Have we reached peak pink? Not even close. Thanks to this summer’s wave of new rose-tinted wines, there’s a wider range of styles to try than ever. While France still dominates the rosé trade with its legendary annual release from Côtes de Provence, winemakers from all over the world have jumped on-board and put their own twists on this classic—from delicate refreshers to seriously rich and complex. These ones from Ontario, B.C., Italy, New Zealand and Chile will make you see rosé in a new light.
Sandbanks Summer Rosé VQA
($14.95; LCBO 14867 | Also available online.)
Almost nobody admits to liking the occasional glass of off-dry wine, despite the fact that winemakers make—and sell—plenty of it. Lightly sweet wine has its place, though, namely, next to a plate of soft cheese after supper, which is exactly the sort of thing Sandbanks Summer Rosé was born to do. It’s made from Vidal (a grape that is better known for the role it plays in ice wine) in Prince Edward County. It tastes like someone bottled up a fruit cocktail with grapefruit, peaches and berries and added the slightest touch of fizz to brighten it up. Sometimes wine just wants to be fun. And that’s okay by us.
Fern Walk Rosé, 2019 – VQA Niagara Peninsula
($16.95; LCBO 10125 |$16.99; BC Liquor 118094)
This ain’t no fruit bomb. Or, more accurately speaking, neither of these wines is. Since Fern Walk is a bi-coastal winery, these are actually two separate expressions—one made in Okanagan, the other in Niagara. They’re practically twins, though, since both adhere to the more restrained French style, which is known for its pale pink, subtle, dry rosés. Fern Walk Rosé is only perfect for pairing with cold seafood, thanks to its light lemon and orange blossom notes balanced with a little butter and an ever-so-slightly sour finish of light fruit vinegar.
Megalomaniac Homegrown Rosé 2018
($14.95; LCBO 639856 | Also available online)
This bold, coral-hued blend is rich and fruity, but with plenty of bright acidity to punch back the “strawberry fields forever” vibe that could easily take over this wine. With plenty of character and a touch of cantaloupe, this one has so much character it could hold its own as the main event at a casual physically distant porch visit, or be served up as an accompaniment to lighter dinners like grilled vegetables or fresh summer pasta.
Road 13 – Honest John’s Rosé 2019
($16.99; BC Liquor 357327 | Also available online)
If you closed your eyes and tried to imagine the perfect summer wine, it might look a lot like Honest John’s Rosé from Road 13 winery in B.C.’s Okanagan Valley. It’s light, juicy and tastes a little like crisp watermelon, strawberries and a touch of sweet-tart candy. Despite this pot-pourri of fresh fruit flavours, this wine is still perfectly dry and would pair perfectly with chicken, fish or salads.
Saintly, the Good Rosé
($17.95; Wine Rack | $17.99; BC Liquor 78989)
It’s super-handy to have a label that tells you the juice inside is the “good” stuff, especially when you’re trying to select the best from a sea of pink. In this case, at least, there’s truth in advertising. We love this rosé, which is built along classic lines, but has just enough complexity—cantaloupe, berries and a little citrus—to keep things interesting. We were lucky enough to taste the sparkling version, too, which is being released in early August. It’s arguably even better than the still.
Masi Rosa dei Masi
($16.95 LCBO 377267 | Alberta select stores, prices vary | $17.00 SAQ 12844913 | $16.99 Manitoba Liquor Mart 764068 | $18.99 New Brunswick Liquor Board 8002062006510)
The polar opposite of a classic, fresh, light and straightforward rosé, this is easily one of the most intriguingly rich, round and full pinks we’ve ever tried. Much of the flavour can probably be attributed to the fact that it’s an appassimento—a technique common in northeast Italy that involves partially drying the grapes before fermentation to bring out more intense fruit flavours. The results are wild—instead of the berries and orange blossoms we’re accustomed to with pinks, this “Rosa” has deep blackforest cherry, candied orange and stone fruits.
Cono Sur Bicicleta – Pinot Noir Rosé 2018
($12.99/litre; BC Liquor 33293 | $10.60 SAQ; 11959348| $11.70/750 mL; LCBO 318014 | $12.99 Manitoba Liquor Mart 18146 | $12.49 SaskLiquor)
Wine experts are generally divided on the topic of Chilean wine, but Cono Sur’s Pinot Noir proved to be a unifying force when it first appeared about 20 years ago, since the cool climate of the Bío Bío Valley region proved ideal for this delicate grape. The winery’s pale Pinot Noir Rosé balances butter, herbs and light floral notes with just the right dose of vinegary acidity.
Kim Crawford Rosé
($17.55 SAQ; 13612188 | $19.99 NBLB; 9419227005186 | $19.99 Manitoba Liquor Mart; 142992 | $18.95 LCBO; 650325)
This bone-dry blend of Merlot and Malbec grapes is grown in Hawke’s Bay on the north island of New Zealand. With pronounced strawberry, honeydew and plenty of citrus, this is a food-friendly wine that’s excellent with charcuterie and other pre-dinner party snacks.