Top 10 French Rosé Wines for Spring and Summer 2023
Browse the wine aisles, and you’ll surely discover rosé now comes from every corner of the wine world. Still, most winemakers look to France for inspiration, home to some of the most extraordinary rosé of all times — timeless classics.
Here are the ten best French rosé wines for the upcoming spring and summer, from the famous Provence Rose and pink Champagne to lesser-known wines worthy of any table. There’s something special about the French pale rosé and its subtle berry flavours over a palate blessed by enticing minerality. French rosé is a lovely expression of the land! In no particular order, here are our favourites.
1. Cotes de Gascogne
Cotes de Gascogne is the source and spiritual home of the famous Armagnac brandy. Since brandy is not as popular as it used to be, the region’s talented producers now focus on making refreshing table wine. Cotes de Gascogne is gaining recognition for its uncomplicated white wines, but their rosé has proven to be as good or better. This appellation is also a great value and an ideal source of high-quality everyday wine and affordable prices.
Wine to try: Côtes de Gascogne, Domaine Horgelus Rosé
2. Bordeaux Clairet
Everyone knows winemakers in Bordeaux make some of the most expensive and age-worthy red wines on the market, but the region is more than that. The lesser-known Bordeaux Clairet is a historical style for cherry-coloured rosé with the most refreshing acidity and fruit-forward personality. Rosé from Bordeaux is as good as any, and when it comes from the appellation’s prestigious Chateaux, you know it has pedigree. If you enjoy red Bordeaux, you’ll love the region’s pale rosé.
Wine to try: Bordeaux Clairet, Chateau Les Bertrands
Minervois is a bright star in Languedoc-Roussillon. Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault, and Mourvedre ripen fully in the region’s warm climate, and talented producers make good use of them by making robust red wines and balanced rosé. Acclaimed producers as talented as Pierre Cros have shown that Minervois can excel in all wine styles, and the wine is not only pleasing but also a great value. Expect to hear more about Minervois in the future, especially for its white and rosé wines.
Wine to try: Minervois, Domaine Pierre Cros
4. Alpes-de-Haute Provence
The best quality-price ratio in France can be found at the IGP level — everyday wines that never disappoint. On the contrary, they often exceed all expectations. That’s the case with Alpes-de-Haute Provence. If you think Provence rosé is good, wait until you taste its high-altitude version. Local grapes, including Grenache Noir, Syrah, and Vermentino, feel right at home in the terraced vineyards overlooking the valley. They produce spectacular rosé with thirst-quenching acidity and fruit purity.
5. Cremant de Bordeaux
Cremant de Bordeaux is the ideal source of sparkling wine of the highest level without the prices or renowned regions like Champagne. Bordeaux producers are making the best sparklers in decades, and some of their most lavish bottles contain pink wine. Cremant de Bordeaux is hard to beat for an alternative to Rose Champagne, thanks to the region’s concentrated red grapes. Cabernet and Merlot become fruit-forward pink wines with the loveliest effervescence. These wines are made with the traditional method, so they’re incredibly sophisticated.
Sancerre might be known for its herb-scented Sauvignon Blanc and, to some extent, its silky red Pinot. Still, traditional producers in the region also make rosé, showing a gentler, more fragrant side of the Burgundian grape. Sancerre Rosé is amongst the finest pink wines of the Loire Valley, and they’re as complex and balanced as the best in the country. There’s something about the region’s chalky soil that makes white and rosé wines deliciously mineral.
We can’t talk about French rosé without mentioning pink Champagne, the most fashionable and sophisticated wine style on earth. Rosé Champagne gets its pale salmon colour from Pinot Noir and Meunier, while Chardonnay gives it body and creaminess. Making Champagne is time-consuming and labour-intensive, so it is not the cheapest wine style. Still, Champagne is always a great buy, and it can elevate any dining experience to memorable heights. Rosé Champagne is the most exclusive of Champagnes, so it’s suited for all occasions.
Wine to try: Champagne, Casters Liebart Rosé
8. Coteaux Varois en Provence
Provence is a reliable source for versatile rosé, but not all of it is created equal. The most interesting today comes from Coteaux Varois en Provence, which has gained recognition for complex organic rosé wine made with Syrah, Grenache Noir, and other local varietals. Coteaux Varois was introduced in 1993 for high-altitude vineyards around Toulon, where the weather is colder; therefore, the wines are more refreshing. Besides, organic rosé wine is becoming the norm, and the region’s producers are pioneers of the style.
Wine to try: Coteaux Varois en Provence, Chateau La Calisse Rosé
The Cassis appellation, created in 1936, is located around a small coastal village in south-east Provence, with around 200 hectares of vineyards in production.
The area is predominately known for its white wines, but a small quantity of rose and reds are also produced. These all remain very exclusive, with the majority not leaving the region.
Wine to try: Cassis: Chateau de Fontcreuse Cuvee F Rose
Bandol is a rare appellation on the Mediterranean coast. It gained popularity for its Mourvèdre-based, robust reds with rustic personality, but this is Provence, after all, and the producers in the area know how to make one good rosé. Not your typical Provence Rosé, Bandol rosé is richer and bolder and shows ripe red fruit on the nose and palate. This is the type of wine you want to serve with hearty Mediterranean meals, such as casseroles and roasts. What’s your favourite rosé for summer?
Wine to try: Bandol, Domaine de la Garenne Cuvee M Rosé