A decade in pink

Rosé has had quite the decade. A global trend, not merely confined to Provence or the Instagram-savvy influencers of Brooklyn or Portland, Oregon, rosé has ruled and for quite some time. The high watermark for rosé tends to be seasonal, with sales increasing in the warmer months, and as a planet, we’re nothing if not warmer. Celebrities have launched their own rosé brands, from John Bon Jovi to Sarah Jessica Parker, and perhaps most famously, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s Miraval brand.

Pink wines have never been cooler, particularly as temperatures rise, and their market share and production growth have both been astronomical. No one makes or sells more rosé than the French of course. In a report from beverage industry data company Provi, the presence of Provence rosé in the US market increased by 7,100% (that is not a typo) from 2001 to 2016.

The sales of rosé have bucked all the wine trends in both still and sparkling categories. While younger generations may be turned off by some wines and are choosing alcoholic seltzer, they have not turned their backs on rosé. According to Provi, three of the top five wine growth categories are comprised of rosé.

Myriad styles

Stylistically, Americans have settled on dry rosé in the style of the wines of Provence after a long love affair with the sickly sweet White Zinfandel. However, style can vary within that range. Depending on how the wines are produced, they can appeal to a variety of drinkers. How a particular rosé is made will affect the texture, colour and the finished wine.

The three main methods of producing rosé wine are to make it via direct press, saignée, and – in a few cases – blending of red and white wines.

When rosé is made in the direct press method, red grapes are picked and crushed. The grape skins remain in contact with the juice until the desired level of colour is achieved. The grapes are typically harvested specifically to make rosé when made in this way.

The saignée method is a type of short maceration and the wine is actually a bi-product of red wine production. This involves bleeding a portion of pink-coloured juice out of a tank destined to make red wine. The juice has not been in contact with the grape skins for very long. It is typically very lightly coloured, depending on the grape variety and the desired hue of the finished rosé. In many cases, the remaining wine will go on to be made into red wine, though not necessarily always.

Sometimes rosés may use a small amount of red wine blended into a white wine. This approach is seen as non-traditional and more of a shortcut than a winemaking technique. Note that this method is not allowed in the majority of EU appellations (rosé Champagne is an important exception).

Below, find an array of rosés to choose from for all budgets.

20 US rosés to beat the heat

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