Yes way rosé. Rosé all day. I could go on an on. And because it’s officially summer, and because everyone knows that rosé is the official drink of summer, that is officially doubly true. That is why today we’re talking about all things rosé.
Admittedly, before writing this my knowledge of rosé was a little limited — I knew it was pretty, I knew it was pink, I knew that it tasted good and I knew that it’s a pretty good way to get white-girl-wasted. But in just one morning of researching (it’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it), I’ve learned quite a bit. And of course I am dropping all of that knowledge on you.
Here’s what I (now) know. Rosé is a type of wine that incorporates some of the color from the grape skins, but not enough to qualify it as a red wine. It may also be the oldest known type of wine (who knew?), since it’s the most straightforward to make using the skin contact method. It also typically has a lighter alcohol content (especially English rosés), so you can enjoy a few more sips without feeling tipsy (score, #moredrinksplease). Side note: I also learned that although it may go against every grammar police bone in your body, the plural of rosé is indeed rosés.
And surprisingly there are quite a variety of rosés (besides just delicious). So no matter what kind of wine you like, there’s probably a rosé out there to suit your palate. If you’re more of a sweet and fruity type of guy or gal (no judgement), look for a pinot grape. But if something fuller is more your style, go with a Malbec grape — this will have a closer resemblance to red wine, just more refreshing. Merlot and Grenache are other good choices if you’re looking for something a little in between.
I also know that not all rosés are created equal when it comes to our health and the environment. Like any other wine, grapes for rosé go through a lot of the same farming practices that other crops do. This could mean hefty use of chemicals. Grapes, FYI, are part of the “Dirty Dozen,” which means they are one of the top 12 foods with the most pesticide residue. Which also means that that very same pesticide residue is probably making it into your wine.
But there are a lot of vineyards and wineries out there that are doing it better. There are also a couple different levels of “better,” so here you go:
- “Made with Organic Grapes” or “Made with Organic Ingredients” means that the wine that contains at least 70% organic ingredients. Sulfites can be added, but it may not beyond 100 parts per million.
- Organic means that the wine was made with 95% organically grown ingredients (the other 5% must not be available organically). On the label, you’ll see the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) organic symbol. Again the certifying agency must be listed. No sulfites are added, though the wine can contain naturally occurring sulfites.
- 100% Organic means the wine is made from 100% organically grown ingredients. The wine also was monitored throughout its entire production process. The bottle bears the USDA organic seal (the certifying agency must be listed). No sulfites are added, though it can contain naturally occurring sulfites (or sulfur dioxide, an antimicrobial substance).
- Biodynamic really goes above and beyond. Biodynamic means the wine is 100% organic, plus the grower has gone beyond to try to bring the farming process more closely in tune with nature.
But beyond that, all I still really know is that when the temps are soaring there’s nothing quite as refreshing as good glass of rosé. It’s perfect at brunch as an alternative to champagne (#boring…just kidding, I love champagne). It’s great on a sunny afternoon with a little snack (#morecheeseplease). And it’s the perfect little buddy to any fish dinner you might be enjoying plein air on those warm summer evenings. It can also make for some pretty smashing rosé cocktails, just sayin’.
So with that, I have gathered some of the best organic, made with organic grapes, biodynamic, etc., etc. rosés out there for all of your drinking pleasure. Happy sipping!
2016 A to Z Wineworks Rosé (Newberg, Oregon)
89 Points and Best Buy by Wine Enthusiast
Certified B Corp, A to Z Wineworks has worked with more than 100 vineyards in Oregon using biodynamic or organic principles. Their rosé opens with aromas of rose, strawberry, hibiscus, watermelon, lemon, thyme and orange peel. It’s followed by pomegranate, cranberry and wet stone. On the palate, red fruit flavors with refreshing acidity offer freshness while a creamy nature offers volume and length.
Bonterra 2016 Rosé (Mendocino, California)
Best in Class Domestic Dry-Rose Today 2017 Competition and Double Gold Medal-Rose Today 2017 Competition
All of Bonterra’s wines are made from 100% organically-farmed grapes certified by CCOF. They also have three single vineyard ranches certified Biodynamic by Demeter. This rosé is a dry, fresh wine with balanced acidity and low alcohol and has aromas of strawberry, key lime, rosewater and hints of pineapple. The vibrant bouquet is consistent on the palate, along with notes of ripe peaches, watermelon and pomegranate.
2016 Parducci Small Lot Rosé (Mendocino, California)
Parducci Wine Cellars is a family-run winery committed to protecting the health of their vineyards for future generations. To produce their wines, their carbon neutral winery runs on 100% green power and uses sustainable wine-growing practices.Their rosé, made from Grenache grapes, exhibits juicy tastes of watermelon and strawberries that lead to a creamy, vanilla-tinged finish.
