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Total attitude from liquor store re: rose wines...not white zin!

I was looking for a dry (def not sweet "blush") rose.. The liquor store attendant looked at me like I was nuts with poor taste(saying" I wouldn't drink that so I don't know"). I know what he was thinking when said rose but that wasn't what I was looking for. I recently had a rose of malbec that was indescribable-high alcohol content and def not sweet. Does anyone have any similar recommendations for summer?

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  1. We had just the opposite experience in our shop the other day. A woman insisted that our rosé of Zinfandel had to be sweet because of its color. When we explained that it was completely dry, she insisted that she was in the wine business and knew it was sweet. Go figure!

    The wine was from Chase Family Cellars, and the Hayne Vineyard, in Napa. Quality juice at $18 retail. I've had a number of really good, dry rosés in the last few years from California. They can make them from just about any red grape, of course.

    1. My favorite rosés come, in general, from the south of France -- the Rhône and Provence. Look for Côtes-du-Rhône Rosés (and their more famous, and more expensive, cousins, Tavel Rosés) from producers such as Domaine de la Mordorée and Château de Ségriès; Bandol Rosés from Château Pradeaux and, of course, from Domaine Tempier. From the Loire Valley, there are a number of great Chinon Rosés -- look for Charles Jouguet, Jean-Maurice Raffault, and Couly-Dutheil, among others.

      There are many, many others -- Spain, Portugal, and California all produce excellent DRY rosés, but one thing to keep in mind . . . a dry rosé need not be high in alcohol.


      11 Replies
      1. re: zin1953

        (although most French roses tend to hover in the 13-15% range)

        The Loire Valley produces some gorgeous roses, as well -- still dry, but generally somewhat fruity on the nose.

        1. re: sunshine842

          Most Chinon and/or Bourgueil rosés that I know of are around 12-13, maybe 13.5% abv. Côtes-du-Rhône rosés do tend (nowadays) to be higher than that, with many Tavels topping 14% . . . I don't recall seeing any at 15, but I suppose it's possible. (But I think I would have noticed/remembered.)

          Indeed, the only rosé/blush wine I can remember was Tom Hill's legendary description of a Turley White Zin, first posted online a decade ago and described at #12 here: http://www.sbwines.com/trh/January10_...


          1. re: zin1953

            HOLY whatever!!!! A Turley White Zin? One to add to the list................ or is that one you've mentioned in previous topics?

            1. re: Midlife

              Did you read the review???

              TomHill is (was?) a Los Alamos physicist, competitive fencer, and wine geek. He first posted that TN in January of 2001, IIRC, and did it AS A JOKE (come on: a 17.2% alcohol *sparking* white zinfandel? from Turley?) to comment upon a) how ludicrous their alcohol levels had become, b) how crazy prices had become, and c) to see how many wine geeks would actually believe it! (Tom had written previous TN's for this as a still wine, and it had sort of slipped under the radar, so he decided he'd have to GO BIG and took the alcohol to 17+ and made it sparkling! Only the price declined to $37.49.)

              Tom even named it "Smoot-Hawley Vineyard" after the notorious Smoot-Hawley Tariff legislation of 1930 -- see http://eh.net/encyclopedia/article/ob...

              His worst fears (or biggest joy, I'm not sure which) came true when British wine writer Stephen Brook wrote his book, "The Wines of California," © 1999, published by Faber & Faber (ISBN 0-571-190-29-4). On page 252 of the first hardback edition, he wrote:

              " . . . In 1996 Turley produced a white Zinfandel from the Smoot-Hawley Vineyard in Napa; it had 11.9% and at $41 must have set a recommended retail price record for a white Zinfandel. I have not tasted it."

              It still makes me laugh . . . .


              P.S. Tom was as surprised as anyone else -- probably more so -- what that showed up in print!

