You asked for it, so here they are: my top rosé picks for 2020.
There really is nothing better than a glass of rosé on a hot day. And once the mercury starts to rise, the liquor stores are so full of options it’s hard to know which one to choose. Rosés come in all sorts of styles, and it takes some trial and error to find your favourite.
After years of being an avid rosé drinker, here is what I personally look for in a rosé:
Mel’s rosé checklist
- Pale salmon colour
- Price tag under $20
- High acidity
- Dry (very low residual sugar)
- Easy drinking
So without further ado, here are my 2020 recommendations (for the first half of the year, at least), in ascending order by price.
1. Terres de Saint-Louis – best value rosé
This is an excellent baseline because it hits all the points I am looking for in a rosé:
- High acidity – Acidity is the component in a wine that gives it crisp structure and makes your mouth water. It makes you want to take sip after sip, but also makes a wine super food friendly. This bottle certainly boasts lots of acidity.
- Dry – I tend to shy away from sweeter wines, especially in my rosés. At 4 g/L, this falls under the extra dry category, just how I like ’em.
- Affordable price – this one goes for $13.20 at the LCBO, so I feel no guilt about buying a whole case.
- Easy-drinking – Is this a bottle I can open up for some afternoon backyard sipping? Absolutely. This is easy to drink on its own or with food. It has lovely notes of wild strawberries, cranberry (without the tartness) and a hint of citrus.
This offering from the Estandon co-operative in Provence is an AOC Coteaux Varois made from syrah grapes. It’s definitely one of my summer 2020 go-to’s.
Tried, tested and true pairings: Goat cheese, summer salads
Medeiros rosé 2019
This is a another fabulous offering from the Alentejo region in Portugal. When I first opened this little number up I was a bit concerned. It was quite shy on the nose and the palate and I feared that it wouldn’t stand up to flavourful food like the baked salmon, nutty quinoa and garlicky kale we were about to eat. But this wine is absolutely dynamite with food and definitely held its own with all the strong aforementioned flavours. We ended up nearly polishing off the entire bottle in one sitting. Danger!
This blend of touriga nacional, syrah and aragonez hits all the points above (it’s got great acidity, only has 3 g/L of sugar, and is suuuuper easy to drink). Give it 5 minutes to warm up a bit after taking it out of the fridge, so it can reveal its delightful strawberry and grapefruit notes. At an incredibly low price of $13.95, this one’s a keeper!
Bonus points for the beautifully simple label with raised gold foil lettering.
Tried, tested and true pairings: Salmon, quinoa salad
3. Kim Crawford rosé 2019
I can’t in good conscience write a post about rosé without mentioning my old friend Kim Crawford. Ok I’ve never even met the guy, and actually the winery is no longer even owned by its namesake, yet I feel like his wines are such an important part of my life.
I fell in love with this rosé back in the day when it was still called “Pansy!”. I recently rekindled my feelings for it after bringing it to a physically distanced backyard gathering with friends, where it was a huge hit. It definitely fits with my checklist (with the possible exception of colour). Hawke’s Bay, where this New Zealand wine’s merlot and malbec grapes are grown, is known for its dry, high-acidity wines.
This rosé is dangerously drinkable and won’t last long at parties – guaranteed. And while it is a bit pricier than the first two options, it’s still under $20. Only available seasonally in Vintages. Stock up now.
Tried, tested and true pairings: Hummus and chips, smoked salmon canapés
Buy local option
In my buy-local push earlier this year to help local wine businesses affected by the COVID shutdown, I ended up with a few Ontario rosés, despite the fact that they generally do not meet my rosé criteria. For one thing, the style generally seems to be more fruit-forward, with slightly higher residual sugar. Of the Ontario rosés I have tasted, the one that comes closest to my preferred style is Malivoire’s Moira rosé from Niagara. But it comes at a price ($24.95, to be exact). I discussed why Ontario wines tend to be priced higher than their international counterparts in this detailed post.
All this to say that I basically throw my checklist out the window for Ontario rosés because they are an entirely different beast.
Two Sisters Vineyard Margo rosé
This was the wine I chose to open to celebrate yesterday’s National Rosé Day. This gorgeous bottle was part of a Care Package lovingly curated by Savvy Company. They do a great job of bringing together the best Ontario wines that you won’t find at the LCBO, and the Margo is one of them.
The colour is a bit darker than the wines above, but still a gorgeous shade of salmon. On the nose I got orange blossom, strawberry and honey. The first sip was exciting. Had I inadvertently opened a bubbly? Nope, but there was a hint of peppery effervescence that sure got my mouth watering. It quickly dissipated, leaving behind flavours of wild strawberry, watermelon, rhubarb and honey. At 8 g/L of sugar, it was on the sweeter end of “dry”, but this sweetness was easily balanced out by the acidity.
This one’s sure to be a crowd-pleaser and can be acquired directly from the winery. Bonus: 10% off all online orders right now, so go ahead and splurge!
Tried, tested and true pairings: Baba ghanoush dip, Asian stir-fry (the acidity and sweetness do a great job of cutting through the salty/spicy sauce)
What’s your rosé style? What did you open this weekend to celebrate sunny skies and National Rosé Day? Let me know in the comments!
P.S. You can find all my rosé reviews through the years by clicking on the Rosé category at the bottom of this page. You can also click here to read about the different ways rosé is made, and here for my 2016 recommendations.