“Rosé is best fresh,” says Marco Pasanella, the proprietor of Pasanella & Son Vintners in downtown Manhattan. “If you buy rosé in February, from the year before, you’re losing a bit of the spirit behind it.” That spirit is usually reserved for spring and early summer, when the first rosés of the year become available at wine stores across the country. “Rosé equals relaxation, feet up, picnics in the park and outdoor concerts,” says Pasanella. “The image, I think, is sometimes stronger than the wine.”
Rosé, also known as rosato and rosado, first and foremost, denotes the pink color of the wine — a result of production, where the juice is vatted with grape skins for a short amount of time before fermented — and can be made with a variety of different grapes or blends. Though many historians believe rosé-style wines date back to the ancient Greeks and Romans, its spiritual home is southeastern France, where many of the world’s best rosés are made.
“Rosé tends to be dry and herby,” says Pasanella. He recommends it chilled — always — and paired with light, Provençal foods like chicken or fish. In that spirit, here are three of his favorite French rosés for the season.
Earl Georges de Blanquet Vin Sentier de Provence
“Even though this is an inexpensive Provence wine, the maker takes it very seriously,” says Pasanella. “For example, he only uses native yeasts, and he doesn’t add lactic acid — a trick used to artificially add that buttery toast to wine. He also uses his best grapes, which I really like. It’s the real deal.”
Producer: Earl Georges de Blanquet | chateaubas.com
Region: Coteaux d’Aix en Provence, France
Domaine Lafond Tavel Roc-Epine
“Tavel is the only place in the world where they only make rosé,” says Pasanella. “The wines are typically more fruit driven — but you still wouldn’t call them sweet; it’s more of an off dry. This one, in particular, is a fancier rosé, made from a blend of Grenache and Cinsaut. It’s probably the best wine to come from Tavel.”
Producer: Domaine Lafond | domaine-lafond.com
Region: Tavel, France
Pascal et Nicolas Reverdy Sancerre Terre de Maimbray
“Of the three rosés here, this is probably the most stylish,” says Pasanella. “The domaine is based to the north of Sancerre in Maimbray. It’s a little off the beaten trail, it’s more limited. Plus it’s got the packaging — very chic. Sancerre is usually a white wine, but occasionally you get things like this rosé. It’s not as herby as the Sentier, but not as fruity as the Tavel; it’s in between, and very good.”
Producer: Pascal et Nicolas Reverdy
Region: Maimbray, France