              1. re: zin1953

                Oh, well...................... it would have been something to talk about. But we DO know there were WHite Zins produced by 'better' producers at one time. ;o)

                1. re: Midlife

                  First White Zinfandel produced in post-Prohibition California: 1964, by David Bruce, who said, "I just wanted to see what would happen. I wasn't very impressed, and never made it again."

                  Best White Zinfandel producers (IMHO): William Wheeler; DeLoach; Buehler.

                  Worst decision to make a White Zinfandel: Ridge, after being sold to Otsuka Pharmaceuticals (for three years in the 1980s; blissfully, they stopped).

                  That said, every California wine lover owes a debt to White Zinfandel -- because of its popularity, hundreds and hundreds of acres of old-vine Zin was NOT uprooted and replaced by the "flavor of the month."


                  1. re: zin1953

                    Some will even admit to formative years enjoying Sutter Home, then concluding that Beringer was a step above it.

                    1. re: Midlife

                      Agreed, but that wasn't the question, was it? We were talking about "better producers." Certainly Sutter Home (and the Trinchero family) made $$$$ on selling White Zin, and while it wasn't all that bad initially, its quality plummeted (IMHO) when they (quite intelligently) switched to green, rather than clear, glass. Beringer is probably the best of the "mass-market" White Zin, but it's still "mass-market."


                    2. re: zin1953

                      I'm not sure what the definition of white zin is but Storybook makes a zin rose they call zin gris and it's tasty.

                      1. re: SteveTimko

                        Zinfandel Rosé can be OUTSTANDING, and Storybrook's Zin Gris is delightful . . .

                        1. re: SteveTimko

                          Just to be clear, as Jason will agree........... Zin Gris and Zin Rose are not the same thing as White Zin. I had a Chase Family Hayne Vyd Zin Rose recently that was oustanding.

          2. I am a fan of Rosés, especially in the Summer. Do not let one clerk push you away.

            About 3 years ago, Rosés gained great popularity, and the press seized on that popularity. Unfortunately, like Merlot getting "hot" decades ago, too many jump on the bandwagon. There will be good, and there will be plonk. Same thing will always happen, as sales drive choices by many winemakers, and when the accountant tells them that Rosé of whatever, is really hot, some will fall for it.

            In general terms, I look to FR, IT and ES for most of my Rosés, but do not discount US producers. I really like Beckman's Grenache Rosé.

            I have had Rosés of many varietals, including some sublime ones from Zinfandel, though they are NOT what most consumers would think of as White Zinfandel. The majority of the ones that I buy with any regularity are from Grenache, though not all. Most of my choices are also a bit lower in alcohol, but still have adequate body, and can stand up to a lot of foods. I feel that I would find a high-alcohol Rosé to be unbalanced, but would try to keep an open mind, and let my palate make the final decision. I do not normally go by the "numbers," but by the wine.

            Good luck, and happy Summer,


            4 Replies
            1. re: Bill Hunt

              Really agree with you about Beckman's Grenache Rose. My friends and I call it crack rose.
              We talked to the winemaker about it and he really loves making it....and is a big fan of the
              Tavel Roses.

              1. re: perk

                As opposed to "Cracking Rosé" that used to be produced by Paul Masson . . .

                1. re: zin1953

                  Heck, shows how far behind I am. I thought that was sung by Neil Diamond... ?


            2. Chateau D'Aqueria's Tavel is great in 2010! Mas de Bressades is pretty reliabe too, but I haven't tried this years. Zenato's Bardolino was a bit underwhelming this time around.

              Ontario makes some excellent rosé wines. Also from unusual grapes (Giesenheim, Frontenac). Big acidity is the hallmark here. If you can find them where you are, look for Sandbanks or Malivoire. You'll probably have to come up here to get many of the other good ones.. Sugarbush, By Chadsey's Cairns, Huff.

              1. A couple of my favorite producer's from Spain's Txakolina region: Gurrutxaga and Ameztoi.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Brad Ballinger

                  Try Austrian roses.

