NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Americans associate rosé with summer and Provence. Served cold by the pool on a hot day, the wine's light cherry and strawberry notes and citrus acidity refresh the palate and conjure the Mediterranean warmth of Provence, the region in southern France famous for rosé. As demand has increased significantly in recent years, higher-end versions such as Whispering Angel and Miraval, the Brangelina rosé, have come on the market and ambitious Provençal winemakers are producing more luxury rosé.
The great Provençal rosés such as Domaine Tempier and Chateau Simone remain as popular as ever and have prices to match, but American sommeliers and wine store owners are offering pink wines from around the world.
"I feel the same way about rosés as I do about entry level wines," says David Keck, the wine director at the Camerata at Paulie's Wine Bar in Houston. "I want producers I like a lot. All of these guys are spending so much time and attention on everything they make that the odds are pretty good that the rosé is going to be fantastic, and sometimes you find something really transcendent, like the Musar rosé," which is made by a famous Lebanese producer. Below, we talk to Keck, Conrad Hunter of Foxcroft Wine in Charlotte, and Tina Vaughn of The Simone restaurant in New York about their favorite rosés.
1. Domaine Tempier Bandol Rose: $40
Kermit Lynch began importing Tempier rosés to the U.S. in the 1970s, and the canny Berkeley, Calif. wine merchant was brilliant in evoking Provence in his customers’ minds and linking that image to the wine. Lynch devotes a chapter of his 1988 book Adventures on the Wine Route to Provence and Tempier, an estate based in the village of Bandol, which, Lynch writes, "has a bay ringed with sandy beaches, and a crowded, active harbor, which is home to a small fishing fleet. The catch is sold while it is still wriggling, directly from the boats along the quai."
As for Tempier, it "is a place in Provence, a home with its winery and vineyards, its olive trees and cypresses. It is home to a large, joyful Provençal family. It is a wine." Even though the Peyraud family, which owns Tempier, regards the rosé as a simple wine compared to its reds, which can age for decades, it’s the former that customers clamor for. Foxcroft’s Hunter says it’s still one of his most popular rosés -- and understandably so, since it’s crisp, balanced, perfect with food.