The world seems to have embraced the notion that rosé is meant to wear only the palest shade of pink.
That is not remotely true. Pale rosés may be the most fashionable wines among the “Yes Way, Rosé” enthusiasts. But rosé encompasses an entire spectrum of hues and colors, from a barely discernible tinge of amber to translucent ruby.
This month we’re going to examine the darker side of rosé. Partly, this is because heading in the opposite direction of the crowd is often an excellent strategy for finding value in wine. But mostly because dark rosés can be astoundingly good.
Two of my absolute favorite rosés, Domaine Ilarria’s Irouléguy Rosé and Château Simone’s Palette Rosé, are decidedly dark. These are gorgeous wines and age beautifully, contrary to the notion that rosés wither and die after Labor Day.
We won’t be drinking those, as the Ilarria is too hard to find and the Simone is too expensive. Here are the three wines I suggest:
Broc Cellars North Coast Love Rosé 2020 $20
Tiberio Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo 2020 (The Sorting Table, Napa, Calif.) $20
Château de Trinquevedel Tavel 2020 (Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant, Berkeley, Calif.) $21
Sharp-eyed readers may remember that we drank the Tiberio Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo 2019 last year in exploring an assortment of different types of rosés. I hesitated to suggest it again, but decided to go ahead because it seemed as if it might be easier to find than other cerasuolos I had in mind. And it’s so reliably good.
As for the other two, Broc Cellars is an excellent new wave California producer, while Château de Trinquevedel is a traditional producer of Tavel, a once-popular appellation in the Southern Rhône Valley that produces only rosés, which are generally full-bodied and dark.
If you cannot find these producers, use your eyes to pick out rosés that are darker than the rest. Other Cerasuolos d’Abruzzo and Tavels will certainly work, and you might be lucky enough to run into an Ilarria or Simone.
These dark hues may call into question the definition of a rosé. In Spain, for example, a clarete is a pale red wine. It’s easy to consider it a rosé, or rosado, but Spaniards will argue that no, it’s a clarete.
By the way, I certainly don’t mean to suggest that pale rosés are necessarily bad. Many are overly manipulated, though some can be excellent. But the rosé category extends beyond the pale.
I’m not going to suggest dishes with these wines. You tell me, please, what you liked best with them. I will say, serve them chilled but not too cold so any nuances are not lost. If that’s too vague, pour yourself a glass out of the fridge, but permit it to last long enough to reach room temperature, tasting at regular intervals. You can always use a second glass if you get thirsty.
Join the Discussion
Eric Asimov, The New York Times wine critic, is discussing the darker side of rosé. Sample wines, and as you sip, ask yourself these questions. Join the conversation by sharing your thoughts in the comments of this article.
Do you have a preconceived notion about what constitutes a rosé?
How does the wine change as the temperature changes?
How do these differ from paler rosés?