A recent article from Real Simple lit up the wine world: Always Buy the Rosé that is the Lightest Color. Winestagram exploded – and rightly so. Fantastic rosé comes in all kinds of colors, and limiting it to hue not only limits your experience and understanding of the category, but also how far your palate can go.
In fact, light-hued rosés and I haven’t historically gotten along. More often than not, I’ve found that many of these “light” Provence rosés lack flavor, depth, and interest. I find many of the more mass-market speed to be more difficult to drink than they are enjoyable. I love you, Côtes de Provence, but your big châteaux just seem to disappoint. If those wines are in my glass, they’re often better in a cocktail, frozen, or diluted with ice cubes.
As a result, I’ve long been a fan of non-traditional darker rosés, specifically those from Tavel, Bandol, and Provence’s lesser known regions, like Palette and Bellet. Below, I’ve listed out six of my favorite rosés for all-round, upgraded sipping.
Domaine de la Bégude, Bandol Rosé ($35, Timeless Wines)
This domaine will always be at the top of my rosé list after my boyfriend and I had the pleasure of visiting it last summer (I wrote about our magical experience in a blog post – check it out!) This is probably one of my favorite rosés with a magnificent dark-hue. It’s very food-forward and is great for a wide variety of food pairings and occasions. Organic and biodynamic, this is a family-run domaine that’s been in operation as a winemaking facility since the middle ages. Not just a must-visit in Provence, but also a must-drink while at home.
Château d’Aquéria, Tavel ($26, Wine.com)
The perfect example of an appellation that is only and exclusively known for making some of the world’s darkest and gastronomic rosés, Tavel simply had to be a top wine on this list. This iteration from Château d’Aquéria, is one of my favorites. Blooming with raspberry and orange peel notes, this is a classic Tavel that’s as easy to drink as it is easy to pair with barbecue.
Château Simone, Palette Rosé ($67, Astor Wines)
Palette is a tiny appellation in Provence with only a handful of producers permitted to produce under the AOC certification. The most famous of those is Château Simone. A true Provençal blend, this wine features Grenache, Mourvèdre, Cinsault, and a handful of other local grape varieties. Château Simone challenges the belief that all rosé wine is vin de soif (quaffable, easy-drinking wine) and this baby is MEANT to age. Check out that color! Perhaps one of the most unique rosés in the world, this one is certainly a rosé to remember.
Les Deux Moulins, Rosé de Loire ($16, Verve Wine)
When you’re considering buying more uncommon French rosé, don’t forget the wines of the Loire! Surprisingly, this region, which is well known for its white wine production, also produces some absolutely stunning rosés. From the off-dry Rosés d’Anjou to the famous rosés of Chinon and beyond, this region packs a punch with rosés of all kinds. Les Deux Moulins Rosé de Loire is one of my favorites and honestly just feels like summer in a bottle. Break it out at your next outdoor summer fête and the crowd won’t be disappointed.
Clos Cibonne, Côtes de Provence ($47, Cool Vines)
Like its neighbor Château Simone, Clos Cibonne is just one of those cult rosés that wine lovers around the world seek to add to their collections. This is a rosé that can age. A blend of local grape varieties Tibouren and Grenache, it’s neither light nor dark pink – it’s medium orange. Crazy, right?! If anything, this just goes to show you that rosé’s category versatility is endless. A talented winemaker with exceptional terroir can make an incredible rosé of ANY color, and Clos Cibonne proves that!
François Cazin, Cheverny Rosé ($20, Cool Vines)
Like the Rosé de Loire mentioned above, there is incredible value to be found in the lesser known Loire Valley appellations, and that’s especially true for the smaller ones too, like Cheverny. This one is a blend of Pinot Noir and Gamay, making it both beautifully fruit-forward (think raspberry, red apple, strawberry) and full of mineral notes. My kind of rosé! And for $20? Now that’s a steal.
The great news is that this list is far from exhaustive! France is home to dozens more magnificent medium to dark hued rosés in a variety of price points. Great rosé can come in all forms – as long as you know where to look. Here’s to a delicious glass of off-the-beaten-path wine tonight. Santé !