still rosé: does it achieve the same heights as white?

Do still pink wines achieve the depth and complexity of the best still white wines?

  • yes
  • no

0 voters

Some recent discussion of Tempier got me thinking about this question again. I am using white for comparison because I think it’s generally more similar to rosé than red is. Do you think still rosé wines achieve the complexity of the great white wines of the world? I have been impressed by some Riesling, Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, Friulano, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris, Grüner Veltliner, and probably some other white wine grapes in ways that no still rosé has ever caught my attention. I haven’t had some of the most notable (supposedly) examples, such as Rosé des Riceys, Chateau Musar Rosé, and Sine Qua Non’s versions, so I’m not saying that I think such still pink wines don’t exist, but I certainly have not personally seen any compelling evidence that the depth of flavor evident in so many white wines exists in still pink form. Please discuss.

Maybe Lopez de heredia

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Why does it need to? The vast, vast majority is less than $40, tastes great in the summer and works great with a terrific variety of food. I don’t want my Rose to reach the heights of the great wines that have richness, depth, layers of flavor, ageability and crazy complexity. I love delicious Rose but sure don’t expect it to some up to the level of Batard-Montrachet or some such.

I’m not only talking about the level of Batard-Montrachet. Tempier’s version is quite pricey, seemingly because it’s one of the best, yet I don’t think it measures up to similarly priced whites from a number of places. So, to answer your question of why it would need to, it doesn’t have to be as good as some multi-$100 bottle, but I think it should be as good as a similarly priced, let’s say Gruner Veltliner for instance, which I think can be really great. (Tempier is $40-$50 around here) So, maybe my question isn’t phrased well, but even along the lines of your point, why is it that rosé is relegated to this drink-for-refreshment category? Isn’t there greater potential?

The best rosés I’ve had pale in comparison to most of the better whites I’ve had. I’m biased, though, since I simply can’t think of a time I’d rather have a rosé than a red OR a white. I’ve never really gotten the allure.

still rosé: does it achieve the same heights as white?

I would first query as to how many people have had that were designed to be anything more than something to taste during the summer. Most just aren’t made or expected to be more than a young drink. So if you’re asking “does” it, clearly the answer has to be no. If you’re asking “can” it, I don’t think anyone knows that answer right now.

LdH did NOT start out to make a rosado that was going to age. It was rather more by accident but they’re very smart people and they know that they have a cult following, so they sold it as a Gran Reserva. I applaud their entrepreneurial spirit and I like their wine but they’re pretty much the data point and their rosado is not nearly as good as most of their whites. It’s mostly just interesting.

I would suspect that if you had a vintage that wasn’t going to be an excellent red wine vintage but you wanted to take a chance, you might change your plans, harvest a bit earlier, and make a rosado. Not as an afterthought or a bleed-wine, but as the main point. In that case, one might be able to achieve something pretty interesting. But even in those cases, it would probably be a one-off, as there is so much good white wine produced.

Now as far as being as good as a Gruner Veltliner in the same price range (or double) that’s a pretty low bar. If that were the only measure, I’d say that the answer is a definitive yes. But if the world of white wine were the bar, it’s not even close at this point.

I’d just call it different. Some interesting examples are now coming out of California. Bedrock probably makes my favorite from old vine Mourved. I just ordered some from Arnot-Roberts that I’m looking forward to trying.

There are times/situations/pairings where Rose is the perfect choice. I’m enjoying it more and more.

All the cooments here are spot on. I just think of Rose as such a specific wine. I do drink it all year but in the summer we punish the Roses we like. Generally though we are also arounf $12-$15 wholesale. I’m not looking to be moved nor do I age them (although others here have talked at length about that at times) so I’m not in the comparison business. Rose makes me happy and when I have it on sunny, beautiful days with salads and fish and octopus and fun food it makes me think of Provence and I don’t need it to be anymore evocative than that. They are what they are and you either have a spot in your heart for them or not.

I’m with Jim Anderson on this. Rose does not reach the heights of the better whites, nor should it be expected to. It is a fresh young thing to enjoy in the summer (mainly). The idea of an expensive rose is frankly just a dumb idea IMO. Rose can be perfect for the right use, but trying to wedge it into the wrong use is a fail. Making rose out to be a wine to savor and contemplate and to deliver an experience that is intellectually uplifting is just folly, IMO. Over a delicious slightly-chilled rose, one should discuss the events of the day, or plans for tomorrow, rather than the intricate merits of the wine. Just my $0.02.

