Vineyards & Wine

Drink Pink: The Top Rosé Wines to Add to Your Collection this Summer

Take a deep dive into top sommeliers’ picks of the most collectible (and ageable) rosé wines—excellent additions to both your cellar and your poolside

Though rosés are often known for their splashy “summer in a bottle” marketing campaigns, the best ones are not only effortlessly quaffable but also well deserving of space in the cellar—and a place on the table all year. As most winemakers will attest, top rosé wines have an innate ability to age and evolve alongside their vinous brethren.

“Over time, rosé takes on an oxidized, slightly nutty, orange-zest character that is great with food,” explains Elizabeth Gabay, a master of wine and author of Rosé: Understanding the Pink Wine Revolution. And the secret to finding one with the capacity to age well, she says, is to select a bottle based on quality, not color.

Christie’s Wine & Spirits cataloguer Caitlin Miller agrees: “More complex rosés that are not intended to be as fruit-driven can develop really nicely over time.” Miller also notes that while prestige and brand awareness always make wines more collectible, the structure of a wine itself is the most important element in terms of aging.

A bunch of Mourvèdre grapes on the vine—a variety used to produce top rosé wines
Mourvèdre grapes are known as Blanc de Noir (“white of a red grape”) and, by removing their skins before fermentation begins, provide rosé with its characteristic color and astringent tannins.

Though most famously made in Provence, quality rosé production can now be found everywhere from established wine regions, such as the Loire Valley, to upstart locales like California’s Sierra Foothills. And it’s in these vineyards that the wine’s structure—the elusive element behind the most valuable and ageable rosé wines—begins.

Often, these wines will be treated to the same careful vinification and aging processes as their red counterparts, with practices that enhance the natural characteristics of the grape varieties and which carefully coax the elements that will define a final wine—acidity, tannins, and sugar—from the vines.

For example, top rosé wines made from Pinot Noir—the famous, long-lived variety cherished in Burgundy and across the New World—are ideal for extended aging and long-term enjoyment. The wines combine citrus, herbal, and mineral notes, which add great complexity and are often crafted alongside Sauvignon Blanc from Sancerre and labeled simply “Sancerre Rosé.”

Late afternoon light illuminates view over vineyards leading to the hilltop town of Sancerre, Cher, France.
Produced only from this one-acre (0.4 ha) parcel of Pinot Noir in the French village of Chavignol, François Cotat Sancerre Rosé is exceedingly rare and has something of a cult following. Image: Alamy

“Rosé from Pinot Noir, produced in regions like the Loire Valley, results in a top wine with an incredible depth of complexity, which allows it to evolve really nicely,” says Miller, who recommends aged rosé from Sancerre vintner François Cotat. She notes that the aged bottles show “a really nice mix of earthy and mineral notes that give the wine tons of depth and complexity.”

In key appellations of Provence, such as Bandol, Mourvèdre grapes lend the wine structure, with earthy, mineral notes to balance the fruit. In 100 percent Mourvèdre and blended rosés, like those of Domaine Tempier and Château Pradeaux, this yields incredibly age-worthy results. “Regions like Bandol produce rosés with the structure, body and complexity to age well for a decade or longer,” says Miller.

In other instances, techniques in the cellar like oak aging give rosé wines the heft they need to develop over time. Château d’Esclans, for example, ages its signature Garrus rosé in oak, lending it a creamy body and the complexity to develop favorably in the cellar. In fact, it’s a wine that Gabay believes actually needs age to show its true colors.

A bottle of Whispering Angel Rose on a picnic blanket next to the river
With notes of cantaloupe, and peaches and cream, and a dry finish with a hint of minerality, Château d’Esclans’s perfectly balanced Whispering Angel Rosé routinely receives rave reviews from top sommeliers.

“Château d’Esclans Garrus or Les Clans are too young to drink now,” Gabay explains. “It’s like drinking a nine-month-old oaked Bordeaux or Burgundy—it needs time to develop. Older vintages of the oaked rosé, however, really work.”

In the neighboring Languedoc region, Gérard Bertrand likewise ages its Joy Rosé in oak, and is even holding some bottles back to develop a library of aged rosé wines to showcase.

“The great wines of Rioja are also excellent,” says Gabay, who notes that producers like López de Heredia make rosés that age beautifully.

Overall, exploring rosé styles and producers is crucial to enjoying these vibrant wines at their best. Gabay encourages drinkers to be experimental, especially as rosé offers more options for the curious drinker than ever before. “Don’t allow preconceptions of region, bottle shape, or price be your guide,” she says.

Banner image: The Palm by Château d’Esclans, described as a classic Provencal rosé that is perfect for summer.