8 Rosé Wines and When to Drink Them

Your guide to the summer rosé season.

Rosés are fun and frivilous, perfect for pool parties and lolling on the patio watching fireflies as the sun goes down. The wine that gave us the phrase “rosé o’clock” is having a moment. Rosés needn’t be an investment. In fact, there’s no reason to spend more than $25, with good ones under $15. The experts at Waterford, Thief Wine, Ray’s and Otto’s share the best picks from their shelves:

Photo by Matt Haas
For dinner in the garden, with lots of music

2017 Longridge “The Emily”

South Africa ($17)

A Chardonnay with a splash of pinot noir is how Thief Wine owner Phil Bilodeau describes this beauty. Smooth, citrusy and acidic enough to go with cheeses, chicken and summer vegetables.

400 N. Water St. and 4512 N. Oakland Ave.

For a romantic dinner:

2017 Hedges Family Estate, DLD “Le Rosé”

Columbia Valley, Washington ($18)

A creamy texture, says Nate Norfolk (of Ray’s Wine & Spirits), with melon and red fruit flavors. The bright acidity sings with a plate of pasta, salmon and even a dessert.

8930 W. North Ave., Wauwatosa

Kickoff a casual dinner party:

2017 Jean-Luc Colombo, Cape Bleue Rosé

Mediterraneé, France ($14)

Ray’s Norfolk favors this light “value priced” dry rosé for its raspberry and thyme notes. Melds beautifully with a cheese plate or grilled vegetables.

Companion for a burger or BBQ

2017 Hecht & Bannier Languedoc

Southern France ($13)

“Grippier,” Thief Wine’s Bilodeau calls it. Plus fruity (notes of strawberry, pineapple and watermelon) and dry, this wine has the body and crispness to stand up to red meat.

A delectably greasy meal:

2017 Domaine Saint Roch

Touraine, France ($14)

Using 100 percent gamay red grape, this dry choice has a “slightly herbaceous and chalky quality and reminds me of wild strawberries,” says Nate Norfolk, Moreover, it’s creamy and acidic, suited to fried fish.

Go solo:

2017 Maison L’Envoye Gamay Noir Rosé

Burgundy, France ($16)

A delicate, bone-dry texture but “juicy,” says Thief’s Bilodeau. Great with lighter foods, a cheese board or fish.

The ultimate apertif:

Gruet Brut Rosé, American Sparkling Wine

Albuquerque, NM ($17)

A sparkling rosé made in the traditional method of Champagne, France, but also dry (100 percent from pinot noir), so it is a little heavier-bodied. Andy Glende, of Otto’s in Brown Deer (4600 W. Brown Deer Rd.), says it’s also a natural for all kinds of appetizers, spicy food and even chocolate.

A buy-by-the-case sipper

2017 Ingrid Groiss Sommerwein, Rosé of Pinot Noir and Zweigelt

Weinviertal, Austria ($17)

The name translates to “summer wine.” Waterford Wine’s Joseph Kane calls it the very definition of a “patio pounder.”

1327 E. Brady St. and 631 Genesee St. in Delafield

By the Can

One of the newest trends in vino? Canned wine, and that includes rosé. These are not premium-quality quaffs, but easy-drinking party staples. They range from mini cans holding roughly 6 ounces to 12-ouncers and even tall-boys. Popular ones include Francis Ford Coppola “Sofia,” Underwood, and Amble + Chase. Cheap thrill? The fourpack of Simpler Wines at Trader Joe’s – a 4-buck canned chuck that’s priced exactly right.

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Ann Christenson has covered dining for Milwaukee Magazine since 1997. She was raised on a diet of casseroles that started with a pound of ground beef and a can of Campbell's soup. Feel free to share any casserole recipes with her.