After tasting through an ever-broadening array of Rosé wines over the past two months, we were pleased to find several excellent values, including some with depth and style. Our favorites were mostly from Cotes de Provence and Sonoma and all at $20 or less from our chain wine merchants, supermarkets and big box stores. Here are notes on eight discoveries, with notes on eight more wines to enjoy below from a blind tasting of white Rhone Varietals. Enjoy!

  • Stylish 2021 Domaine des Gravennes Côtes du Rhône Les Frangins Rosé, $17. Light-mid copper-pink, low viscosity (12.0 alc.); red fruit nose, distinct and layered (60% Mourvedre, 30% Syrah, 10% Grenache); berries, floral; mid-plus acids; good depth; long tight red fruit finish; complex. 16.5 UC Davis scale, 91 other scales.

    Gravenne Rose

  • Value Sta. Rita Hills, Calif. 2019 Sanford Pinot Noir Rosé, $16 on sale inventory clearance. Mid-orange/copper; red fruit, floral, strawberry nose; mid-plus acids; good depth (13.0 alc.); long tart red fruit, berry finish. 16/90.
  • Good value Côtes de Provence Rosé 2020 Olema, $20. Mid-copper/salmon, viscous (13.0 alc.); red fruit, strawberry, floral and fig nose; mid-acids; mid-plus depth; long, semi-crisp, berry and red fruit finish. w/appetizers. 16/90.
  • Sonoma Calif. 2020 Sonoma-Cutrer Pinot Noir Rosé, $21. Mid-pink/salmon; low viscosity (11.9% alc.); strawberry, red fruit, cola nose; dry; mid-plus acids; medium body; long tight strawberry finish. 15.5-16/89-90.
  • $18 2021 Château Mentone Côtes de Provence Rosé. Light golden salmon; viscous (13.5 alc.); strawberry, floral nose; soft; low-mid acids; medium strawberry fruit on the palate; slightly tart finish. w/cheeses, dips. 15.5/89.
  • Summer sipping Sonoma value 2021 Robert Stemmler Rosé of Pinot Noir ($15). Mid-salmon pink; red fruit, strawberry nose; light floral; mid-plus acids; semi-long crisp strawberry finish; balanced (12.5 alc.). 15.5/89.
  • Value Willamette Valley, Oregon, 2021 Samuel Robert Winery Pinot Noir Vineyard Reserve Rosé, $12. Mid-salmon pink; red fruit, strawberry nose; off-dry (?); low-medium acids; soft, easy sipping summer wine, hints of Pinot on the palate. 15/88.
  • Languedoc d’OC 2021 Bernard Vernet Maison Vernet Grenache Rose, $17. Light salmon pink; red fruit, floral, rose petal nose; mid-plus acids; light-medium fruit; medium long tart, chalky strawberry finish. Quaffing wine for parties. 14.5/87.

Blind tastings are usually instructive and enlightening, as found recently in one of the monthly meetings of the Carmel Valley Wine Club in San Diego. Seventeen panelists tasted four Rhone white wines and four Rhone varietals from California in random order. We enjoyed some fine wines and two excellent values, one from each country. Prices ranged from $25 to $85. Several would be a good match with seafood, chicken, and other lighter dishes.

My rankings:

  • Peay Vineyards 2020 Estate Viognier (Sonoma Coast, CA), $55. Light-medium gold; viscous (13.6 alc.); citrus, honey, floral, almost ripe grape botrytis undertones; mid acids; medium to full depth; long fruity balanced finish. 17-17.5 UC Davis scale, 92-93 other scales.
  • Domaine de la Janasse Principauté d’Orange 2020 Viognier (Rhône, France), $25. Light-medium green gold; viscous (14.5 alc.); big nose; green fruit, citrus; minerals; low-mid acids; soft, semi-lush; long layered finish. 17/92
  • Domaine de la Janasse 2019 Châteauneuf- du-Pape Blanc (Rhône, France), $67. Light-medium green gold, some viscosity (14.5 alc.); low-medium acids; mid body; opens with air; nice fruity finish. 16-16.5/90-91
  • Brotte ‘Les Hauts de Barville’ 2020 Châteauneuf- du-Pape Blanc (Rhône, France), $40. Light green-gold; viscous (14.0 alc.); citrus nose, some stone fruit; mid-plus acids; tight, good fruit; long slightly hot finish. 16/90
  • Tablas Creek Vineyard 2021 ‘Patelin de Tablas Blanc’ (Paso Robles, CA), $28. Mid-green gold; green fruit, citrus, some herbaceous notes; mid-body/acids; good fruit; a little short on the finish 12.5 alc.). 15.5-16/89-90
  • Stags’ Leap Winery 2019 Viognier (Napa Valley, CA), $30. Light-pale gold; viscous (14.4 alc.); citrus, green fruit nose; closed; mid-plus acids; opens with air; semi-short fat finish. 15.5-16/89-90
  • Pierre Jean Villa Condrieu Jardin Suspendu 2020 Condrieu (Rhône, France), $85. Light-green gold; closed nose; floral, citrus; soft acids (residual sugar?); long fat fruity finish (13.0 alc.). 15/88.
  • Epiphany Rodney’s Vineyard 2018 Grenache Blanc (Santa Barbara County, CA), $25. Pale; odd chemical nose; some red fruit; low-mid acids; odd flavor, too; short sour finish. 14/86.

White Rhone Varietal Tasting