Rosé All May (and June, and July, and…)

Honesty first: Spring is my least favorite season. I enjoy the crispness and snow of winter; I like sultry summer nights; autumn is my most favorite-est season on earth. But for me, spring is dismal—it’s tilting at rebirth, but things are still melting and it’s not warm enough to not have a coat, but also a coat is too warm and ugh…l don’t love spring. That being said, spring is when people not spoiled/cursed by moderate temperatures, such as I who lives in in LA, bring out the rosé. I’m a year-round rosé person. But I get it if you want to drink seasonally. I’m not like, a joiner, per se…but I like the IDEA of embracing seasonal activities even if in reality I’m cowering in dark shades and black capes while everyone else worships the sun. Whether I’m enjoying myself or not, these are the rosés I’d want in my glass for springtime festivities, plus a few summer ones because it’s not just rosé all day. It’s not just rosé all May. It’s rosé the spring and summer away. Here are your rosés of choice! THUNDERSTORMS/MAY GRAY I don’t know if rainstorms, or the cloud cover we Los Angelenos call May Gray (in May) and June Gloom in June (it sometimes extends to July, but there’s no good catchphrase there) count as an “activity”. But it is the sort of weather that calls for a moody, earthy, structured rosé to warm you up. And so, we look to the rosés of Bandol, that give thunderstorm vibes despite growing in sunny Provence. 2020 Domaine du Gros Nore Bandol Rosé Mourvèdre! Cinsault! Grenache! And a pinch of Clairette! These grapes construct a beautiful journey of a rosé. It comes in with a little damp earth and wet stone but is zingy as can be. It manages to be a bit brooding (it’s got a texture with a hint of tannic structure to it), but then mid-palate, it’s like a flash of sunshine peeking through. Floral notes bloom, purple-y fruits ripen. And the finish is more like dry pebbles. It’s a wine that metaphorically brings the sun from behind the clouds, all in one sip. MEMORIAL DAY BBQ There is nothing that a sparkling rosé cannot do. You want something that refreshes. You want something that feels celebratory. You want something to cut through the fat without exacerbating heat. And something that can complement a variety of sides. A Petillant Naturel is the way to go. Lenz Firefly North Fork of Long Island Pétillant Naturel Pet nats are made when the wine is bottled before finishing its fermentation. Because it finishes fermenting in the bottle, the CO2 gets trapped, and yay, you get bubbles. This one is juicy AF—ripe strawberries, raspberries and a hint of bubblegum and somehow it is all crisp too. On the finish, a swath of minerality and hint of yeast keep things refreshing. KITE FLYING Does anyone do this anymore? As I recall it was a lot of fun. Except for that time my friend’s dad’s prized kite got away from me. I digress. I wanted to pair kite flying with a wine from a windy region. The Languedoc is treated to the Tramontane, the Cers AND the Marin winds, the last of which supposedly makes people certifiably-ish insane. Based on my experience, boots on the ground, Languedoc’s 200 days/year of wind would make it prime kite flying terroir. Ergo drink the wines from the wind. 2021 Maison Lorgeril Ô De Rosé Brisk and light on its toes, but with a hint of umph (technical term). On the nose, it’s all wet stone and barely ripe strawberries, but on the palate, those berries are rrrripe, but tempered with hints of grapefruit rind and salinity. And seashells. Maybe it’s just the combination of salinity and minerality, but I maintain that it tastes like seashells. 2021 Chateau de Pennautier Cabardès Rosé Manages to be both zippy, broad, and plush on the palate all at once, so hats off to the region of Cabardès. There is a delightful preponderance of white pepper both on the palate and the nose. Chock-full of strawberries too, it reminds me of a favorite treat: strawberries sprinkled with pepper (in this case white) and splashed with balsamic vinegar (in this case also white). PICNIC You need a rosé that stands up to a variety of foods. You need one that is refreshing and elegant, but that has a bit of bite n grip (as one does), in case this is a spring picnic and oops! It is a little chilly. There’s bound to be cheese. And perhaps some springtime berries and charcuterie. Rosé of Syrah is your ticket to ride. It has bite and grip. As one does. 2021 Sosie Wines Vivio Vineyard Bennett Valley Rosé of Syrah Sonoma Syrah! On the nose, it is savory and herbal, floral in a white pepper-y way, and somewhat saline. On the palate, it is effortless—it has body but feels weightless. You get all the aromatics on the nose in addition to an abundance of pomegranate fruit, white peaches and again some sort of umami-adjacent element I can’t parallel with a foodstuff, so let’s just call it the hearts of Syrah; take that where your imagination will. It finishes with a refreshing wave. Truly a charming wine—it never shocks but enthralls. I’ve been a fan of Sosie for some time, and this first stab at still rosé since 2017 does not disappoint. HOLLYWOOD BOWL Apologies this is an LA-centric entry; feel free to call this activity “outdoor music and fireworks”. The thing with a long concert night at the Bowl is that you want something you can sip and contemplate while absorbing music, but you also want your friend who doesn’t EVEN know the glory of the Finger Lakes. Also, you want a wine that could be glou-glou poundable, but that is full and interesting enough to make a bottle (possibly two) last the concert. 2021 Weis Vineyards Zweigelt Dry Rosé Zippy and bracing—so refreshing at once filled with concentrated fruit. Keeps you going and you keep going, finding more. Behind fruit, pebbles and vanilla, fresh roses find their way into your mouth—de-thorned but also the memory of a thorn is there in the acidity and hint of tannic fun. 2021 Ryan William Vineyard Pinot Noir Rosé I should note I tasted the last three vintages but am reviewing the latest here as I presume it’ll be the easiest to get your sweaty wine-coveting mitts on. This is just delicious. That’s simplistic. There’s a ripeness of fruit and a hit of white pepper, and it almost finishes with blood oranges and salinity. Gulpably refreshing but also complex. BEACH DAY This falls more into the summertime rosé category-you need a wine that is juicy and easy going but delicious and thirst-quenching and seriously, Provence is beach vibes all day and night, no? 2021 Domaine Saint Andrieu Côtes de Provence Rosé Smells like white peaches and clear skies. A zinger on the tongue though. It’s a rapid-fire wine—at first sip it tingles the tongue, then floral notes, a hint of melon, again with the white peach accompanied by a gush of wet stone. If stone can gush. Finishes with a phantom citrus note, like there’s been a pink grapefruit waiting to jump out of the wine. 2020 Clos de l’Ours L’Accent Cotes de Provence Full on more than your typical (or what I think of as Provencal) rosé. Cherry Jolly Rancher and flowers on the nose. On the palate, more mineral and dry. Very dry and nuanced. And floral again. Really makes you want to shake your fist in joy—thank you Provencal for giving me life and complexity and (beach) body! POOL PARTY Why is pool wine different than beach wine? Honestly, it’s chlorine and vibes. If you are having wine at the beach, you are southern France sophisticated. Pool wine can be more casual. Pool wine can be off-dry, cause you know that some people are gonna stick some ice in those bottles if they’ve been in the sun. And maybe inexpensive so you can buy a lot. Don’t get me wrong, there are Vinho Verde rosés I’d serve at feasts, but also they can party. At the pool. Gazela Vinho Verde Rosé A little medium-dry, but sweet vibes are balanced with fruitiness and acid, so if you tell a person who doesn’t think they are supposed to like sweet wine that you, the expert, approve, they’ll be relieved to admit how into it they are. It’s got candied peach and raspberry notes, tempered with happy acidity and aloof tannins. The ones that are there aren’t gonna make a show of it. This is a rosé after all. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Want to read more from Ellen? Check out her recent articles: May the 4th Be With You Cocktails Lodi Rules Rock Kosher Wine: More Than Manischewitz Academy Wine In Honor of Women’s History Month You can also listen to Ellen's podcast , The Wine Situation here . Check out her recent transcripts of the Final Five questions: Wine Situation Final Five! Kathleen Willcox Wine Situation Final Five! Katja S. Newman

