Quest for the perfect summer wine…a look back?

Wanting to love rosé…..

People’s individual preference for wine can be extremely subjective. Whenever a friend asks me to recommend a great wine, the dilemma is similar to an out-of-towner asking me for a great restaurant in Manhattan… there are plenty of them. As a friend, I want to make sure that they will be pleased with my recommendation. I also really enjoy introducing people to new things they have never tried.

Rosé wines seem to evoke very strong opinions. Some love them and consider the first sip to be the true arrival of summer. Others refuse to drink them saying that they are too sweet (rosés should not be sweet), too fruity, or simply that they would rather drink something else, when the weather heats up.


I  solicited many  peoples opinions, on their favorite summer wine, in person, and via social media, and one comment stuck with me, “I have had rosé wines and they are ok, but I haven’t found one that I love. I really want to love rosé”.

Rosé wines seem so European, so sophisticated, so cool. When people are sipping rosé at a sidewalk bistro they seem like they are immune to searing temperatures. In many ways they should be the perfect summer wine.

From time to time I find wines that satisfy most of my important qualities (different, but not too funky, delicious with food or without, are truly ready to drink upon release (when they first hit the shelves) AND don’t break the bank (around $15 retail).

The wines that meet these criteria I call “crowd pleasers”. Serve these wines and everyone is happy. Tell them the price and everyone is buying.


Over July 4th weekend I setup a rosé tasting with my wife, Kelly, mother-in-law, Hope, sister-in-law, Heather, along with their significant others, and some good friends, to see if we could find a pink “crowd pleaser”.

Four wines were recommended by serious rosé drinkers, and were purchased at wine shops across New York City. (jump right to the results)

The tasting was kept very informal. I provided a brief explanation of how rosé wines are made and how they should differ from the dreadful, White Zinfandel.

The instructions were simple:

We would be drinking blind. Bottles and corresponding glasses were numbered 1-4.

Participants should drink some wine out of each numbered glass, write down what they taste, and record their impressions (what they like, what they don’t like). Most importantly, rank the wines and guess the approximate retail price.

Unlike more formal tastings I encouraged everyone to talk and share opinions.


Tasters offered that they were frequent, but amateur wine drinkers, and only one, Heather, said that she likes and buys rosé wines often.

However, over and over, their blind observations were correct. “This wine is blah, very little there” (the lightweight wine of the group). “This tastes French” (it was). I didn’t care for this wine (the Italian wine) at first, but when I ate a bite of cheese it was much better…now I like it” (this wine had the most tannin-cheese softens tannin, so tannic wines “improve” with cheese).

For the “reveal” I read each wines country of origin, brief description and retail price. We went over each wine and we talked about their own written observations against the “expert” descriptions.

I think the photo below, showing the remaining wine in each bottle, taken an hour after we finished the tasting, best illustrates which wines were “best” on this day.

Do we have a “crowd pleaser” rosé wine? Not unanimously, but we had a pleased crowd!

First Place (empty bottle)-“Il Mimo”, Cantalupo

2nd Place– Ojai Vineyards

3rd Place– Mas des Bressades

4th Place– Côtes de Provence Rosé “MiP”

5 thoughts on “Quest for the perfect summer wine…a look back?

  1. Very interesting to see that the rose from Provence, whose made a significant industry out of rose wines and accounts for more than half their region’s production, came in fourth place. Very interesting indeed.

  2. I know this post was a while ago, but on the subject of whites. With Fall in the air, I’m considering serving a hearty cream based soup for dinner. Do you have a white wine that you would recommend? Also, Do you think that one should never serve red wine with a cream based soup?

    • Conventional (typical) pairing for cream soup would be an acidic white wine like Chablis (Burgundy, France) or Muscadet (Loire Valley France). Knowing that you like Italian wines you could also try Grechetto. Villa Fidelia Bianco at Zachys.

  3. Pingback: Great summer white wines! Memorial Day Part Deux…

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