                  A friend from Austria brought us a couple of bottles of an amazing rose. Schilcher Longus from Weingut Resch (http://www.weingut-resch.at/weingut/w...). It tasted of lemons, was and was absolutely delicious with salmon. Not a bit sweet. Not high in alcohol either. I'm not sure if there is an importer. But there ought to be.

                2. You just got a particularly ignorant clerk. Five years ago it wouldn't have surprised me too much, but dry roses have become so popular of late that it seems unusual a liquor store attendant would know nothing about them.

                  Reminds me of the time (c. 1990) that a server pulled a full-on snob act in response to a request for Chablis. Dude had no clue that it's an esteemed AOC as well as a name stuck on jug wines.

                  Anyhow, for roses I second the recommendations for CdRs and Tavels. And I've had a few nice Rioja roses (mostly Tempranillo, IIRC); Marqués de Cáceres is cheap and eminently quaffable. For something different, Iron Horse makes a very good rose of pinot noir. And that's just for starters...

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: alanbarnes


                    Your tale struck a chord with me. A morning radio talk team (guy and gal) were going on about wine. Both projected the concept of wine sophistication. The dialog progressed for a few minutes of drive-time. Finally, the lady stated, "oh, I cannot stand it when someone tries to give me a Chablis. I want a real Chardonnay... "OK, that told me volumes about the pair. Started to call the show, but was near my destination. At least I then had them pegged.

                    Memories! And, thanks for those.


                    PS - sorry to go OT on this, but could not resist.

                  2. The clerk is an idiot. In addition to all the other great roses of the world... well, some of you may know what I'm gonna say: R. Lopez de Heredia Vina Tondonia Gran Reserva Rioja rosado dammit!

                    Anyone in the wine business who doesn't know this wine, doesn't understand its seriousness as wine, or who is otherwise unfamiliar with the greatest bodega in Spain and one of the wine world's true historical treasures needs to turn in his employee badge and corkscrew.

                    I tasted my first bottle of the new vintage last Saturday. That would be the 2000 vintage. Yep. Ten years old and the current release. And I've still got 5 bottles of the 1998!

                    Tried the 2010 Ameztoi rosada last night. Of course, not a wine in quite the same category as the Lopez, but man what a great warm weather quencher! Tart, tangy, briney, spritzy and totally gulpable, it was like drinking essence of watermelon blasted with sea mist and topped with a lime garnish. Take this to a beach picnic!

                    9 Replies
                    1. re: Ricardo Malocchio

                      L-U-V the trace of fizz in those Txakolina Rosados.

                      1. re: Brad Ballinger

                        The Ameztoi Txak blanco also has the fizz (maybe they all do?). Makes it just that much more refreshing!

                        1. re: Ricardo Malocchio

                          Yes. I've had more than my share of the Ameztoi Blanco and Rubentis.

                        2. re: Brad Ballinger

                          Just curious on the 'fizz' as some of the tasters of the Chase Zin Rosé I mention up-topic found it too. I assume it's some acidity. Would that be correct? And why is it common in rosé? Something to do with the shorter time on skins?

                          1. re: Midlife

                            I'm pretty sure this is CO2 from not-yet-fermented residual sugars that ferment after bottling ("petillance" is the term, I think). But the high acidity also gives a similar feeling of "lift" (sans burpage!).

                        3. re: Ricardo Malocchio

                          <R. Lopez de Heredia Vina Tondonia Gran Reserva Rioja rosado dammit!>

                          LOVE IT!

                          Chimney Rock makes a delicious Rose of Cab Franc. and I've already stocked several of Vision Cellars' Rose of Syrah/Grenache. It's a "yum!"

                          1. re: ChefJune

                            What are the percentages in the Vision Cellars? I've been eyeballing a rose I want to try that is 70% syrah/30% grenache noir.

                            1. re: DavidPalmer

                              I'll have to look at a bottle of it. They may be out since it's not listed on their web site today. You could call and ask.