Weis Vineyards

Dry Finger Lakes Zweigelt Rosé 2021

A damn delight, somewhere between fascinating acidity plus fruit, and just gulp-ability. Smells of strawberries, wet stones and vanilla. On the palate the viniferous energy races, but the plush stewed strawberries slow it down. If you want to pound this, you do you, but also savor it, if you can help yourself. — 2 years ago

Aaron, Daniel P. and 12 others liked this

Château de Pennautier

Cabardès Rosé Blend 2021

I really love fresh ripe strawberries with a dash of balsamic and a sprinkling of balsamic vinegar and pepper. Strawberries tend to rip my mouth apart. This wine would be a good substitute should I get a craving for that treat albeit the peppery notes are more white pepper than black but ummm the wine is…pink all over (sorry I had to) — 2 years ago

Severn, David and 6 others liked this


Vivio Vineyard Rosé of Syrah 2021

Sosie’s wines continue to delight me. This one smells savory and herbal, a smidge floral…the palate has richness but feels light on its toes. And you get all the aromatics plus pomegranate and some sense of umami and all around I so very recommend. — 2 years ago

Severn, David and 7 others liked this


Firefly North Fork of Long Island Pétillant Naturel

Right now this is being identified as the Lenz sparkling rosé but it’s actually their pétillant naturel…the bubbles are gentle, the palate is juicy, the finish minerally…this is utterly as friendly as a warm summer night with a gentle breeze. — 2 years ago

barak heller, Josh and 14 others liked this
Ron R

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Nice words.
Ellen Clifford

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@Ron R why thank you! 😊

Maison et Vignobles Lorgeril

Ô de Rosé Languedoc Grenache Blend 2021

Bright n light but nicely ripe. Seaside wine. — 2 years ago

Eric, David and 8 others liked this

Domaine du Gros' Noré

Bandol Mourvedre Blend Rosé 2020

A little earthy and brooding but it’s got that mid-palate zip of sunshine and flowers. Love me some Bandol. — 2 years ago

Ira, David and 8 others liked this

Domaine Saint Andrieu

Côtes de Provence Rosé Blend 2021

Beach me up vibes all day baby. Smells like white peaches and clear skies and seashells. Zings on the tongue and you need that warming zing if like me you are gonna dip into the Pacific (soon I hope anyway I love the sea). The palate is chilled melon, gushing wet stone, and some sort of flower whose name I’ll never remember.
It’s terrible, I can name 7 synonyms for Tempranillo, but when it come to the rest of all botanica I can’t get it together.
Anyway. This finishes a with a hit of grapefruit flavor so from stone fruits to melon to citrus it runs the fruit gamut.
Gushing wet stone is the through-line. I don’t know if it has a dramatic arc but I don’t think it needs it.
— 2 years ago

Peter, Bob and 12 others liked this

Sogrape Vinhos

Gazela Vinho Verde Rosé Blend

Here for a Vinho Verde in general. Especially a rosé. Easy going unless you refuse to admit to yourself you enjoy wine with a hint of rs. — 2 years ago

Severn, Eric and 4 others liked this

Clos de L'ours

L'Accent Rosé Blend 2020

Cherry Jolly Rancher and flowers nose. On the palate dry and more mineral. Nuanced. Then floral again. I adore. — 2 years ago

Severn, Eric and 7 others liked this