Valentine’s Day can arguably be one of the most unromantic days of the year. Manufactured and commercialized, this “Hallmark” holiday has long lost any true semblance of authenticity. This year, why not turn the table on this lovers’ holiday and instead of the traditional prewritten card and box of chocolates, find a wine elegant enough to seduce without all the trappings. Unlike the garish white Zinfandels, this selection of a dozen of my favorite rosés are all made in a dry, elegant style with delicate flavors and aromas. A true seduction in a glass, these wines will make your night a memorable one.
1. Piedrasassi Rosé Sangiovese, Central Coast, CA ($15)
Made by one of my all time favorite winemakers, Sashi Moorman, this playfully termed “Bro-sé ” is named as such for its intriguingly masculine structure. A rosé of Sangiovese, made in the fresh Beaujolais style of carbonic maceration, the wine dances across the palate with its vibrant acidity and bright notes of strawberry and cherry. No sulfur addition, all native yeasts. The absolute perfect pizza pairing wine!
2. Chateau Miraval Rosé, Provence, France ($25)
Made on Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s 1,000-acre Estate in Southern France, with assistance from one of France’s most highly-renowned winemakers, Marc Perrin, this elegant rosé was Wine Spectator’s top rosé of 2013! An elegant blend of Cinsault, Grenache, Syrah and Rolle, the wine displays bountiful floral aromas and fresh fruity flavors, coupled with a long, rounded finish. The ultimate lovers’ wine to help you channel your inner Brangelina!
3. Scholium Project “Rhododactylos” Lodi, CA ($24)
This gem from Abe Schoener is made from Cinsault, grown from 140-year old vines in Lodi, harvested ripe and pressed whole-cluster with the greatest of delicacy, providing a fresh and direct mouthfeel. Powerful from the old vines and good ripeness, but still light on its feet, this rosé is tingling with freshness.
4. Clos Pepe Brut Rosé Sparkling, Sta. Rita Hills, CA ($54)
A great wine made through a partnership with Lompoc’s prize bubbly producer, Flying Goat Winery, this sparkling rosé is made from 100% hillside estate grown Pinot Noir. Produced in the traditional Method de Champenoise, this rosé offers notes of bright apple and hints of unripe cherry. Bone dry, complex, with a layered minerality. Pair with oysters for the ultimate aphrodisiac.
5. Arnot-Roberts Rosé, Lake County, CA ($25)
Arnot-Roberts’ pale salmon colored rosé is made from Portuguese varietals Touriga Nacional and Tinta Cão, grapes normally utilized in Port production and rarely seen growing in California. A plush rosé filled with gorgeous strawberries and other red fruits. Offering ample natural acidity, elegant aromatics, and a crisp saline finish, this wine is sure to tantalize your taste buds.
6. Chateau de Roquefort Rosé “Grêle” Provence, France ($19)
An inspiring example of love and partnership: after a devastating hail storm destroyed the majority of this Provence winery’s vineyards, 35 growers throughout the region donated sections of their own harvest to create this collaborative blend of Grenache, Syrah and Carignan. Ripe red fruits and floral undertones, this wine’s luscious textures will seduce your palate.
7. Giornata Pinot Grigio Ramato Paso Robles, CA ($30)
Not technically a rosé but rather a white wine masquerading as one, this Pinot Grigio from Giornata is a member of an alluring fourth category of wine known as orange wine: white wines made in the style of a red. In this case, the grapes are fermented on the skins giving the wine a complex tannic structure. On the nose, you’ll find passion fruit, jasmine, honeydew, and plumeria. The palate is light and crisp with lemon rind and plum notes with a hint of white pepper on the finish.
8. Shvo Rosé Israel ($25)
This interesting rosé is made entirely from Barbera grapes, grown in the Upper Galilee region of Israel. Light salmon pink in color and remarkably well balanced with appealing plum, cherry, berry and raspberry notes and even a light hint of tannins, all leading to long and supple finish.
9. Villa Creek “Pink” Rosé, Paso Robles, CA ($14)
A beautiful salmon color, this rosé from one of the star producers in Paso Robles, is light-bodied with subtle honey and rose petal aromas, bright red fruit flavors on the mid-palate and a dry, mineral finish. Subtly attractive, it is refreshing on its own or paired with light appetizers.
10. Donkey and Goat “Isabel’s Cuvee” Grenache Rosé, Mendocino, CA ($20)
This crisp, food-friendly rosé is inspred from the rosés of the Languedoc-Roussillon in France. An inviting nose of juicy strawberry and ripe cantaloupe, with hints of olive and tomato leaf. It is at once refreshing and complex, with lively acidity and a savory component to the quenching finish. A superb, all-occasion rosé!
11. Broc Cellars Rosé, Santa Ynez Valley, CA ($19)
A rosé of Counouise and Cinsault with deep red berry fruit on the nose and palate and gorgeous floral aromas. Pale salmon color with a kiss of spice and a full and round mouthfeel. A rarity, only 112 cases produced.
12. Laetitia Sparkling Brut Rosé, Arroyo Grande, CA ($30)
This refreshing, traditional salmon colored sparkling wine with floral and strawberry aromas is pleasing to both the eyes and nose. Earthy richness of Pinot Noir marries with hints of soft melon. Undertones of citrus come through on the palate and leave with a clean crisp finish.