I’ll qualify that Lew. I think it could be made to reach the heights of white or red wine, and perhaps that is the case for outliers like Lopez de Heredia. Most Rosé though is not made with that purpose in mind (ability to age and true depth), it is made for the summer drinking pleasure it can deliver so beautifully. That said, having played around the odd barrel of a rosé that is vinified much more like a blanc de noir (very pale, direct press or very early saignée), you can easily get a wine of interest that ages. But let’s face it, I’m not about to do this with the Grand Crus… Château d’Esclans is making some premium and very ambitious rosé, fermented in large new oak barrels. I must admit that I was totally unconvinced, but perhaps with age?

From our Provence experience at Triennes, I do find that what makes the strength of Provence rosés is that most of them are reliant on Cinsault, a grape that is not truly suited to making red wine and which is consequently devoted to Rosé production. Provence rosé is not a saignée, not a by-product of red wine, it is directly pressed, devoting 100% of the juice to rosé production. It means that the grapes can be picked when they have the right ripeness levels for Rosé: remember that the saignée of grapes harvested for a 13.5% red would result in a 14.2% rosé, more or less. So while perhaps rosé could reach the heights of a good or great white wine, I would hate to see much more than a handful of rosés take that road as there is so much it can offer in the inexpensive joyful drink it provides.

(Edit: I am a producer of red and white in Burgundy with the occasional pink experiment. I am a part owner of Triennes, a Provence winery which produces pink, white and red wines)

I suspect a rose made from Pinot Noir from an exalted terroir would be fantastic but the social and economic pressures against it would keep this from happening. There were times in history when both Bordeaux and Burgundy were essentially made as roses and these wines were renowned.

So while most rose is simple and fun I think it is because it is made this way, not because it is an intrinsic attribute of the genre.


Tempier is the one “true rosé” I’ve had that gives me even a moment of pause in providing my answer. It is probably my second-favorite rosé that I’ve had, behind Musar. But, Musar’s rosé is not a true rosé: it’s a blend of Musar’s white and red wines. Even if I were to include Musar in the equation, my answer remains the same; it just doesn’t achieve the heights of the best whites I’ve had.

Fred Scherrer once made a wonderful Rose from Pinot and Zin grapes.

I’m with those who say that the vast majority of rose is not made to be a “serious” wine but that there is no reason why such wines cannot or should not be made (with LdH being an example I love).

Of course I also love a delicious simple inexpensive rose and they I am very happy to drink those as well. I just select it for different food and circumstances.

I drink wine with lunch so infrequently it that may as well be never, and currently I work several nights a week, so those remaining nights when I’m going to have some wine I want something interesting. I used to promote rosés as the perfect bridge wine between whites and reds, great for lighter summer meals, etc., but the truth of the matter is that I finally realized that I’d never had a particularly interesting rosé, and certainly never a compelling one. Nothing wrong with them, but if I’m choosing between potentially very interesting, and light and refreshing, I’m going for door #1 every time.

I do find that no wine pairs better with a salad of greens and a vinaigrette dressing than does a rosé.

Your first point is one that I’ve been considering, since I have read that as well. Maybe your second point is true. It’s all I can think. It does answer what would be my followup question, which would be “if not, why?”. I’m not saying I don’t like pink still wines, but I am questioning why it is that it doesn’t find forms of greater complexity, which is what people commenting here seem to be agreeing with (though I see a couple of “yes” votes and I would be interested to hear from those people). I can understand that the category isn’t expected to be “serious”, so maybe it’s not financially feasible to attempt that style, but I would think there would be a few nuts out there trying anyway. It interests me to see the comment here about someone who tried and might not have succeeded. I am not surprised, but I wonder what it is holding that wine back.

I would like to see a more expensive pink still wine that’s worth the money, but for now, I haven’t. That’s why I would prefer a $18-$22 rosé from Provence any day over a Tempier – I think the former is just as good for half the price. I’ve only had one Tempier Rosé, so I will try more before giving up on it completely, but the one I tried only convinced me that there was no reason to buy more. I think Chateau Peyrassol, for instance, is just as good. That’s one of my favorite rosés, but it is very good in my mind, not outstanding.

I can understand putting Lopez de Heredia in a separate class. The wines are unique for their mature characteristics. I would say, though, that to me, they are interesting for being different, not for being all that complex. I still don’t think they have the depth of any number of really good white wines.

I’m in the “I’m looking for fresh and fun food accompaniment, not something to challenge the Steiner Hunds, Corton Charlemagnes, and CSHs” camp. However, beyond LdH (which I like a lot) the better Sancerre roses (especially F. Cotat, if you can find it- does Pascal make a pink?) are pretty serious wines for their price range.

I would certainly hope this $75 rosé is a serious wine: