WINE SEARCHER

The World’s Most Wanted Rosés

It’s International Rosé Day, and we are just as excited about it as you are …
By Don Kavanagh

Of all the spurious “International X Day” celebrations that have sprung up around wine, you could argue that International Rosé Day is by far the most successful.

Perfectly timed to fall in summer, it attracts far more media attention that perhaps rosé production figures warrant; their number is far outweighed by their impact. That impact, however, might be reaching a ceiling; looking through the rankings of rosé wines suggests that there might be something of a blockage in the pipeline.

Is it really a year since I last sat down to this task? Can 12 long months really have elapsed since we looked at the most searched-for rosés? You’ll forgive my disbelief, because looking through this year’s list triggered a vivid case of déjà vu.

Not alone is the entire list virtually identical, but the order is too. In fact, there are only two new entrants in the list – Jon Bon Jovi’s strangely named Diving into Hampton Water replaces Robert Sinskey’s Vin Gris of Pinot Noir, while former French rugby international Gérard Bertrand’s Cote des Roses takes Suscaru’s spot.

Celebrity endorsement is certainly a major feature of many of the wines on this list. The level of interest in Whispering Angel was sparked by a podcast about the Real Housewives series of TV shows, while the Brangelina brand – sorry, former couple – has a slice of Château Miraval, an arrangement that has outlived their marriage. Wolffer Estate is so important to the Hamptons crowd that rumors of a shortfall led to major news stories in hitherto reputable newspapers.

But is it all about style over substance, or is there real traction to the rosé roll? It has become more acceptable as a drink across all strata of society and across genders, with the “brosé” boom a favorite topic of magazine supplements and weekend newspaper features. There is certainly a more consistent look to search patterns for rosé across the whole year, too, whereas it was previously a summer drink.

Rosé really is enjoying a surge in popularity, one that is more real than the so-called Riesling revival of a few years ago, or the Sherry fever that is apparently gripping the hip set in London and New York. But let’s keep a little perspective: wine makes up 87 percent of all searches on Wine-Searcher (spirits and “others” make up the rest), and that 87 percent is split 68:19 in favor of red wines.

While it’s difficult to isolate total rosé searches (because it is made primarily from red grapes), the total number of rosé wines accounts for just 2 percent of wines listed on Wine-Searcher. And the 10 wines listed below are the only 10 in the top 1000 most searched-for wines on the site. (There is one other wine in the top 1000, the R. Lopez de Heredia Gran Reserva Rioja Rosado. It would have been at #4 on this list, but we only have two listings for it and they’re both in Spain, so we have discounted it for the purposes of this list.)

The lack of any appreciable change in the list from year to year isn’t necessarily an indication that interest in rosé is growing or fading, but what is certain is that rosé is a category where a strong brand will always do well. And whether the rosé revolution is a genuine, sustainable, organic growth in interest in rosé wine styles, or simply a celebrity-driven blip, there is still plenty of room for growth.

1. Château d’Esclans Whispering Angel Côtes de Provence Rosé Top of the charts for the second year by a substantial margin, this is the wine that keeps on giving. Made from a blend including Grenache, Rolle and Cinsaut, it’s fresh, crisp, and has an aggregated score of 89 and a tidy average price point of $21.

2. Château Miraval Côtes de Provence Rosé This Cinsaut-Grenache blends from the South of France doesn’t necessarily need its weighty celebrity credentials – it has an aggregate score of 89 and you can get it as cheap as $15 a bottle, if you look hard enough.

3. Wolffer Estate Rosé This wine hit the big time in February 2017, when it was the most searched-for rosé on our database, and scaled the giddy heights of our rankings to sit at #130. It has settled back to 389th place since, but it’s still a solid performer, with an average price of $18 and an aggregated score of 88.

4. Wolffer Estate Summer in a Bottle Rosé The official wine of the Hamptons summer, this isn’t quite as complex as its stablemate, but who’s really looking for complexity when it comes to refreshing summer drinking? Mostly Merlot, with a dash of Chardonnay occasionally added, it’s relatively pricey at an average of $26, but you do get a score of 89.

5. Domaine Tempier Bandol Rosé This is the most expensive wine on the list with an average price of $38, but it does carry a certain cachet. It also carries an aggregated score of 91, which is impressively consistent across the past 11 vintages.

6. Diving into Hampton Water Vin de France Rosé Warning: bottle may get slippery when wet – I promise that’s the only Bon Jovi reference I’ll shoehorn in here. Jon Bon Jovi and his son have pretty much just released this wine (March this year), so it doesn’t have a score as yet, but at an average of $22 a bottle, does it really matter?

7. Château Minuty Côtes de Provence M de Minuty Rosé From the spiritual home of the globetrotting celebrity (Saint-Tropez, since you ask) this crisp, elegant wine is something of a charmer; its $17/88-point average price/score ensemble is particularly attractive.

8. Domaines Ott Château Romassan Bandol Rosé It’s one of the higher-priced wines on this list ($34 average price), but that does get you 90 points from our critics and a rather lovely nipped-waist bottle.

9. Mateus Rosé The classic; the Margherita pizza of rosé wine, proudly pink at a time when others feared to be. This is still a wonderfully drinkable and at an average price of $7, it’s by far the best value for money wine on this list.

10. Gérard Bertrand Languedoc Cote des Roses Rosé It’s probably unfair to label this a celebrity wine, given the nuggety flanker retired from top-level rugby to look after the winery following his father’s death. He now owns or manages 13 estates in Languedoc and this wine offers an aggregate score of 88 for a mere $15 average.