                          2. re: Ricardo Malocchio

                            I agree w/ R. Lopez de Heredia recommendation. I love that wine.

                          3. Interesting commentary on 'fizz' in still wine from wineberserkers.com:


                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Midlife

                              Caymus does barrel fermented Rose wines that are terrific...gives them a nice "pop"!

                              Or at least they used to..so did Kalin.

                            2. I thought of your thread, when I stopped by my local boutique food market, and near-by wine shop. I was picking up some steaks, ahi and some wines. My wife had called, and asked for these, as she was in meetings. I had been doing several glasses of Tavel Rosé, but could safely drive over the mountain. In the wine department, a distributor was pouring, and invited me to join him. I commented on my earlier Rosés, and he stepped back. "Rosés are so great in Arizona, but are so greatly underappreciated." He distributed some smaller Italian wines, but was not pouring any Rosatos in the bunch. Still, he knew how good a Rosé could be. We gabbed a bit, and I picked up a few Chards (pre-steak, or pre-ahi) for my lovely wife, but recalled this very thread.

                              Rosés, even very good ones, just do not get the love.


                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Bill Hunt

                                I'm not sure how long this trend will last, but most ambitious NYC wine shops line up 10-15 or more roses/rosados/rosati as soon as the vintage is in--from inexpensive garnachas and big coop Cotes-de-Provence to Bandol, Tavel/Rhone, Loire, Minervois, Salento, Ciro, Long Island. Nice to have the choices, and they apparently sell. TJs has a few from Perrin and other Rhone bottlers that are terrific bargains.

                              2. Like everyone else, I will recommend a good Tavel or Cotes de Provence. One of my early memories of wine being central to the moment was when I was 19, sitting with a lovely young lady (whose name I cannot remember) eating freshly made bouillebaisse with some fishermen on the docks of Nice. Great meal, crusty fresh bread, and an absolutely wonderful Tavel.

                                1. I love Rose' and I have found that Grocery Outlet to be a great source for Rose's in CA. It's so affordable that I can open a couple of different bottles and do a comparison of regions or varietals.

                                  1. Bordeaux clairet. It's not generally made every year, but it's great, made from free run juice of red grapes in not-great years, a little darker than the average rose but no tannins and a wonderful freshness, perfect for summer.

                                    1. White Malbec from CRIOS... Totally addictive, perfect for summer... LOVE IT!

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: ADINEVISCUSI

                                        Totally addicted to the crios
                                        .. Nothing better!

                                      2. Back in the late 1990's, the NY Times had a great article titled something like "Are You Brave Enough to Order Pink Wine?"...it went on to postulate that "pink" wine drinkers include 1) the least sophisticated wine drinkers -- i.e. white zin guzzlers who like it because "it's sweet like a wine cooler!", and 2) some of the most discerning wine drinkers: people who've tried all kinds of reds and whites and are now exploring/loving the fine dry roses, e.g. Tavels, Bandols, etc...and that to order rose, one has to have the confidence to not care about the opinions of people, like the liquor store attendent you mentioned, who have no clue...

                                        As many have stated above, the the south of France has a wealth of options...and, i also, while living in Paris last year, developed a dark horse affinity for Bordeaux rose, which, while generally not as nuanced as a lot of the Provence wines, has a bold tannic, high alcohol punch that can be fun w/ the right lunch (e.g some charcuterie or a rich salade composee w/ lots of egg and cheese)...i'm still exploring some Spanish and Italian roses, and while some have been fine, i haven't found anything yet that i like as much as the ones from France...

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: Simon

                                          I am a Bandol Rose fan. I just had an inexpensive (20 bucks) La Bastide Blanche Bandol Rose tonight with a light dinner. It is an everyday summer rose that seems to go with all light foods! I like the dry, mineral, lightness of it- it also ages a few years nicely.

                                          I keep trying others -but come back to Bandol for rose for my taste.

                                          1. re: sedimental

                                            i like the Bastide Blanche too...