Quivara 2016 Rosé (Sonoma, California)
93 Points by Wine Enthusiast
Quivira Vineyards is planted to mimic Mediterranean varieties of Grenache, Mourvèdre and Syrah, the backbone of most wines made in Provence and the southern Rhone Valley. Quivira’s home vineyard, Wine Creek Ranch in Dry Creek Valley, possesses a nearly identical climate to Provence, making it the perfect location to nurture the varieties universally considered to make the finest Rosé. Quivira’s 2016 Rosé, made with organically grown grapes is a Grenache-dominated vintage with a strawberry aroma followed by a delicate, yet full-flavored palate with flavors of white peach, nectarine, and orange rind.
Wine Art Estate Pink Bang 2016 (Drama, Greece)
Wine Art Estate has been using integrated viticulture since 2014. The winery mainly uses copper sprayings for pests, resorting to chemical treatment only as a last resort. The Pink Bang is not a typical Greek rosé. This Provence-style wine is made with the Portuguese Touriga Nacional grape. It has a mesmerizing pale pink hue and a very complex taste, which is a balance of fruity and spicy.
Mezzacorona Rosé (Adige Valley, Italy)
87 Points and Great Value from Ultimate Wine Challenge
Mezzacorona winery manages to limit insect reproduction, and pest control is further bolstered with copper and sulfur. The winery is on its way to being fully energy self-sufficient, and uses drip irrigation to save water. Their rosé has a complex aroma profile of wild red berries with floral notes of roses and geranium. The taste has a dark fruit note and is a balance between the fresh acidity that comes from the surrounding mountains and the full-mouthfeel typical of the Mediterranean climate.
Raimat Rosé (Lleida Province, Spain)
For Raimat, sustainable wine growing means ensuring the best quality product while minimizing the use of agricultural chemicals, cutting down waste and optimizing production methods. They control pests with the sexual confusion method and powers a fifth of its electricity through photovoltaic panels. It has been certified by the Catalan Council of Integrated Production and the Bureau Veritas for its sustainable production. Made from Cabernet Sauvignon and Tempranillo, their rose aromatic, sweet and crisp wine smells like candied roses.
Ciù Ciù Rosato (Marche Region, Italy)
Ciù Ciù winery is certified organic and is vegan on top of being sustainable. They don’t use chemical fertilizers, fungicides, herbicides, or pesticides, and the cycle of energy is circular as they use pomace (waste from crushed grapes) for electricity. Their rosé is made with Sangiovese and Montelpulciano grapes. It has intensely fruity scent (fresh fruit and cherries), met with the aroma of rose petals.
Esporão Defesa Rosé (Portugal)
This family-owned winery is sustainably farmed through various practices such as using green manures for green nitrogen fertilization. It is taking the steps to be certified organic by 2021. Their rosé is made from Syrah and Aragonez (Tempranillo) grapes, and brings an aroma of fresh red berry fruit with a touch of mint. The palate is intense with raspberry notes and a persistent acid finish.
Palmer Vineyards Rosé Merlot 2016 (North Folk, Long Island)
Established on the North Folk of Long Island in 1983, Palmer Vineyards implements sustainable farming practices. Their rosé is made solely from Merlot grapes. Slightly citrusy in both color and flavor, this rosé is dry and distinctive, with a palate that is an explosion of fruits with spice and floral accents.
Grgich Hills Estate Rosé 2016 (Napa, California)
This winery has been sustainable since its inception in 1977 and is now also certified organic. Their rosé is a blend made with many grapes but mostly Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, this dry and full-bodied rosé is reminiscent of the wines of the French coast.
Stemmari Rosé (Ragusa Province, Italy)
91 Points and Great Value by Ultimate Wine Challenge
As the first Italian winery to be honored with the Eco-Management and Audit Scheme, Stemmari Winery is committed to sustainability in winemaking. Along with using sexual confusion to limit pests, it also has solar panels to heat water and is almost fully energy independent. Their accessible rosé is made with the Sicilian varietal Nero d’Avola. On the nose it smells of sweet red berries mixed with the savory aromas of dried oregano, ripe tomato and pink peppercorn. On the palate, it has a fine mousse combined with more red berry fruits and backed by minerals and a savory edge.
Château d’Esclans Whispering Angel (Provence, France)
88 Points from Wine Enthusiast
Lovers of the insanely popular Whispering Angel rosé will be pleased to learn that Château d’Esclans uses natural and gentle sprays on their crop. They also limit their usage of water, and disinfect the stainless steel tanks with hot water rather than abrasive cleaning solvents. The wine is known for its glossy feel made from Grenache, Rolle, and Cinsault grapes. Fresh with red currants and red berries, it is lively and intensely fruity with just a hint of herbs at the end.
