Sick of rosé yet? Didn’t think so—though it’s possible that many of the wines you’ve been throwing back with abandon have been properly drained from the market. In fact, amidst the perennial pink hysteria, many of the wines first available come late spring are often cleaned out by July. But there’s a silver lining to early summer sweep: When you first hit the shop in May, you may have missed many of the 2014 releases that land later in the season. Hence our latest “House Wine” column—a midsummer scan to see what’s ripe for the picking, and what you should be going out of your way to drink.
For our latest tasting, we selected a mix of rosés in varying styles—all, except for one, from outside the style’s spiritual home in Provence. We brought in 12 bottles under $25 to taste blind, all chosen because they represented well on paper (more about our process over at our inaugural column), and ended up with five we’d all be thrilled to pound back, from a wild-fruited, minerally zweigelt rosé from Austria’s Weingut Jäger to a classically herbal Chinon rosé from Olga Raffault to a pink pinot noir from Red Car, sourced from biodynamic vineyards along the far Sonoma Coast. Best of all, our favorite wine in the tasting was also the cheapest, a double whammy that satisfied this column’s deepest desires.
For this tasting we were joined by Jon Bonné, PUNCH’s senior contributing editor and the author of The New California Wine; Jeff Kellogg, wine director at Maialino; Michael Madrigale, head sommelier at Boulud Sud and Bar Boulud; Jack Mason, wine director at Marta; Ashley Santoro, wine director at Narcissa; and PUNCH’s New York wine columnist, Zachary Sussman. To the wines:
Weingut Jäger Zweigelt Rosé 2014 | $19
One of the great value producers from Austria’s Wachau region (ground zero for powerful, age-worthy grüner veltliner and riesling), Jager’s tiny five-hectare estate also happens to produces a top-notch rosé from the zweigelt grape. A perennial PUNCH house favorite, this is all red fruit with a wild, feral edge to it and plenty of steely minerality. [Buy] Importer: Grand Cru Selections
Leitz Pinot Noir Rosé 2014 | $18
Hailing from Germany’s Rheingau, Leitz makes its bones producing some of the region’s most compelling rieslings. Not to be outdone, they also pumped out our favorite (and best value) rosé in the tasting. Hardly short on acidity with delicate aromas of baking soda and rosewater. [Buy] Importer: Schatzi Wines
Red Car Pinot Noir Rosé 2014 | $22
Sourced from vineyards in the cool-climate western Sonoma Coast, this is a yearly favorite. Floral and high in acid with cherry fruit that, however lean, still pays homage to that California sun. [Buy] Importer: T. Edward Wines
Olga Raffault Chinon Rosé 2014 | $19
The Raffault wines remain some of the great values in classic cabernet franc, and this guy is no exception. Chinon rosé that leans in with plenty of herbal aromatics and backs it up with brambly red fruit and a lightning strike of acidity. [Buy] Importer: Louis/Dressner Selections
Karine Lauverjat Sancerre Rosé 2014 | $21
A sleeper entry in the tasting, Lauverjat—once a grower that sold their fruit to cooperatives that only recently began bottling their own wines—this has all of the brightness and minerality you’d expect from Sancerre, tucked into a tart red raspberry package. One of the great, relatively unknown values in rosé. [Buy] Importer: David Bowler Wines
MORE “HOUSE WINE”: