Well, it's finally and truly official: Pink wine is hip. Those who needed convincing got the memo earlier this spring with the widely reported launch of Miraval, a high-end Provencal rosé from the hippest wine-making couple on the planet, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Produced from their 1,000-acre organic estate in Correns, France, the first lot of 6,000 bottles, priced at $23 (U.S.), sold out in March within five hours of release. (No word yet on a possible Canadian launch.)
Not your typical celebrity cuvée, this one comes with the Midas touch of Rhône Valley royalty. It was crafted in partnership with the Perrin family that owns Château de Beaucastel, the famous and expensive Châteauneuf-du-Pape. And it hails from a property with a notable feature: the recording studio where rock band Pink Floyd recorded part of their grand concept album, The Wall. (Before Brangelina moved in, in fact, the estate had been bottling a rosé called – you guessed it – Pink Floyd.)
But you don't need big names, or $23, to savour the springtime satisfaction of fine, berry-scented dry rosé, a wine typically made by letting the juice of red grapes remain in contact with colour-bearing skins for mere hours rather than days. I think the selections here are, as the French might say, très jolie.
Joie Farm Rose 2010,
Score: 90 Price: $20.90
Inspired by the regal and hard-to-fine pink wines of Sancerre in the Loire Valley, this B.C. blend of mainly pinot noir and gamay delivers a burst of red-berry fruit. It starts with subtle sweetness, but fresh acidity works its magic in the second act as the wine builds to a crisp, dry finish. Available in private stores in the West.
Chateau La Tour de L'Évêque Rosé 2012, France
Score: 90 Price: $18.95
Situated about 70 kilometres east of the Pitt-Jolie estate, Château La Tour de L'Eveque captures the classically dry, delicate style of Provence beautifully. This one offers bright raspberry, herbs and spices and glows with an enticing salmon-copper hue. Available in Ontario.
Domaine Des Carteresses Tavel Rosé 2012, France
Score: 90 Price: $16.95
Fans of serious rosé know that the grandest style of all hails from Tavel in the southern Rhône Valley, with examples that often acquire complexity with a few years in the cellar. Here's a case in point. The Carteresses is chewy and substantial, with notes of strawberry, watermelon, grapefruit and herbs carried on silky texture. Available in Ontario.
Carte Noire Rosé 2012, France
Score: 89 Price: $15.95
The curvy, hourglass-shaped "flûte à corset" bottle might remind you of Angelina Jolie in a clingy dress. But it's what's inside that counts, of course. Bone-dry and tangy, this popular Provencal offering hints at strawberry jam and herbs. $16.99 in Newfoundland.
Château Val Joanis Tradition Syrah Rosé 2012, France
Score: 88 Price: $14.95
From the Rhône Valley, this bone-dry gem is light in colour and body but comes through with more complexity than one might at first expect. It's vibrantly spicy – think of tart strawberries dusted with herbs and cracked pepper. Available in Ontario.
Muga Rosé 2012, Spain
Score: 88 Price: $12.95
Perhaps you did not know that Rioja came in pink as well as red and white. The Spanish region takes its rosés seriously, though one might guess otherwise based merely on price. This is one cool bargain, with a fruit-salad medley of sweet-tart strawberry, apple and melon lifted by an aroma of rose petals. Available in Ontario.
Château Bellevue La Forêt Rosé 2012, France
Score: 87 Price: $13.95
From the southwest district of Fronton, this is happy juice, playing up candy-like berry flavours along with fresh peach. Attractively round and deftly balanced with playful acidity, it lingers with a grace that defies its price. $16.25 in Quebec.
Therapy Pink Freud 2012,
Score: 87 Price: $17.50
Therapy Vineyards is fond of double entendres. And classic rock fans will surely catch the allusion to Pink Floyd, the band that recorded at Studio Miraval on the Pitt-Jolie property in Provence in 1979. Expect a little sweetness in this slightly off-dry, deeply stained wine. And expect a mouthful of cheerful raspberry-candy flavour. It's as uplifting as a visit to the shrink, and a whole lot more affordable. Available in select private stores in British Columbia and Alberta.