Stellar Organics Live-a-Little Rosé (Western Cape, South Africa)
Stellar Organics sources organic grapes from a number of independent farms. Workers on the farms and in the winery, including seasonal workers, own 26% of the enterprise through shares in the Stellar Empowerment Trust. This rosé, made from Colombar and Pinotage, has ripe strawberry and raspberry flavors on the nose. It has fresh acidity and a tropical fruity finish.
Stellar Organics Live-A-Little Slightly Sweet and Sassy (Western Cape, South Africa)
Another one from Stellar, this rosé is made with mainly Muscat d’Alexandrie with a little Pinotage. It has muscat, strawberry and candy floss on the nose. This lovely aroma follows through on the palate and combines with pomegranate notes to create a delicious sparkling wine with a well-balanced sweet finish.
Moonlight Organics Rosé from Stellar Organics (Western Cape, South Africa)
This one from Stellar has ripe strawberry and raspberry flavors on the nose, and fresh acidity and a tropical fruity finish. Made from Colombar and Pinotage grapes.
Running Duck No Sulphur Added Rosé from Stellar Organics (Western Cape, South Africa)
Last one from Stellar, made from mostly Colombar with a little Pinotage, this wine has a dark pink colour. Strawberries and dark cherry on the nose and mixed berry pie on the palate.
Elodie Cuvée Florale (Provence, France)
88 Points from Wine Enthusiast
Made with Organically Grown Grapes, the Elodie Cuvée Florale is Bureau Veritas Certified. The nose is powerful and elegant, with notes of grapefruit, white peaches and strawberry. The mouth is ample and fine, ending with refined flowery notes.
Pratello Chiaretto (Valtènesi DOC, Italy)
87 Points from Wine Enthusiast
Made with a blend of organically grown grapes (50% Groppello, 20% Marzemino, 15% Barbera, 15% Sangiovese).The aromas are clean, clear and unmistakable — ranging from the scent of the almond blossom in bloom, banana, to kaiser pears, to cedar, to golden apple. And it boasts a flavor of extensive freshness, the smooth taste of fresh grapes, with a neutral background and slight bitterness, reminiscent of bitter almonds.
Paloma Rosé Secco (Treviso, Italy)
Made with organically grown grapes this extra dry rosé is made with Prosecco and Raboso grapes. The wine, which is also vegan, has harmonic notes in the mouth with sweet fruity notes with hints of cherry and delicate florals in balance with a good acidity.
ASCELLA 2014 Rosé (Hunter Valley, Australia)
ASCELLA organic wines made using only organic grapes from our secluded vineyard. They care about your health and the health of our environment which is why they don’t spray their grapes with chemicals. Their Rosé is described as a Turkish delight with layers of citrus blossom. A refreshing and zesty wine.
ASCELLA 2014 Rosé Vescence (Hunter Valley, Australia)
Another from ASCELLA, this rosé has tropical fruit on the nose with a zesty and refreshing palate.
AOC Champagne Fleury Rosé (Champagne, France)
Silver Medal Mundus Vini 2016, 90 Points from the Wine Gang
The long time biodynamic estate, created this rosé from entirely biodynamic Pinot Noir. With rich, fragrant red fruits, the fine mousse and taste in the mouth seems to linger forever.
Domaine Jas d’Esclans AOC Côtes de Provence Cru Classé (Provence, France)
90 Points from Wine Enthusiast, Gold Medal at the Independent Winegrowers Competition, Gold Medal at the Concours General Agricole, Gold Medal at the Wine of Provence Competition, Gold Medal at the Mondial du Rose, Silver Medal at the Great French Wine Competition
The Domaine du Jas d’Esclans is one of the oldest estates of the Côtes de Provence, and has never used synthetic chemicals, which enabled them to obtain Organic Farming certification as early as 1990. With a nose of banana, apricot and dried fruits and a mouth balanced and ending on notes of candied fruit, their rosé is a fresh and fruity wine.
Rosé de Leoube Cotes de Provence (Provence, France)
90 Points Wine Enthusiast, Silver Medal Decanter World Wine Awards 2016, Silver Medal Provence Wine Competition 2016
Chateau Leoube are guardians of a back-to-basics philosophy that doesn’t deplete the land, but rather strengthens its biodiversity and natural defences by not using any destructive treatments. Made with organic grapes, the nose of this rosé is fresh, with a blend of exotic fruits and light spice flavors. The palate is supple and elegant and full of red fruit flavor.
To be continued (we have a lot of summer left ahead of us)…but in the meantime, what is your favorite organic rosé?