Many people don’t drink rosados at all, others only drink them in the summer months. It’s a shame, because rosados are some of the most versatile and fun Spanish wines out there. I’m an equal opportunity rosé wine drinker and I think they are largely misunderstood and under-rated, but the ones from Spain are seriously great value. They are from lots of grape varieties and come in many styles and colors, but the best have a very satisfying freshness and dry fruitiness. They are one of the best wines to match with the foods of everyday life as they live at the intersection of white and red wines, sharing a few characteristics of each. Read on for my current top 5 Spanish rosados…ok one is Portuguese!
5. The rosados on this list are mostly pretty eclectic and unusual, but sometimes you just feel like a typical fresh and fruity rosado from the Navarra region of Spain. Navarra is well known for its rosado wines and the best are crisp, bursting with red fruit aromas, yet dry. They are simple but so satisfying. There are many nice, great value rosés from all over Spain, but Navarra is a region I can always count on
The Artazuri Garnacha Rosado 2012 is a perfect example of these wines. It’s cheap like many Navarra rosados….only 5€ in Spain and about 10$ in the US.
4. Now we fly to the other end of Spain, to the southern Sierras de Malaga, for my first unusual rosado. Ronda is a tourist mecca in the hills north of Marbella, known for its panoramic vistas and bullfighting traditions. It’s also an up and coming wine region with some surprisingly fresh and interesting wines that contrast with sweet oxidized winesaver that traditional come from this area. A pioneer has been Cortijo de Los Aguilares, a winery that makes elegant reds, mostly blends, that will change your concept of still red wines from southern Spain. The winery has mostly become known for it’s low-yield, elegant Pinot Noir, which has twice won an award at a prestigious international Pinot Noir competition.
I love all these wines, but I have a soft spot in my heart for their lovely, fresh, intensely fruity rosado. It also has a short time aging in barrel for added complexity. It’s only 10€ and it’s the perfect wine to carry back down from Ronda to Marbella and have with your grilled seafood, your gazpacho and all your summer dishes.
They are starting to get this wine out around Spain and Europe so look for the Cortijo de Los Aguilares Rosado 2012 in your store. They were working on an export deal with a US importer recently, so watch this space for an update! Can’t wait….
3. They are many Spanish rosados that could have filled this space, but one of the most memorable rosados I’ve had recently was Portuguese. Since it was from the Iberian Peninsula, I felt it could be included!
Portuguese Vinho Verde is having a moment here in the US. It’s even in Trader Joe’s… It is a great deal, zippy, fresh, slightly spritzy. Very white.
When you visit the Vinho Verde region in Portugal, the first thing you will realized is that about 40% of Vinho Verde production is rosé and red. In fact the folks there like to joke that they prefer the colored varieties of Vinho Verde and the white is for the tourists and export.
When you taste the Conde Villar Vinho Verde Rosé 2011, you will understand why. Yes you get that attractice, typical rosé strawberry fruit, but there is also a bracing minerality and slight leafiness that adds a nice complexity. So refreshing and easy to drink, but so interesting! Light and bracingly acidic, like all Vinho Verdes at 11% alcohol…and light on the pocket-book at only about 9$.
2. I recently attended an amazing Canary Island tasting at my awesome local independent wine store, Mas Vino, and one of the stand-out wine was this truly unique rosado. It’s from the island of Tenerife and is 100% Listán Negro.
The Viñatigo Rosado 2010 had a very complex nose for a Spanish rosado, with strawberry and herbaceous aromas, raspberry leaf, and saline notes. Almost all of the Canary wines, from volcanic soils, showed this distinctive saline, mineral quality and this rosado was no exception. The acidity was good, but perhaps not as bracing as a like in a rosé, but it was made up for by the unique complexity and mineral length of the mouth. A truly volcanic rosado! The most expensive of the bunch in the US at 18$, but this is due to the scarcity of the wines. In Spain, this wine is a steal at 6€, if you can find it!
1. My top Spanish wine for today is a rosado from stellar wine-maker Gregory Perez and from another obscure wine area, Vino de la Tierra de León. It’s from a very interesting local grape variety, Prieto Picudo, that has great potential but still can show spotty results.
Perez’s wines are imported into the US by José Pastor, who has an amazing portfolio, including the Canary Island rosado above. You can look for any of his or Gregory Perez’s wines and you will not be disappointed.
The Rosado Preto 2011 has an intense floral and spicy nose, very red wine. The color of the wine is also pretty intense for a rosado! It has big intense mouth with gobs of red fruit, but super fresh and very long, you definitely get the white wine characteristics as well here. What sets it apart is the intense savory element, leaf and stem, verging on meatiness. It’s so unusual in the context of a fresh rosado, and it’s really attractive. I was still thinking about it days later…not bad for a 16$ wine! In Spain it’s a super deal at about 10€.
Bonus rosado: One rosado that is always on my top list actually a cava rosado. Raventós i Blanc de Nit Cava: there is almost no occasion or season it is not perfect for.
Rosés and rosados, though great on their own, are perfect with so many foods as they are a cross between red and white. They offer the freshness and crispness of whites, acidity that is very food friendly, especially with lighter and salty foods. But they have the aromas of red wine, the aromas that many people find more appealing and that can also match with some more robust, earthy foods.
These are some pretty amazing rosados, but even the simplest and most normal rosado from Spain offers great value and a nice mouthful of wine.
An important tip: generally look for rosados in the most recent vintage possible. Should really be 2012 for most. Few Spanish rosados age at all. Some of the wines on this list are exceptions, but most are best served super fresh and very cold.
Any favorite Spanish rosados out there?