“Rosé, rosé how I love thee! Let me count the ways,” — Literally! As a seasoned rosé connoisseur, I drink rosé all… year… long. My love affair with the famed pink elixir happened a few years ago when I began experiencing intense discomfort in my stomach after a night of drinking full-bodied red wines. While I had zero desire to give up wine altogether, I also wasn’t a major fan of white wine at the time so I needed to find an alternative, enter rosé.  As I delved deeper into the world of rosé wine, I discovered a plethora of grape varietals, including Cinsault and Cerasulo d’Abruzzo, each offering its own unique flavor profile. I also marveled at the vast spectrum of pink hues, ranging from delicate pale pinks to rich, deep rubies and its expansive global regions from Provence to Armenia. Furthermore, I was captivated by the diverse styles of rosé, spanning from bone-dry and crisp to luxuriously sweet.

Thankfully, over the past few years, we’ve seen some misconceptions in the United States about rosé start to fade away. For example, the false impression that rosé is a seasonal wine made only to be imbibed during summer is one myth I’m happy to see disappear. Before rosé wine became incredibly popular in recent years, I often found myself frustrated when autumn arrived and my favorite rosés disappeared from wine store shelves. As I wandered through the aisles, baffled by why retailers and restaurants would remove them as soon as summer ended, you could hear me grumbling, “Why do they do this, wine gods, why!” Rosé’s versatility makes it a delightful choice for year-round enjoyment, offering fruit-forward flavors like strawberry, raspberry, citrus, melon, and cherries, complemented by fresh floral notes such as roses, hibiscus, and peony. Whether sipped poolside on a hot afternoon or paired with a cozy winter meal, whether you prefer a light and delicate Provence rosé or a bold and fruity New World rosé, there’s a style to suit every palate.

Instead of judging rosé by its color, focus on its aroma, flavor, and texture to assess its quality and complexity. To kick off your journey into the world of rosé wines, here are three delightful options hailing from various regions across California to pair with food or enjoy as a refreshing porch sipper!


Russian River Valley Rosé of Pinot Noir 2023

Russian River Valley, Healdsburg, California

Varietal Breakdown: 100% Pinot Noir

Get ready for a tropical dance party in your mouth with this beautiful pale salmon rosé of pinot noir. Picture yourself strolling through a tangerine and watermelon wonderland, with whispers of peach perfuming the air. As you take a sip, you’ll be greeted by a light, zesty body and a medium-plus acidity that’ll have your taste buds doing the cha-cha. The mouthfeel? Think balanced, round, and bright with a delicious blend of watermelon freshness and a touch of chalky minerality, with surprises like maraschino cherry and a sprinkle of white pepper adding to the fiesta. Hints of saline and lime zest leading to a dry and refreshing finish that’ll leave you craving another sip faster than you can say “strawberry madness!” Pair it with a platter of fresh seafood ceviche for a match made in paradise! 

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Brut Rosé 2020

Carneros, Napa Valley, California

Varietal Breakdown: 57% Pinot Noir, 43% Chardonnay

What’s summer without bubbles? Get ready to ignite your taste buds with a lively brut rosé that’s wild and brimming with brightness. First whiff aromas of gingerbread, zesty grapefruit, and a dash of caraway spice tantalizing your senses. This medium-bodied beauty boasts notes of pear skins and crushed almonds along with crisp strawberry and juicy apple flavors that dance on your palate, perfectly complementing the smoky richness of your summer BBQ fare. Its long and flavorful finish is a testament to its complexity, with yeasty brioche and creamy custard notes lingering on the tongue. 

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Aglianico Rosé 2023

River Ranch Vineyard, Jahant AVA, Lodi, California

Varietal Breakdown: 100% Aglianico

Crafted from a classic Italian variety with a French Provence twist, this gorgeous pastel pink hued rosé promises a journey of flavors that will tantalize your taste buds. Aromas are like a bouquet of ambrosia melon and macerated strawberry, with hints of grapefruit, guava, and freshly cut green grass. On the palate, tropical notes of passion fruit and under ripe strawberry and Asian pear are a lovely balance between ripe fruit and crisp acidity.

With a subtle hint of tannin, adding depth and complexity to each mouthful, the dry finish pairs well with a spread of Mediterranean-inspired delights, like grilled seafood, fresh salads, or a charcuterie board piled high with artisan cheeses and cured meats.

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Disclosure: Sample bottles of wines were received. Samples submitted to Shall We Wine are for review and thoroughly assessed before posting.